Things didn't begin well in Bahia Ingles, we arrived in the small holiday beach town just before Xmas. A fruitless search for a cheap and friendly hostel meant spending a few nights in a not cheap and (it turns out) not friendly apartment. But an apartment nonetheless close to the beach and with some good views, both in and out. A morning's snoozing on the beach was followed by a well earned siesta for me whilst fay got on with some washing in the bathroom. I quickly fell into a deep slumber, so deep, and fay so engrossed in the washing, that we were entirely unaware of some scally enjoying the view into the apartment too much, hopping a gate, through an open window and helping themselves to Fay's not inexpensive camera. Judging by the (non) response of the police, crime in Bahia Ingles is not normally on the menu, but they provided us with a certificate for insurance and to ensure there were no problems with the claim, Fay took a statement, in Spanish, from the apparently enthusiastically helpful apartment owner. A statement that was promptly submitted to the insurance company in the UK, and which was later translated as saying 'due to their own negligence in leaving a window open the burglary took place'. Grrrrrrr, some people.
There followed a couple of days on the beach, interspersed with calls to insurance companies and seafood that for Fay carried a fishy taste of resentment. The camera had been her constant companion and she took it's loss hard. Not too soon it became time to move on and so we headed to the nearby town to buy some bus tickets to Santiago. I found the Turbus office and left Fay in the library where we had been stealing some free wifi.
I had spent some time, albeit not enough, learning Spanish before I left and in Bolivia and Peru it had been steadily improving and my confidence with it. As soon as we crossed the border into Chile, I may as well have been learning Welsh. With this is mind I wanted to start somewhere easy and buying bus tickets seemed the perfect opportunity. "A que hora la ultimo bus a Santiago?" which, whilst undoubtedly not perfect Spanish, was understood and from there on the conversation went well and I was feeling pretty happy and pleased not to have made a fool out of myself in front of the queue. I paid the lady, flashed her a satisfied smile, picked up my tickets with an exaggerated flourish, then turned and walked out at full pelt, face first into the column that stood in the middle of the office. The sound was huge and I didn't realise straight away (being concust) but I had blood pouring from the gash across my forehead. There was a moment of confusion, everyone stunned, and I did the only thing any right minded man could do, and that was to run, head down, stumbling in a fog of embarrassment back to the library to greet Fay and the library staff with a manic grin and blood soaked face.
The scar is still there, like half a ligtning strike across my forehead, a constant reminder, not that I'm a gifted (if annoying) young wizard who will save the earth many times over, but that I'm a man who walks head first into brick pillars.
Sent from my iPod