VINA DEL MAR, Chile- After being sent around to various bus stations in Santiago, it became apparent that getting a bust to Salamanca was not woth the effort. So I looked at the bust postings at the Pullman south booth it looked as if Vina del Mar was well serviced. So, as I simply wanted to leave Santiago and get somewhere and crash, I got a ticket to Vina.
This is a crazy, hyped up resort town on the coast. One of those places that I try my damnest to avoid. But here I am.
[adsense]I returned to Santiago to meet other foreigners, and this is what I did. Sometimes after stretches of solo travel where your tongue rarely finds the beat of is native language you crave the socially familiar. I found this in the backpacker scene of Santiago. There are reasons to pass through the capital cities of a country, fun and friends being the most pertinent.
I ended up running with an English kid, a kiwi, a German, and an Irishman. Where did we go? A bar.
I remember spending too much money, but I did successfully find myself drunk.
We went to a dance club to try and score. The boys went off looking for girls, I stood around by myself for most of the night — filling my usual clubbing role. I can’t claim to have ever gotten the hang of clubbing. Dancing as another face in the crowd has never been my strong suite. I try to dance like everyone else, but it rarely works out this way. From the looks of embarrassment on other people’s faces when looking at me, it is clear that my version of dance is not up to common standard. How difficult could raising your arms up in the air and grinding your hips into some girl to a thump thump, thump beat be? Apparently, more difficult that I give the maneuver credit for. I return to the wall and stand there drinking beer — an act I can execute with precision.
I drank and waited idly to make an exit, I waited for my friends to give up their fallow mating attempts and join me as complementing wall fixtures.
The Irishman got wasted. No surprises. He lost his coat and yelled about it continuously in the typical marble mouthed way of his country’s dialect. This was his last night in South America after a year and a half trip. He seemed hell bent on reinforcing his culture’s stereotype, of which is seemed proud.
“I’m Johnny, and I’m from Ireland,” he continuously repeated throughout the night.
It did not occur to me that he questioned himself as to whether anyone around him cared.
“I’m Johnny, and I’m from Ireland.”
Then he picked a spat with the Englishman.
“I don’t trust that pom,” he told me more than once.
“Why, he seems alright to me?”
“Mother’s intuition,” was his only response.
So I picked a fight with the German to keep the babbling Irishman at arm’s length. It is not surprising for Europeans to try to belittle the USA, and, like the Irishman, this German was a good sample of his people. He told me that he had no interest in going to the USA.
“But there is a lot of nature there,” I explained, trying to share the good parts of my country.
” But there is a lot of nature everywhere,” he countered in a think robotic accent before I could complete my statement. ” We have lots of nature in Germany.”
Logic and fact all too rarely mean much in a debate, especially when nationalism and pride is on the bargaining plate. The USA has thousands of miles of coastline on two oceans, high mountains, deserts, plains, forests, a frigid north and a hot south . . . What does Germany have, a few rivers and some forests?
Some conversations are not worth continuing.
I returned to the Irishman. He had picked a fight with some passerbys on the street. He was yelling about his coat.
“Did they take your coat?”
He had no clue. He seemed to be blaming all of Chile for his lost property.
“I’m Johnny, and I’m from Ireland!”
It was time to split.
To Vina del Mar.