Day 12: 21 June 2002 - "What says the voices in the sky?"
We started off the day with heaping bowls of Chocapic, just the way a day should begin. Mine were plain, in cold milk, like a normal Unitedstatesian. Pato's were in warm milk with sugar poured over the top, like Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes. Gotta find that cartoon...
Pato, tía Amada and I would be going south that evening, to pick up the car. Apparently it was a problem with the clutch and not the brakes, as I had previously believed. Anyway, the car was in Rancagua and it was time to go pick it up. The idea was that we would take the bus to Santiago, see the sights (sites?) and then go to Rancagua to pick up the car. We would drive back north, stopping at La Serena for the night, exploring Serena and then going back to Copiapó. But we wouldn't leave until the evening bus, so first we went on a trip downtown.
We went to the bank where Andrés works, so that Pato could change some dollars to pesos. He doesn't have an account there, but he got Andrés to vouch for him. Heh heh. Connections.
We went to the regional museum, which was all about Copiapó and the Atacama region - especially about the history of the indigenous people of the region. The museum is in a house that was owned by an important copiapino family. One brother was a misogynistic politician who, the guide said, almost got Chile into a war with the US in the 19th century. Another brother started the first female high school in Chile. The museum looked at mining and at ancient artifacts that had been uncovered. Pato said it used to be better because there used to be mummies, but then people came to demand their ancestors back. Ah, sounds like Pato.
We were a bit hungry after the museum and it was a while until tea, so we stopped in the place that Pato said had the best french fries in Copiapó. They were made fresh for us when we ordered them and we covered them with mustard and devoured them. French fries may very well be my favorite food. Aw, I have so many.
We came home, had tea, packed, and set off for the bus station in a collectivo. We arrived and bought our tickets for a semi-cama, since there were no salon camas left. Our bus didn't take off for a while, so we went upstairs to the little restaurant. Tía Amada and I had tea and Pato had a hot dog with avocado and mustard on it. A traditional Chilean hot dog apparently has avocado, mustard, diced tomatoes and sauerkraut. Wow. I had a taste of his just for the experience. It was... interesting.
At one point, they made an announcement over the PA system. I wasn't sure if anyone else had been listening to it and I wondered if it was important. Pato had decided he would only listen to me if I spoke Spanish. "What it says?" I asked. "What does what say?" he asked. "What says... the voices?" Like David Sedaris, I wasn't sure if voices were masculine or feminine so I just made them plural. By this time, I think Pato knew what I was talking about but was playing dumb to get me to sound stupid. "Voices? What voices?" "In the sky," I explained, pointing up. "What says the voices in the sky?" Pato and tía Amada giggled their heads off because I was hearing voices in the sky, especially because this came just a day after watching the Joan of Arc movie. Finally it was revealed that they were just paging someone. Grrr. So much for all of that.
We got onto the bus and found that it was a more modern model than the one we'd taken from Santiago the first time and that semi-camas were actually quite comfortable, as long as you were as short as the three of us. I managed to drift off for a big chunk of the night and we awoke the next morning in Santiago.
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