Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Join the queue.

When there’s nothing in the fridge, it’s time to throw caution into the wind.  We’d been told about a hotdog shop and decided that our immunity systems had been built up considerably since Santiago.
We found a table, brushed the crumbs off and I was volunteered to go to the cashier and order the hot dogs.  I walked past the preparation area where one sous chef with the deftness of a surgeon made the incision in a pile of hot dog buns.  They must have been expecting a busy night.

Next in line was the fluids man.  His job was to use a spatula to fill the hot dog roll with equal parts of white stuff, green stuff and red stuff.   These can be roughly translated into cheese, avocado and tomato.  Cheese and spatula are rarely used in the same sentence, however, here there is no other way to explain the action.

I approached the counter and realised that the word for “hot dog” is not perro caliente.  The problem was I couldn’t remember what the word was, but how difficult could this be when we were in a hot dog restaurant? Another two words you rarely use in a sentence together.  I explained that I wanted a simple hot dog for the girls and the words carne and queso were presented to me.  Meat and cheese.  Yes.  I want two simple hot dogs with meat and cheese.  What else would the sausage be made out of?  Dare I ask?

We returned to the table and waited.  Seconds later two hot dogs with the white, green and red stuff land on the table and then two hamburgers (with meat and cheese) followed.  Talluah’s question, “How do you stuff up ordering a hot dog in a hot dog restaurant?” is still yet to be answered.

The important thing is that the hot dogs were hot and we survived.  Next time, with a few more key phrases I’ll be able to order hot dogs for the whole family.

The work visa saga has finally come to an end.  I had to change one word on my second contract and have another form signed to say the first contract, which has just turned a month old, is still valid.  So after staring at the walls of the GOB office for a total of seven hours over five visits I am now allowed to find work anywhere in Chile.  Interesting.

We don’t live on a street, we live on a paseo, which literally translates as a walk way or promenade.  Across from us is a lovely old lady, Sylvia, who chats to us all the time but we are yet to actually have a conversation.  She understands us but we have no idea what she is saying.  I see her at odd times when I’m walking back from teaching at night. 
Then there’s Hugo, the man who operates the ascensor.  I think his goal in life is to able to say 100 words in one minute.  These people are friendly to us and we can’t wait for the day when we actually know what they’re talking about.  


  1. I just found your blog and it is great!
    Completos is the word you were looking for...hot dogs for chilenos are a complete meal after all.

  2. Thanks for that, next time we go we'll be sure to ask for completos... Although the carne con queso was pretty tasty too. Glad you are enjoying the blog we are enjoying producing it. Valparaíso seem to gives us endless things to talk about.


  3. I've yet order anything but "pollo" -- don't dare to eat a hot dog..and about water wr have had our water shut off too for a while the longest was two days.. the services here can be a pain..and I notice you have some extra writting on sides of building -- sad to see it happening there too..One day we will be visiting chile.. have a super day..