D 307 and 308 Day (Jan 20 and 21)
Location: Las Cruces, Chile, Latin America
I was in the Santiago for a week but I did not see anything in Santiago except ISKCON temple, vaccination center in local hospital and La Tercera a newspaper office.
As a standard practise I posted a request for accommodation on couchsurfing website. When I saw page of Santiago, there were a few events and one of them was over night visit to Las Cruces a beach. Initially, I was not sure of going. I thought no harm in joining the group. I put a request in the group and they quickly added me in their whats app group.
The group was supposed to leave on Friday evening, after office hours. On the same day, I was invited in La Tercera office and Trump was supposed to enter into world’s most powerful corridor – White House.
By the time, I returned to ISKCON temple it was 5.30 and I had only 90 minutes to reach to assembly point at bus station and I need to finish some communication with my team in Mumbai. I dropped the plan to go there. Meanwhile a European friend Martin sent me text saying that he had booked a ticket for me in 9.00pm bus.
I quickly finished he work and put my stuff in sack and ran towards the station. While running, I missed the direction and went to wrong station. This was not new for me. It often happens with me that I miss the direction because every day change my location/city/region. It happens.
Again I gave up the plan. Since Martin had booked the ticket, I must show courtesy and reach to bus stop. Station was new, metro line was new and the bus stop was new still I have to find Martin. He had already sent me picture of location. And I found the place. Thanks Martin.
It was odd two hour journey because of traffic. ‘All Santiago was leaving city on weekend because of heat and forest fire’ bus conductor said. Two groups had already reached there before us.
The location of party point was like a natural saucer in the sand desert, odd 1 km away from beach. It has few trees and we set up our camps in it. Then we started finding woods for camp fire. Few groups had already went in search of wood. I was plucking dry woods with Chilean young girl who introduced me as Paula, Chilean Police.
We got few woods. Meanwhile, I had got deep scratch on forehead and it was bleeding. Paula ran to her camp and got wet papers to clean my wound. By the time, Marcos had come with bandage. I hated to put bandage on my forehead. It was painful night.
Soon, heap of wood increased and warmth of campfire spread around. We chewed some nuts and stale bread. I had no tent to sleep, Carlos was generous to offer a place for me in his tent. I went to bed late than my regular time but before others. People were talking and singing around the bonfire till early morning.
Next morning, when I came out of my tent, bonfire was deserted except a European girl (Mayi) was cleaning and collecting wine bottles and plastic. I was reluctant but joined hand to Cleanliness Mission of Los Cruces.
Slowly, all settled around the bonfire again. I had some dry fruits with candy which I had bought in Australia. I opened the pocket and everyone liked it. The Paula got some bread and butter. Everyone shared or their food.
Then the group moved towards beach. Nadine a Chilean girl Nadine who was brought up in Europe voluntarily take responsibility to stay at camp to protect it. Rest we walked through sand desert. We were walking together. I went to answer a nature’s call. Within 2-3 minutes whole group disappeared in the desert. I searched for few minutes but in vain. Even, I could not find the stamps. I was in the middle of desert. I thought lets go to the beach site first and then search the group. I walked down, after sometime, I saw group was coming towards me.
No one dare to touch the water except Martin and Sergio. Sergio was crazy enthusiast. He had got scuba diving suit and a bow and arrow for fishing. He went into the deep water for fishing. Rest of the group was sleeping on the beach till 2pm. I was hungry and I started walking and all followed soon.
We had some dinner and again the flames of bonfire went high. All sat surrounding the fire and chatting. There were several groups in group. I had no group, I joined all of them. Nadine was a charming girl. She studied international relation and now she is working of local government. She started discussion on international relation. Our discussion went around the Asia, Gulf, US and then to Latin America. She told me present situation in Venezuela is going from bad to worst and several youths are coming to Chile in search of bread and butter.
There was another European girl who is working in nursery school and soon promoted as university teaching staff. She told me about education culture in Chile.
One more thing, I don’t know how I should write because it big taboo in my country. I met third gender couples here. This is my second time to meet a person who publicly announced their gender as third gender. (First person was Mayor of Berlin Wowrit who visited India and my editor asked me to interview him. I did but interview did not print.) I spoke with them about their culture in Chile. In India, still it is taboo. We, general people don’t give them life with dignity. But in Chile, its more open.
In the evening, all were lazy to cook dinner. They had bought lot of meat and vegetables. I was not in that group. I had bought some bread, banana and avocado and took my dinner before 9.30pm. I avoid food after 10pm.
Venezuelans journalist Andrea taught me two steps of Salsa (1,2 and 1,2). It was fun. This was second time for me to hold a girl’s hand in hand and dance. Last time, it was in Govinda Valley in Australia. Young Mark was our dance teacher.
Second night, Carol’s tent was not empty. Julio Canelon had two tents and one of them was empty so I moved in it. Thanks Julio. He was kind and cooperative with evening one. He was always ready to help others and he had carried extra tent for others.
Thank you Carlos, Martin, Marti,Rosa, Luis, Manu, Ricardo, Nadine, Pauli, Claudia, Julio, Agroscar, Barbara, Torito, Adriana, Franchu, Rumberisima, Andrea, Narkitos and ClaudiaC