Thursday, April 22, 2010

Biking and Magic in Santiago

So I got my bike seat fixed on Monday evening, and instead of simply fixing the screws that were stripped they gave me a completely new seat.  I also bought a headlight, flashing back reflector, and a mirror, and one of my teacher's husbands has a jacket with reflective tape to help with the visibility.

So Tuesday morning I packed my backpack with my lunch and change of clothes, and onto the streets of Santiago I went.  I didn't know how long it would take me to get there, so I left at 6:55.  (School starts at 8, and my guess was that it would take be between 30 and 45 minutes) 

Along the way I encountered the usual obstacles as when biking anywhere else: glass in the street, pedestrians not paying attention, cars stopping in the right lane to drop off or pick up someone, trucks, and busses.  I found myself checking to be sure I was clear if I had to move around cars, and people seemed good about seeing me and not getting too close to me.  Some stretches of the right lanes the main streets are mostly just for busses, and a few times I had busses tailgating me.  Today one honked his horn (which sounds like the Road Runner from the Wile E. Coyote cartoons) angrily at me, but I couldn't really go much faster than I already was. 

It ended up only being a 25 minute ride to work, and I was there by 7:20.  I went into the main area but saw that the gate was still closed for the entrance to the high school teacher's lounge.  This was of course where I needed the key to be able to get into the restroom to change, so I just sat and waited with a few kids who were early also.  Around 7:40 I was wondering when somoene was going to come to open the gate, and then one of the teacher's 5 year old sons walked up the stairs and swung the gate open.  It turns out it was closed but unlocked that entire time.

The ride is good exercise but not strenuous enough that I work up a big sweat.  I was able to get a copy of the bathroom key for myself, and I had my first protein shake since I've left the States.  I tried a GNC brand of vanilla flavored soy protein, and it was good albeit a bit chunky for my taste.  Next time I think I need to shake it up better.

Today I actually had a new biking experience.  I heard a large vehicle behind me, and I thought it was perhaps a bus or truck.  I glanced over my shoulder to see what it was, and I just saw a  2 large prongs of metal sticking out.  Then as it picked up speed I realized it was a forklift.  It easily overtook me, and then I was surprised to see ANOTHER forklift right behind him.  Seriously, how many people can offhandedly say, "So guess what happened to me today?  I was overtaken by 2 forklifts as I biked to work!"  Only in Chile....

So yeah, I finally found a place to play Magic here!  After asking my roommates and posting to Facebook groups I didn't get any response.  So I found a website  which is devoted to Magic in Chile.  On the forums I found the names of people that run tournaments in Santiago, so I emailed them asking for where people meet to play. 

One guy emailed me back the next day with the names of two stores where people meet to play, so I checked one out the other night.  The store was about a ten minute bus ride from my place, and it was about 6 feet by 12 feet in total.  There were tables with benches set up, and most of them were occupied with people playing  Other people were standing around playing.  I sat down with someone when a space freed up, and we started a game.  The game ended up being short since other people had spaces reserved for a tournament starting a bit later.  I ended up getting pummeled by the guy, but it was still cool to be playing Magic in another language and getting to read and understand the cards in Spanish.

I'm looking forward to the weekend and being one week closer to my next paycheck.  Hopefully I will get it on time this time, as I have been going through money a lot more than I thought I would and I really don't feel like paying 15 bucks in fees to make an ATM withdrawal from my bank account at home.  Biking, more Magic, and going to a barbeque are all on the agenda.  Hopefully the weather will be nice to us for the barbeque Saturday.


  1. It turns out it was closed but unlocked that entire time.

    Haha, I've definitely done that a few times. Stay safe on that bike!

  2. Yeah, I felt pretty embarrassed! I have a bright yellow jacket to wear now too so I will stay safe, don't worry!