“Alex, you need to take a nap.” I remember saying to one of my preschoolers a few months ago and his sweet little voice replied, “but Ms.Kelly my body won’t let me.” I feel ya kid, I feel ya.
I’m currently on a bus with Luke headed to Santiago and once again I’m wide awake. I swear I’m not an insomniac, but it seems I have a hard time sleeping on planes and buses. I find myself in this state of jealousy of Luke because he can pass out anywhere. In fact, it appears that everyone around me is asleep. Ugh, I remember this feeling as a kid at sleepovers when everyone would fall asleep before me…sleep envy is a real thing.
I suppose there are worse things in life than losing at night of sleep, like getting bit by a dog while riding a bike. Poor Luke. We had just celebrated the end of our trip together with a bottle of champagne staring off into the waters leading out to the Pacific Ocean. After killing the bottle of champagne, which we realized is hard to do…it’s so bubbly, but hey we felt fancy and that’s what you drink when your celebrating. I was slightly worried about drinking in public, (I have no idea if this is legal in Chile) but no one seems to care. All the police really go after are offenders of harming their endangered huemele deer species. Anyways, we finished the bottle and la de da we decide to check out this bed and breakfast recommended to us by the tourist information center. I’m terrible with navigating (hence why the Appalachain Trail was so good for me…follow a white blaze), so I was following Luke to this destination and out of nowhere I see and hear 3 street dogs approaching us from my peripheral vision. I notice one of them getting close to Luke and ahhh he bit me. There may have been some choice words spattered in the moment. Somehow as this happened the dog knocked off one of Luke’s paneers, which I quickly picked up since we were in the middle of the street and it was getting quite dark. Some guy whistled at the dogs to call them off. As Luke pulled off onto the sidewalk, I could already see a reddish purple round spot on his calf. As we were inspecting the wound, a taxi driver pulled up and was clearly angry but we had no idea what he was saying. We thought something of the extent that the dog should be killed but at this point Luke was bleeding and we had more pressing matters to handle than trying to chase after the dog that committed the crime.
Looking around the street, we saw 2 pharmacies and decided maybe they could help. They did direct us to the hospital which we first went to a hospital on Maps.Me that didn’t exist (hence why we weren’t directed to this closer hospital). Of course there’s a freaking steep hill out of town to this hospital. It’s dark, starts to rain, and we have no lights. Really safe situation. On top of that we were on major highways trying to get to this hospital.
We thought about leaving our bikes and taking a taxi, but our first impressions of Puerto Montt told us not to leave our valuables out. Thanking a higher being that we make it to the hospital, we then try to figure out what the receptionist was saying. It’s really frustrating when you think you know your spanish and then you have to have adult conversations. We were directed into this huge waiting room full of people and told to wait until they call our name. A man sitting next to us starts chatting us up and we find out that we could be waiting for many many hours. He recommends a 24 hr clinic that’s closeby and will see us right away. Of course we decide to try that option. We are about to saddle up on our bikes when someone comes out and says hey I think they just called your name. So back into the hospital we go and knock on this door to God knows what is on the other side. I walk through with Luke and we are hit with a whole new prespective. Things could be much much worse.
I immediately see family members standing with 2 patients that are on stretchers with their spines immobilized. Then a young lady in a wheelchair comes in holding her head and starts vomiting in a trashcan. As I am taking all this in, the sliding doors open where the ambulance is and paramedics rush a patient past me and through another door. I turn away because I’m afraid to look. I feel like I’m in the way. I don’t know where to stand and it turns out we are just called back to get Luke’s vitals. The nurse confirms that it will be at least a 6-7 hour wait to see a doctor. We go back into the waiting room and decide to go to the 24 hr clinic.
And we’re off, navigating in the dark, in the rain, on some back street to avoid the highway to get to the clinic. The problem with back streets is there are dogs and we are now both hypersensitive to any bark we hear or dog we see. Well, we make it and have a much better experience. No crowds, we take a number, get called up to the receptionist, get called to the back to see the doctor within 15 minutes, and are out of the building in abut 45 minutes. A nurse cleaned out the bite wound and the doctor prescribed Luke antibiotics. We asked several times if he needed to get a rabies vaccine, but it doesn’t seem to be of concern in this area. The doctor spoke English, which was a relief to us, and he told us Luke didn’t need the shot.
After leaving the clinic around 1130pm, we now have to find a place to stay. Luckily, the first hostel we try works. I felt horrible coming in so late. An older woman answered the door and was so kind to us. She also spoke English and we were so grateful when she said she had room for us. After sneaking our bags into the shared dormitory room where others where already sleeping, we walked down to the closest market that was open and bought some ham, cheese, Salami, and bread to make sandwiches for dinner.
Needless to say, it was a long evening. Thankfully both of us passed out once our heads hit our pillows. The following morning we were greeted with a breakfast of homemade jams, butter, raspberries, orange juice, and coffee. We met a few other cyclists and others staying at the hostel. One cyclist had started his trip from Alaska in 2015. We discussed the psychology of canines and methods of dealing with aggressive street dogs over breakfast. The consensus is to either stop your bike, kick them, or throw rocks at them. Even the 70ish year old hostel owner Perla said when she rode her bike she always carried a bag of rocks.
As you all know, I love dogs. I have 2 small ones and they are family to me. The thought of throwing rocks or kicking a dog makes me whince, but in the end you need to defend yourself. I’m glad Luke is alright and the situation wasn’t worse. We were lucky to even be in a city with medical treatment.
After an awesome breakfast, we had a wonderful day in Puerto Montt. We went to this fish market and saw sea lions, met up with some friends for lunch, ate ice cream, and waited around for our bus. For the past few hours I’ve been trying to translate the red text that is displaying itself on a repeated loop in the screen in front of me. I believe it says report any bad driving and let us know if the driver crosses the rumble strips too often. I also can’t figure out how my seat keeps returning to the upright position. I paid for these fancy seats that fold mostly horizontal and still can’t sleep….gah sleep envy it’s a real problem.