Once upon a time for a brief period, I was the librarian at a bilingual school in Conception, Chile. Other than the weather, I loved Chile. The people were so nice. The food was amazing. The landscape was beautiful.
Unfortunately, the guy who ran the place was a loon and his wife, who was the business manager, thought Pinochet was still in power and she was part of the dictatorial elite. After three months of having my pay shorted, being lied to and threatened, and having the money for the utilities at my apartment that I was required to give to them stolen instead of applied to my bills, I found out that I wasn’t even working legally because my employers hadn’t filed the paperwork. With the help of the parents of some of my students, I fled the country two steps ahead of Chilean Immigration. Good times, good times.
Anyway, in order to get to school I had to catch a bus from my employer-provided apartment to the mall and then walk about half a mile from there to school. After school, I reversed the process. A lot of dinners were eaten at the mall, which fortunately had three outstanding restaurants. Rich’s served burgers the size of dessert plates made with beef that was mooing yesterday. Domino served hotdogs that were like no hot dogs I’ve ever eaten before or since. It is also the place where I learned my first word in Spanish. “Sin.” I had to order my hot dog “sin mayo” or they would put the mayonnaise in with a trowel and I’d feel sick for hours later. The third restaurant was called Schop and served very simple fare that was utterly delicious. I occasionally think about going back to Conception to visit a few of the people I met through the school and who got me out of the country before I was deported, and to eat. Since I’ve kept touch with them through Facebook, it would mostly be to eat.