Even with our success at Clinica Alemana, we still needed a new nebulizer for Jack. The following day I head out in search of the medical supply store. Now, even the most basic interactions are challenging in a country where no one speaks English. Add driving and a medical supply store and you know things are not going to go smoothly. As I make it to the highway, a bit panicky about the aggressive driving approach of Chileans, I realize that the gas light is on in our rental car. Not only am I the one stuck roaming Santiago for a medical supply store, John left me a car with no gas. He could have at least mentioned the car needed gas 🙂
In chile, you can’t fill up your own tank of gas (not that I would be able to do it, nor would I know if our rental is diseal or gasoline -both are options here). You must pull up, communicate with the attendant, understand what the amount is he says to you (most purchases I simply hand over the largest denomination I have in my wallet and trust in honesty) and then tip him appropriately.
As I get off the highway and contemplate the task ahead, I give myself a pep talk and scroll through my small phrase book for an “automobile” section and find how to say, “fill it up.” I manage to make my way through the whole awkward interaction, and leaving I’m incredibly proud of myself for such a relatively easy task. I find I’m often congratulating myself for relatively easy tasks.
My success at the gas tank ushers in a series of successes. I find the medical supply store and get the nebulizer. I had left nothing to chance. I had brought our old nebulizer that we burned to be sure I could show what I needed. I find my way back to Lo Barnechea, the area we live in Santiago. I stop at the Papa John’s Pizza shop and successfully order a pizza ( thanks to big pictures on the menu board and knowing the words “solamente” and “queso”) and I even manage to get to the pharmacy and find the cold medicine Jack needed. Feeling like a rock star, I head home.