I've been back in the USA for over a week and one Super Bowl. Between sleeping and eating too much, (I'm catching up on both) I've had time to think about our Southern Continental neighbor.
Decades earlier than this past trip, folks would ask me why I hadn't visited any place in South America. My answer was truthful. I wasn't excited about going to countries where the who's calling the shots head honcho changes hands as often as a busy Biker Bar changes kegs of Bud Lite. (That's often. The more macho the bar, the wimpier the beer).
Now that situation has changed in a good way. South America seems to be almost tranquil compared to many tumultuous regions. Remember the good old pre-911 days? The world seemed so much gentler then.
With that excuse for not going gone. I decided to try my fortune with an untested traveling companion and visit Chile.
When Lisa split for work obligations the difficulties of South American travel for an older solo non-Spanish speaking wanderer became a bit too real. I grew frustrated by the lack of road signs, the pantomiming I had to do to get my point across and two kinds of breath-holding banos. The really foul WC's where I sought immediate psychiatric counseling or the ones where I could wait to speak to a shrink manana type.
As the trip continued it took a lot more effort to ignore the hordes of hungry hounds, the piles of detritus at impromptu landfills and the all too sad look of poverty in many places. (I can say the same thing about pockets of the US too). Without a travel partner to vent to, I internalized the experience too often. I got homesick.
Peru and Machu Picchu was a welcome reprieve for me. I met sixteen English speaking people who hadn't heard any of my stories yet. They told good yarns too. I've noticed people who take the chance of travel are pretty entertaining and interesting. That week salvaged my South American trip. I needed that.
Please don't get me wrong, the places I saw were intensely beautiful and eye catching. The people are friendly even though they couldn't understand me and visa versa. I never felt threatened other than a few scary driving moments. It's an experience worth checking out. For me, I would think twice about running solo again. It's too much alone time even for a curmudgeon like myself.
Now back to the present: I phoned GEICO today to restart my full insurance coverage on Barley the Van. Before I hung up, the nice agent asked me, "Would you be interested in an insurance policy for renting or for your other properties"?
"I already have an insurance policy with GEICO for my only property. The van is bought and paid for too."
The line got real quiet. As a goodbye, I said, "It's a long story."
So readers, please keep looking into my blog. The story will continue.
Cheers from almost sunset time at Saint Pete Beach, Florida.