Archive for March, 2015

El Buen Maestro

Posted: March 27, 2015 in Humor, Life, Stupidity
Tags: , ,

That’s what my downstairs neighbors called me after I went in and fixed the leaky pipes myself. Seeing as how the guy who installed them has probably fled Chile to avoid the torches and pitchforks, and the guy who I called to help me never showed up.

And so I learned how to solder copper pipes (because one of the first things I did during the teardown was to put the chisel straight through the gas line) and do Super-Duty Gringo jungle repairs on poorly-done Chilean PVC. And how to use plumber’s epoxy. And I actually did it right, because now there is no more feces raining down from anywhere but my own butt.

If this keeps on its current trajectory, in 6 more months I will have all the skills necessary to rebuild civilization from the stone age to the digital age after the zombie apocalypse wipes out humanity.

What had happened is that the “maestro” put a PVC pipe into an ancient iron one, and sealed it with nothing more than an entire tube of silicone. Said silicone was probably not meant for constant exposure to humidity and butt stuff, and so it fell apart 6 months later. And said pigiron shitty pipe was probably not meant for humidity and butt stuff either, because it had decomposed accordingly, and so I rerouted the other plastic pipes to another outlet, and epoxied the hell out of everything just to be sure.

Cutting the whole thing apart was a mess. It’s been done a hundred times; hero cuts into monster with chainsaw, getting sprayed with blood from head to toe, leaving a clean silhouette on the wall behind him. Only with me it was different in color and odor, as the reciprocating saw cut into the fermented sedimentary strata of poop in the bottom of the pipe… let me tell you there is no sensation quite like it. Last I felt this way was in Uruguay when I got a steaming shit shower from the backwards-built septic tank.

I knew better than to eat until I was done with this stuff, because I knew there would be gag moments. This was one of them.

I still don’t want to eat. I smell like a sewer. But it’s done!!!

Next I get to play with tile and cement, which is childs play for me at this point.

It’s funny, the whole situation, because I could have been finished with this crap a week ago had I just dove into it myself. Instead I kept waiting around for a guy I thought was reponsible to come and take care of it for me, because, well, I earn a lot more in the same amount of time for working my own job. It’s more efficient to do that and pay someone to do the repairs while I work, IF he fucking shows up to do said work. He said he would, and so I repeat the age-old mañanismo bullshit putting off my own stuff waiting on something that will never happen.

But hey, now it’s been fixed by a gringo, and con suerte it will endure for another century.

And now I am better than a Maestro Chileno. I am El Buen Maestro Gringo.

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Ahhhh, yes, dear reader, I finally got all the previously-entangling bullshit out of the way and was looking forward to a restful day of piecing together my road trip plans. I needed a small camp stove and so I went out and got one, leaving that to be the last little piece of equipment I would require.

And, as soon as I was home, and had all my kit scattered around on the living room floor so as to arrange its optimal Tetris configuration into my backpack, I started to get that sensation. That odd sensation that “things are looking up, I really hope nothing happens now…”

Queue the music from Aliens, when Ripley realizes that she is in the same room with facehuggers skittering around. Yes, the high pitched squeaky violin sounds that build into a creepy crescendo; something is off to stage right and about to jump on the unsuspecting protagonist.

AND then a knock at my door. It’s the old lady from downstairs. Every time I see her, I hear that music from Aliens. And once again there she is, and she tells me there is water coming from her ceiling.

Now I have been back a full week at this point and this is the first I have heard of it, but maybe it has simply taken that long for it to make its way into the nooks and crannies and get through to her apartment below. But anyhow, it’s leaking from the toilet pipe because it’s got that lovely smell to it. Just fucking brilliant.

So now, I really MUST fucking abandon my epic road trip plans to epic digging up and redoing the plumbing AGAIN for the SECOND fucking time because the moron who I paid before to do it right the second fucking time didn’t do it right the second fucking time.

Now I know why Chilenos don’t want to renovate old places, now I know why, when dumbass ExpatBob went gleefully marching off in his own direction while the locals stood dumbstruck, exactly why they were dumbstruck. “Stupid gringo,” they thought, “wait a year and his toilet will be leaking onto his neighbor’s head.”

Why the hell is it that the guys who built this place made plumbing that lasted 100 years and the guy who did it last year out of indestructible never-rotting never-rusting plastic can’t even make it last 12 months???

But no, off I went thinking, “Stupid Chilenos! You’ll see! Such a great deal I got on this place and with just a bit of investment, it will be awesome! You are such fools to pass up this kind of cash cow!”

Awesome toilet leaks, for fucking sure.

I wonder how Chile isn’t bursting at the seams with its own sewage, really.

RIP road trip. I wonder if I will even have the time to get this shit (literally) properly contained before I leave.

I also wonder why the Gods punish me in this particular way– if you read back on past accounts, it is ALWAYS a plumbing disaster that ALWAYS derails my most epic plans, ALWAYS at the last possible moment. The Gods are, literally, shitting on my plans. Using my own shit, no less.

More SOSAS

Posted: March 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

Well I took the car back to the inspection station two days later after doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to it, and lo and behold it passed with flying colors and sello verde! Gee what a surprise! Not.

I knew that there were two possible outcomes: the one I got, or the one where every nut, bolt, nook, and cranny would be seen spewing smoke by the witch hunters. Glad I got the former and not the latter, though I suppose both were equally possible.

The emissions were so clean you could suck on the exhaust. Go BobMobile!

Today I rig up for BobQuest 2015, and either tomorrow or Monday I take off, after a day or two of rest and stress reduction.

SOSAS

Posted: March 19, 2015 in Life, Real estate, Stupidity, Travel
Tags: , , , ,

Same Old South American Shit (SOSAS) hooray for fun acronyms.

I came here to do a few small select things.

  • Remove WifeBob from the Chilean medical insurance policy.
  • Get the car’s paperwork renewed for another year.
  • Go on an awesome road trip through Patagonia.
  • Pack up my things into storage and rent the Volcano Lair out as a furnished short-term rental.

Even the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry. We are, dear reader, once again in South America…

Let’s start with the first simple thing. I contacted my medical insurance rep months ago to ask how I might have WifeBob removed from the policy since she no longer wants/needs it. “Oh, all we need is your signature,” I was told, and so that’s what I went on. Months later, here I am in Chile to meet and sign, and “Oh, we need your divorce certificate.” Gee, would have been nice to have known that when I asked months ago, right? So I would have time to get a copy and bring it down with me? So now, in order to take care of this crap, it will cost me several days which may eat into my road trip and possibly make it a no-go.

Then the car. I keep, in my opinion, one of the best-maintained little shitboxes in all of Chile. Yes it often sits unused for long periods of time but I keep it in such a high degree of operational fitness that after 6 months of non-use, all I need to do is turn the key and it comes back to life. And so, I figured, it should be a piece of cake to take it into the inspection station, get my papers, and off we go on our road trip. Not so! I was rejected flat-out for “visible blue smoke” which does not exist. Not only am I mechanically inclined enough to know that this is bullshit, but I took it to a mechanic for further inspection, whereupon we both scratched our heads as to what they could have possibly seen to make them think it was so bad that they failed it outright and did not even bother to give it the emissions test. Oh, and they also failed it for having improperly-aligned headlights, even though nothing has changed since last year when it passed with flying colors and perfect emissions. Weird.

So anyhow, I have to “fix the problems” and then bring it back for re-testing. Which will eat into potential road trip time and may make it a no-go.

As to the possibility of the road trip at all at this point, it teeters on the edge.

The only potentially good thing in this little to-do list is the prepping of the place for rental, which is really just a matter of boxing a few things up, upgrading the locks on a closet, and handing the keys over to my chosen AirBnB rental manager (who I have dealt with in the past with excellent results). But, alas, he is on vacation right now and won’t be back until about a week before I leave. So if the road trip is delayed I may miss my window to do my dealings with RentalBob. In my opinion doing the rental stuff is more important than the road trip, and so the road trip plans are being squeezed from two directions.

Ahhhhh, life in South America. It is content to leave you alone completely, until you decide to do things.

In other news, I learned that since October, our citizenship file in Uruguay has finally passed muster (2+ years of waiting) and is now in the hands of the bureaucrat who will actually make our passports happen. Whatever that means. Nobody who is supposed to know seems to know, and they don’t answer emails or phone calls. The only information we have is that the next step should take 8 months (since October 2014), which means that in theory, in April, if all goes to plan, I can wrangle someone who will give me my goddamned passport. But, Uruguayan time being Uruguayan time, 8 months really means another 4 years. There is actually a formula for this:

Let Z = real time in months. Let Y = time promised by Uruguayan in months.

Z = Y (6 +- 48000)

Back in Chile

Posted: March 17, 2015 in Life, Travel
Tags: , , ,

The BobMobile lives.

It sat for 6 months in the parking lot, with the battery disconnected, having collected a thick sludgy layer of condensed Santiago Air Slime, into which the local kids had carved finger graffiti with increasingly-desperate pleas of “Lavame” (Wash me!). I wondered if it would start, but BobMobile roared to life on the first crank.

I am getting BobMobile ready for another legendary BobQuest journey. This time I will hit the southern half of Chile in the hopes that I reach as far south as roads go, on the “Ruta Fin del Mundo.”

It really is the best little piece of shite car I have owned. I might just drive her up through the entire continent and bring her “home” to the US once my dealings in Chile wind to a close. If that becomes home again. You see, I can’t fucking make up my mind.

It’s weird being back here after a 6 month absence spent back in the old republic. As FrenchBob said to me a couple weeks ago, we expats are, “Avoir le cul entre deux chaises,” which means, “To see ones ass perched between two chairs.” It’s an excellent saying for folks who just can’t figure out where they belong anymore. I feel perfectly at home here in Chile, and I don’t miss the US. Yet.

I don’t know if it’s a “tolerance battery” that wears down, or if it’s just itchy feet. A few months in a place and then you can’t wait to get back to wherever you were before. All the same, I like to rearrange my furniture in an equal timeframe. Are we just wired for a necessary change of scenery within and without?