Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Monday, April 8, 2024

Get a Ticket, Get on a Plane, and there you Go: Stories from A to Z

Santiago was overcast and seemed especially chilly coming from summer in the States. I held my hooded sweater coat tightly closed as Forrest and I walked near our hotel. We passed several restaurants and small stores.

In the park, a group of guys had set up a slackline, and Forrest asked to join them. I watched for a while and then continued pacing around the park to stay warm. When he caught back up to me, I commented on a few options that might be nice for dinner. 

“Nah, I don’t want to spend money on expensive restaurants. We can find something better later on.” 

Postponing eating suited me. After years of feeding a big family, I liked not having to think about meals. Hopefully, getting away from rich American food and walking a lot would help me lose weight. Forrest often showed little interest in eating. As for unhealthy junk food, he could take it or leave it. This made him a good companion for someone looking to drop a few pounds. 

Back in the room, it still felt cold, despite the space heater on high. I kept moving, organizing for tomorrow’s bus ride. I wanted my Kindle, my journal, water bottle, sweater, and sweatshirt on the bus. Everything else would stay in the baggage compartment.

I had packed four jars of peanut butter and two large containers of mixed nuts in my suitcase. “Will you want any of these for the ride tomorrow?” I asked Forrest, holding up the nuts.

He said no, he'd buy some snacks later. 

I packed them away. Compulsive snacking on a long road trip is a weakness, and I didn’t need to chomp through those nuts. Breakfast tomorrow should hold me until we arrived at Coquimbo that evening. 

Cold and tired, I crawled under the covers for a nap while Forrest sat on his bed and got online. After a bit, he said, “I’m ready to find food. Do you want to come?” 

“I’m too tired to go out. Just bring me back some of whatever you get.” 

I was deep in sleep when he returned and woke me up. “Mom, mom, mom, mom. I brought you this cake. It’s pretty good.” He waved it in front of my face. 

I roused enough to eat a few bites but didn’t want any more. “You finish it.”

“I already had mine. This is for you!” 

Neither of us wanted it but we managed a few more bites before my frugal son was okay with throwing it away. It was a yellow cake-- moist and tasty without being too sweet. My body wanted sleep, not cake. I dropped back off while Forrest puttered about. 

Our room, at the end of a hallway, had no windows to the outside. A strange setup, especially with that set of stairs leading to an upper-level dormitory space. It was dark and quiet and ideal for sleeping. 

Forrest didn’t set his alarm since we both went to bed so early. He planned to get up by seven or eight and go on a walking tour of Santiago. He had found one online for nine in the morning, and our bus didn’t leave until 1:30 pm. 

In the morning, we both woke up at the same time, the room still dark and quiet. It felt early with plenty of time to get the free breakfast and explore Santiago for the next five hours. 

Then I looked at my phone. It was nearly ten! How had I slept fifteen hours straight? We hurried out to see if anything was left of the complimentary breakfast. Although officially it ended at ten, they still had slices of ham and cheese, bread, and a pitcher of orange juice along with a few containers of milk.

After a satisfactory breakfast, Forrest got dressed and went out. He had missed the city tour. I stayed in to write in my journal and take a quick shower in that very cold bathroom. 

I finally left to wander around and take pictures of the lovely neighborhood. I shot streets and doorways and the walls of colorful buildings and the side of a bus. Santiago, Chile! I couldn’t believe I was walking on a street in a neighborhood in Santiago, Chile. It seemed remarkable. How did this happen? 

Street view Santiago

Empanadas are everywhere in Chile

Lobby of our hotel

Well, you buy a ticket and get on a plane and here you are. It seemed a miracle and yet, I thought, I did this, and I can do it again. I can get a ticket and get on a plane and go anywhere I want. 

Only next time, I will try and do it without a hundred pounds of luggage. It will likely be without Forrest, too, I realized, which made me sad. 


  1. Hi, thank you for visiting my blog through A-Z challenge.
    This was such a lovely story but my heart started aching as I read it. Your words put a sadness in me.

  2. Hi Karen - it certainly is a journey you've embarked on - though I can imagine your state of mind - thank goodness your son, Forrest, was with you ... cheers Hilary

  3. Hi Karen, I'm vicariously wandering Santiago with you - enjoying the journey. I look forward to what's next.

    With smiles, Jenny

  4. It is good that you had your son on this trip. Love tends to heal sadness.

  5. It’s Birgit…that is strange that you had no window. It was meant to be because you both needed the sleep and you could enjoy some scenery. My mom’s best friend lost her husband before Christmas, her brother in law a week after New year’s and my mom a week after that…over 6 yrs now. In 2019, she went, by herself, on a Viking cruise on the Danube…her first without her husband. She was worried she would be lonely but she really enjoyed herself. She hopes to go back one more time and I hope she can…she is 88 yrs old but still can walk and enjoy her garden.

  6. You needed that sleep, and that was the perfect room for me. Maybe it was meant to be. Having no windows wouldn't have bothered me. I certainly know what it's like to feel cold; I feel cold so much of the year. I never might have gotten out of that bed.

  7. You really needed sleep! Glad you got it. The cold shower, not so great! I've never traveled out of the country, but I went to NYC on business and stepped out onto the sidewalk at 10 at night, and it was bustling! It was so different than what I was used to.


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