The O bus runs along Ave. Alemania and the drivers are either pushing the accelerator or brake pedal through the floor. Truce had been invited to a party in Cerro Yungay that involved a trip on the O bus. We jumped off at the bottom of Yungay and looked at the 45 degree street in front of us, threw Truce on my back and set out sights skywards. Spring has come to Valpo and the days are warming up. About half way up Truce informed me that I was sweating. Towards the top of the cerro I was grateful that we’d taken our anti-altitude sickness tablets.
We asked a young boy where number 579 Suchandsuch street was. He pointed to the other side of a hairpin turn and pointed out a particular house. Truce jumped back on board the daddy express and we found house number 570 and then 620 and a set of steps in-between. We zig-zagged up the steps and asked for further directions and we were promptly pointed back down the stairs.
I asked a man who shall be named Mr Lungs if he cold help us. He yelled to his friend up the street if she knew the family on the invitation. Mr Lungs told me to go up another set of stairs, he crossed the street and went up another lot of steps. While I was speaking to another person, who did know the family I was searching for – she was the great aunt of Truce’s friend, Mr Lungs shouted from the other side of the valley, “Hay un gringo buscando por la Smith familia.” Somebody shouted back to him, Mr Lungs bellowed to me that the family I was looking for was on his side of the street.
The houses are all built on top of each other and there was no way I would have found them without Mr Lungs help. The older sister of the birthday girl came down to help us navigate through the labyrinth to their house. We arrived, hot, bothered and an hour late. Inside the house there were party decorations, one table with a bottle of soft drink, four chairs, a potato salad and us as the only guests. Surely we couldn’t be the only guests. After a quick glance at the invite I asked la mama what time the party started. She told me in another two hours. The 7 on the invite for 17:30 looked like a 4 for 14:30. We were two hours early. Oh well, time to practice some Spanish.