Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Our Days in Chile - Valparaiso

After getting my brother, we took a bus to Valparaiso - an ancient seaport City - which looked to me like a Van Gogh painting - but to my brother looked like a Spanish version of San Francisco. We stayed at a Victorian house on top of the hill.

We both napped in the late afternoon because both of us had not slept much. I liked the comforter full of goose blankets. When I woke from my nap, my brother said that a cat came in, but I was asleep. I was sad that I had not seen our guest. For dinner, we ate a French restaurant, which charged a very moderate price - except the food was only average. Although for $5 they brought us six exquisite and rich desserts all served in shot glasses. These tasted good.

My brother and I took a sleeping pill. We regretted it. We slept for 12 hours.

When we woke, we ate lunch. We had razor clams in a cream and cheese sauce. It tasted wonderful. It was a national dish. We also picked up all the abalone (paua in New Zealand), a wonderful shellfish, which costs too much to buy in America. I cooked it later in a soup.

My brother often complained about walking to our place on top of the hill. He was constantly searching for an easier way. I had found one and told him I wasn't telling him because he needed the exercise.

He'd walk up the hill and be drenched in sweat. I'd wait for him at the top and tell him, "It doesn't even make my heartbeat go up."

"You're such a liar."

"No, it really doesn't. I was born with the right genes from Mom and Dad. Not like you."

"You're so full of it."

He ended up finding transportation to that hill, but it was on the same day we left the city.

I liked Valparaiso because it looked like a city that would come out of the imagination of artists high on absinthe. My brother found it not his cup of tea. He said, "You like this place because you're a freak - like this freakish place."

During one part of our trip, we had to split up. I took a bus back to the capital, Santiago. He went to the beach. The return trip took 5 hours in total.

I went to the dentist in the capital. I found a dentist on the internet who was going to do my root canal for 70% off of what my dentist in America wanted. Yes, I was a bit nervous because I didn't know how good she was, but I couldn't afford to pay for such an expensive treatment back home. Also, even though the price was incredible in America, they said there was a waiting list until possible January, if not February.

The specialist was a woman and she spoke English. She looked young. But by the way she smiled, I knew she was honest. By the way she analyzed my x-ray and told me what she was going to do and why, I knew she was very skilled.

Yes, the procedure wasn't very pleasant, but it wouldn't have been different in America. She injected two shots of anesthesia in my mouth. She even said, "I'm going to inject another shot; it's going to hurt." She pierced the roof of my mouth with the needle. It did hurt.

Then she started drilling into my tooth. A sharp pain pulsed through my tooth into my gum. I raised my left arm and said, "It hurts."

She said, "Let's wait a bit longer for you to get numb."

Then she injected a needle into my tooth. After that, I felt no pain.

She took about an hour to drill into my tooth. She pricked a thin needle into my tooth and in one pull removed the root. She showed the nerve of my tooth. It looked like a snake on a toothpick. She said, "It's rare to get it out so cleanly. It's a 1% chance."

Through it all, I knew she was really skilled. I was impressed by how she didn't seem stressed, and it all seemed easy for her. I've been through a number of dentists through my life. Out of probably 10 dentists (not that my teeth are bad, but I've lived in different places over my life), women dentist have talent in not making you feel pain. This one was the best one I could remember.

After, she said, "We're not going to give you the crown. You'll save money. There's enough tooth to do a resin filling. A crown would wear your tooth down more."

She started injecting bleach into my tooth. It smelled like sterile. I gagged at one point because the bleach tasted so nasty.

Then, the molded the cavity in my tooth. She said come back a week later, the resin filling will be ready.

After she was going to shake my hand. Instead, she hugged me and kissed me, and said, "This is how we do it in Chile."

It felt weird at first because she was a doctor. But I realized, you know, I liked it. I liked her. Not romantically. But I liked how professional and honest she was. And she knew me in a way no one else did. She knew the condition of my teeth and my mouth. Not even my parents could claim that privilege. So, I liked that she wasn't afraid to hug me and say, "Feel better."

I downed a beer for the ride back home. I knew it'd be a boring bus ride back into the seaside City. When I arrived, I hiked the hill, and met my brother in the room.

We went out for a midnight dinner at a Tapas Cafe. Tapas are small Spanish side dishes. It was so lively inside, with the chattering of tourists.

We had a beautiful Italian waitress serve us. We ordered wild salmon civiche (civiche is seafood usually cooked in lime juice) and grilled octopus. We drank down pisco (Chilean brandy) sours.

He told me about his day. I told him about the honest dentist I met. We talked about what we were going to do.

He told me the cat came back. When we went back to our hostal, the calico kitty came in and said, "Meow" to me. I petted her. She didn't want to leave. I picked her up. Dropped her outside the window. Then shut it.

Tomorrow, we had to catch an airplane to the most southern tip of South America. We were going to the end of the world.

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