The day wasn’t all that hard to spend, it turns out. I had an extremely slow, and leisurely morning, followed by an equally slow and leisurely day. I spent the vast majority of the day on a park bench in the central plaza of Copiapo, reading one of my favourite books, Maia by Richard Adams.
I’d say the only mark on the day were the number and attitude of the women and girls who approached me, asking for money. One ten to thirteen year old, dressed in a tight, patterned, long sleeved shirt and similarly tight long skirt, swayed up to me, (I am not joking), and stood directly in front of me with her hands on her hips. She started speaking, and when I said, “No entiendo”, after she’d finished, she stuck out her hand and authoritatively demanded, “Moneda.” …Ha… Yah right toots.
Anyway, as I said, not hard to spend. And now, here I am, successfully on the correct bus, safely ensconced in utter comfort for the next twelve hours.
Some things I have seen or noticed but forgotten to mention:
– do you remember when I was super hard on that taxi driver for not understanding how house numbers worked on a street? Well, perhaps he had good reason to have no faith in appropriate numeral behaviour. Looking for one of my hotels in Copiapo, I am driving down the street, examining the numbers and they are jumping all over the place, first increasing, then decreasing, then continuing to decrease, but after having jumped to a number much higher than the one at the beginning of the street. Ridiculous. And verging on worse than useless. Anyway, I humbly rescind my scorn.
– there are no public clocks. Even where there SHOULD be, for example at the bus station. It’s like they WANT you to miss your bus.
– instead of random jungle gyms for kids in parks, there are work out machines. Yes, I should have taken a picture, no I haven’t. They’re made out of the same brightly coloured pipe as the kid’s sets usually are, and I don’t know how a person adjusts the resistance, but there you are. Public fitness facilities.
– male pigeons are extremely comical. If I’ve mentioned this before, I apologize. But I can’t get over their behaviour. First, they follow a female pigeon around, no matter how disinterested she is, (admittedly, I have yet to see an interested female pigeon). They puff up their crops with air, giving themselves large, undulating chests. They do this little hop-bow and circle while making a low cooing noise, and hold their tail feathers in a particular way. Their persistence in this behaviour in the face of utter indifference is amusing enough. But when the female pigeon gets annoyed and actually flies off! The air flies out of his crop, his head rises up and he stares in apparent confusion after her. For a LONG time. And doesn’t move. It looks for all the world like he cannot possibly figure out what went wrong.
– the chip aisle has plain potato chips. Period. Ripple cut and smooth cut. In bags or in tubes. Given the South American people’s love for carbs, fat and sugar, there must be a wealth of unmined opportunity here. I would find Lays’, (almost the only brand of plain potato chip available), explanation of their slow expansion of the potato chip aisle riveting.