Saturday, 09.17.2011 - 11:08 pm.
Sunday 11th at night
Andrew and I flew into Santiago at about 9:30 pm, and we crossed the street from the airport to the hotel. The airline had booked us a room, since they changed the flight schedules and we had to change our itinerary.
I was blown away, we happened to stay at the Holiday Inn, the most luxurious place I've ever stayed in my short life as a traveller. We made ourselves comfortable and we watched some TV. The bed was like sleeping on clouds, or on cotton. And yet, I didn't sleep very well, I kept waking up in the middle of the night, seeing images of the debate show I'd seen on TV and not being able to get them out of my mind.
In spite of my restless night, I had a good start the next day with Andrew: breakfast buffett. Then we checked out of the hotel and hung out at the airport for hours. The flight was also delayed because the volcanic ash is still going on. Finally, we made it into Montevideo at about 5 pm. I was nauseous and with a headache, I don't take flying very well.
We still had a long way to go to the hostel and Andrew decided we should take a bus instead of a cab; in retrospective, it was very wise and saved us a lot of money. He had a GPS and map of the city on the phone, too, so he had more or less of an idea of where we were going. The hostel was across the city and the busses are big so we had no trouble with our huge bag. My first sightnings of Montevideo impressed me greatly, so beautiful and, say, aestethically pleasing. Even the volcanic ash gave it a nice touch to the sunset.
The area in which we got off the bus didn't seem safe at all. We walked fast past suspicious people for a few blocks until we found a taxi. We were staying in a "green" hostel in Ciudad Vieja, near the sea port. But it was dark by the time we arrived and the hostel dissapointed me, especially after staying at the Holiday Inn. It was like a bar, it wasn't very inviting and our bedroom had nothing but a bed, a chair and a bed side table. Not furniture to put our stuff on, and the walls were naked. I was on the verge of tears, exhausted, hungry and dissapointed.
We left our things at the hostel and went to a supermarket a block away, still getting to know the local currency. Although I was in a very bad mood after the long trip and not having my expectations met, I made the effort not to be upset. Andrew was also disappointed by the hostel and was sorry by his choice, I think. But I didn't want him to think I was mad at him, because I wasn't. I was mad, at the situation in general.
Look, I said to myself, I myself didn't look for other options when we were planning the trip and I'm not paying for our stay (it's the money he got for coming to the congress). He chose what seemed to be the best option, considering our scarce resources for the trip. So I changed my attitude as much as my exhaustion and headache allowed me to. We bought food at the supermarket and after dinner and establishing in our new surroundings, I started to smile again and we were just happy to be together in Montevideo.
We couldn't sleep well because outside our window was facing the street and a public parking lot with a very loud and rusty garage door. Shortly after waking up, Andrew and I discussed finding another place to stay, especially after using the shared bathroom (nothing wrong with it, just "shared" didn't sound so bad when we booked the place, but honestly, once there, you long for privacy).
Breakfast was included but it was just a not-so-fresh bread with jam and butter. But the coffee was delicious. Seeing it with daylight, the place wasn't so bad, and we agreed on giving it a try for a few days. Also, we found a better room within the hostel so we moved in there.
There was a lot of artwork and writing on the walls, and it's run by very laid-back quasi-hippie people, including a guy from Chile who spoke wonders of humanist therapy and that itself made him sell everything and travel all through South America. He was at the hostel waiting for the winter to end and resume his trip. His trademark was a stencil of his own face at two-years-old and in the following days, I saw his face all over the city.
The whole day was about exploring the city by foot. Andrew and I were in awe, we walked on the coast line, snapped tons of pictures, had pizza for lunch, walked around the city, saw people carrying their mate as if it was another limb. And the weather was wonderful, it was windy and a bit cold but sunny.
A few notes: beautiful classic buildings and trees neatly planted all along the sidewalks. People reading in random places. Very few stray dogs (one that I saw from the bus broke my heart, sitting outside and looking into a butcher's shop) and many, many dogs apparently well taken care of and wearing vests to face the weather. Carriages pulled by horses, allowing me to see up-close how painful and cruel that is for the horses. Lots of pizza parlors. The most magical and colorful handcrafts I've seen.
Wherever you looked at the horizon from, you could see the sea. In the afternoon, we went to a coffeehouse so Andrew could work on his presentation for the congress on thursday. Meanwhile, I drew, listened to music and wrote postcards for my friend Victoria and my family and mailed them. There was a post office just outside the coffeehouse, so convenient.
That night, tuesday to wednesday, I dreamed about Joseph, and I felt like rushing to this diary to write about it (which obviously I didn't do). Perhaps it had to do with him following me on Twitter, like I mentioned in my last entry. I can't remember the details but we were trying to be friends, two years had gone by since our drifting apart and I needed to retrieve my clothes from his house (?). We were civil to each other, but I couldn't shake the feeling that deep down, he still had feelings for me. I had them for him.
I went into his bedroom, into his walk-in closet (which, in real life, he didn't have) and got my clothes. I looked around and I suspected he lived alone there, although I was aware he was a husband and father...I take it as my terrible and unfair desire for him to break up his great relationship that was my demise. When I came out of his closet, he was on the computer, and his wife was laying in his bed and their child was sleeping with his head resting on her leg. She stared at me with mistrust. I knew she and the kid didn't live there with him.
That dream left me thinking of him the next day. I was being wishful, hopeful, I was longing for contact with him, which I shouldn't be after all that's gone on all these years. But also, I had a lot of thoughts about him in terms of hostility, something that's new to me and to my relationship with his ghost. Really, though: he was such a fucking jerk, wasn't he?
Hours before being haunted, Andrew and I watched the sunset as we walked along the coast line, back to our hostel. I couldn't believe how blessed I was, being in a wonderful city unknown to me until then, with the wonderful man I'm in love with. I'm so, so grateful for this experience.
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