I’m always amused by how easily and frequently my name is butchered. I’ve been a Kathy, CeeCee, Cassie, Kase, Katie, and Katty. My last name produces even wilder variations. I’ve been Adamick, Amchik, Chik, Adamchytchyz, Aick, Amik, Chewbacca, Lake Titicaca, Montezuma. I’m so used to this by now that when the LAN flight attendant, who was confirming passengers on the flight from Lima to Santiago, tentatively called out for a K-assay Adam, I nodded my head and raised my hand. Yes, ma’am, K-assay Adam at your service.
Flying LAN proved to be quite an enjoyable experience. The wine was actually palatable as opposed to the vinegar served on other airlines. The flight attendants handed out M&Ms and little caramel candies as treats throughout the flight and frequently came by with water refills. On my last trip to South America, flying Avianca to Bogota, I shriveled up into a prune from lack of hydration. I had to walk to the back of the plane to ask for more water throughout the flight since after the initial food service, the flight attendants disappeared for the remainder of the flight.
We landed in Santiago around 7am and the airport was surprisingly quiet at that hour. Besides us, there was only one other international flight arriving at the same time and immigration proved painless. As usual, after we get our bags we look for an ATM to withdraw local currency since the rate is better at an ATM than at a currency exchange. We had a hard time locating an ATM and I suggested we go to the right of the arrivals terminal. As typical of men, Michael responded by going left, which proved fruitless. After asking a security guard where we could find an ATM, he pointed us to the right. I gave Michael my best I-Told-You-So look and in response I was gifted with one of the infinite adages he stores in his big (literally and figuratively) head, most likely just for these kinds of situations:
“Even a broken clock tells the right time sometimes.”
We drove into the city in the dark, foggy, and sleepy early morning accompanied by the hypnotic strains of “Hotel California” playing in our taxi. Since we couldn’t check in to our hotel until 3pm, we explored the city. We took the creaky funicular, built in 1925, to San Cristobal Hill, part of the Santiago Metropolitan Park, to get stunning views of the city, ringed with snow-peaked mountains.
We then walked to Plaza de Armas, the main square of Santiago, and rode the metro back to our bohemian neighborhood of Barrio Bellavista. Stopping for lunch at Bellavista Grill, I got quite the eyefull in the ladies room. I happened to look up at the ceiling as I was handling my business and was met with a nine foot by six foot black and white photograph of a chiseled nude man cupping his balls as he hovered above my stall. While his physique was fetching, I don’t know what the motivation was behind hanging this oversized Adonis on the ceiling for ladies to stare up at while they do their unsexy business. I felt like he was seconds away from unleashing a rainshower over my head. Quite the welcome, Chile. Gracias.