Yes, I’m a bit obsessed with Latin America. But after all, most backpackers have their “happy place” in Southeast Asia, Europe, Africa or elsewhere, and since we are occasionally rational human beings, we go back to where we feel good. Latin America is also a practical choice—flights are affordable, there is almost no time difference with Canada, cost of living is fairly low for us, there are plenty of places to explore and the weather is perfect at this time of the year.
Oh, fuck it. I’m not going to try to explain why I feel so good in Latin America. I just do.
I wish my enthusiasm was contagious though, because if Feng likes it here too, Mark apparently just turned 15 and nothing is good enough. Mark would like to play with the tablet all day. Also, he wanted to go to Africa or Florida (??), not Chile. And he doesn’t speak Spanish. And pizza tastes different. And the shower is too small. And he never gets anything.
The only thing he’s impressed with so far is my ability to hand out 1,000 and 5,000 banknotes. He knows that one hundred Canadian dollars is a lot of money so he couldn’t believe I bought him a cookie for 500 Chilean pesos (which is about CA$1). “Wow… you’ve got a lot of money,” he noted. Since he’s half Chinese, I gained some respect from him for a minute or too. Then I told him to go wash his hands and he sighed, disappointed again. “You always say that!”
Technically, he’s still sick so I hope that’s what makes him cranky. Otherwise, I’ll have to check how much FedEx charges to ship a five-year-old boy to Canada.
Meanwhile, we’re adjusting to the heat and Santiago, but it’s fairly easy for us—been there, done that.
Okay, forget it. There are minor differences I have to pay attention to. For instance, last night, I was looking for a sweet snack and I saw these brownies in barrio Lastarria—it took me a minute to realize if the stall’s name was “Happy Seed” and the treats were a recetas cannábica, I would be getting more than a sugar hit…
On the 30th and 31st of December, everyone here was getting ready for New Year’s Eve, which included buying yellow underwear, party accessories, and a lot of food. The markets were packed but many streets were empty because many small businesses were closed.
At 8 p.m., we walked around the neighbourhood to find a slice of corn-and-cheese pizza for Mark—inexplicably, hair salons were open but restaurants were already closed—then I bought my own pair of yellow underwear for good luck and we waited for the New Year’s Eve party to start.