Today my relaxing weekend was over and I had to rise and shine nice and early to get to the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Hint: If you want to check out the website, there’s a link for English next to the search bar in the top right corner). It was also my first time using public transportation by myself. It was a little daunting but I made it 15 minutes late. Turns out if you are going somewhere in the morning you should expect to take double the time it would take on a quiet Sunday afternoon.
For security reasons (this page is open to the wide world of internet people) I don’t want to use specifics on my route, so I’m sorry if this sounds a little vague. To get to where I need to be, I can take any bus that goes by the stop near my house because they all pass where I need to get off. Then I walk a few blocks, and then turn and walk some more blocks, and then I turn and walk some more, and then I turn and walk for much longer and then I get there! I reverse everything for the way home, but I need to make sure I take exactly the right color, letter, and number bus. I’m going to lie and say its the pink Z10 bus (doesn’t exist). That’s the only one that will double back to my house, the rest go elsewhere in the city.
The orientation was great, I got some really helpful information about professors and classes from the students there. Also the campus is gorgeous, check it out:
After a hard day of orientation, I went home and dropped of my bag before going back out to charge my Bip! card, which was running low on funds. Only certain stores charge Bip! cards, and I knew there was a little convenience store not far away where I could do it but I couldn’t remember exactly the direction. So I set off, figuring my odds were 50/50 and if I didn’t find it I could double back and try the other direction. My neighborhood is really safe, lots of families outside with their kids and stuff so I wasn’t worried. I walked for like 5 blocks in one direction and realized that the store was closer than that, I must’ve gone the wrong way. So I turned around, passed the house, and went 6 blocks the other way. I still didn’t find it, so I stopped into the nearby pharmacy to ask for directions. The lady was very nice and pointed me down another road that runs perpendicular to mine. Off I went, 5 blocks that way. Nothing, excpet for this weird street sculpture:
I’ve heard of big insects in South America but this is ridiculous!
There was a lady selling magazines at a kiosk so I asked her, she pointed me the other way down the street and take a right. Off I went again, nothing. This went on for like an hour of me systematically searching the five blocks around my house for this dumb store. In the end the gas station lady gave me the right directions and I found it.
This story illustrates an important cultural feature of Chileans: They hate to say they don’t know, so if they don’t know they will make it up. There’s even a common saying that translates to: “If you don’t know it, invent it.” But in the end, I got my Bip! card charged and went home with much better knowledge of my neighborhood than before!