Returning from injury, now with feria report


I have begun to think that perhaps fruitflies have the most sensitive sense of smell (or whatever it is they have) of the whole animal kingdom. They come in droves the second you get fruit into the house, which means you have to put said fruit in fridge, which makes a girl sad because cold fruit is not as delicious as room temperature fruit and also, despite many dental interventions, some people still have sensitive teeth.

Anyway. Fruit. We have it. It is high fruit season in Chile, with melons at a price so low it will almost make it worth it to fly down to Chile, eat your weight in melon (I suggest doing this somewhat slowly, due to melon’s tendency to hurt the guata (stomach) after too much, and whatever you do, don’t drink a beer and eat watermelon, because here in Chile, that will kill you.

Feria! First, my main accomplishment this week at the feria was accepting nary a plastic bag. It is hard to do, this plastic bag narying. You have to be quick on the draw, with one of the following statements ready to fly.

No quiero bolsa (I don’t want a bag)
Sin bolsa está bien (It’s okay without a bag)
or my personal favorite: Lo llevo así no más, sin bolsa por favor. (Oh, I’ll just take it like this, without a bag please)

At which point the person you are dealing with will say, oh, you are taking care of the environment. And you will feel a smirk come to your face, as you heft the mostly locally grown produce into your reusable bags, like so:

All of the bags have a story, but this was the first time I trotted out what is probably the best souvenir I bought myself in Suriname, a Suriname flag bag, which I bought in the market, and I believe it cost 5 SRD, about a dollar fifty.

But you want to see what’s inside, no?

And we have:

1 canteloupe 500 clp
1 honeydew 500 clp
1 watermelon 600 clp
whole bunch of tomatoes 1100 clp
basil 200 clp
mystery herb bundle 200 clp
lemons 500 clp
lettuce 500 clp
red peppers 400 clp
grapes 350 clp
2 cucumbers 400 clp

The peso is down again, to 482 clp to the dollar. The total price for the haul was 4,750 CLP or about US $9.85 for all those nibbles. I would have paid less if I’d gone to the Vega, but I am still not really walking properly, so no Vega for me. This was the Saturday feria, which is not as good as the Sunday one, re: variety, but I still did ok, and the tomatoes are awesome.

So the living is easy in Chilito, it would seem! Except for when you get hit by a car, and have to limp to the doctor, which I dutifully did. I chose to go to MEDS, the fancy-ass clinic up in Providencia (or is this La Reina), near the Bilbao metro. There I would see a sports doctor and we would discuss the great unfortunateness that is getting doored, how long I lived in the United States, because it seems to have affected my accent some, and also that I am not set up (physically) for running, due to joint issues and general body type.

The good thing about MEDS was the crazy nice office I got to sit in while waiting for my doc to come in to see me (after he called me, but before he attended me). Behold:

The other good thing is that I thought to hold my skirt close to my body when I got on what shall heretofore be referred to as the “upskirt box,” a contraption with a mirror and a piece of glass to stand on, so the doc can see the bottoms of my feet and how I stand and whatnot.

The not good thing is that whereas the same consult with my regular foot and ankle specialist at Integramédica would have cost me X as a copay, this one cost me almost 3X. Where X is an amount of money greater than what I just spent on vegetables. (reveal, my COPAY cost $50 US at this clinic, ouch, ouch ouch). However, he’s a sports doctor and the nice office and gave me a 2fer because he looked at my old ankle scans and um, well, I just spent way too much on my health. My mother assures me I’m worth it.

Also, today I discovered the sprain does not allow for skating, 8 days out. I’m grumpy. Good thing I have all that melon to eat. Ta.

Author: Eileen

Living in the "wrong" country for nine years now, I bike, photograph, write, eat and talk about language, but not in that order. Chile is home now, and probably will be for a while. I was raised in Brooklyn, and in response to a question I've been asked a couple of times since I've been here, no, I am not carrying a knife (most of the time).

8 thoughts on “Returning from injury, now with feria report”

  1. This is funny, and makes me think two things.

    1. Is the watermelon/beer one of those funny Chilean old wives’ tales? I’ve never heard it before, though I was told not to sleep with my window open (in hot hot summer) because fresh air makes you sick.

    2. I am sad to say that I pretty much gave up trying to not get plastic bags in La Vega, because I was so rarely successful. At least they were reused for rubbish/to wrap food.

    I hope your ankle gets better soon!

  2. I think MEDS is worth the money if you want to continue to be active…I went there after a nice Bball incident that left me in crutches and they had me back on my feet and all it has a better environment for healing..I went to a couple others and they felt very dreary and depressing.

  3. I figured this issue out, when I go to the Vega I always get Raymundo or his little buddy Ivan to help, they are 14-15 and work moving stuff around in the Veggie area, they have nice wheel barrows, I live at Parque Forestal, 8-9 long blocks away. I carry nylon mesh bags for stuff and bigger cotton bags to put the mesh bags of produce in, Raymundo knows this, the little bugger is almost abusive to the vendors if they don’t put the veggies in the mesh bags, he also makes sure I don’t get gringoed as you don’t get to pick the 12 lemons you want. He then gets paid to barrow the stuff back to my building where the guys then take it up to my apartment. I only do this when needing lots of stuff I normally go to a Saturday Feria up in Las Condes, or buy out on the highway when travelling back from the coast. I pay him 2500 (always a new 2000 and 500 coin) for his help, he always is ready to wheel back bags of lemons and a couple of watermelons and other stuff adding up to 20kg or so. I don’t think I have spent more than 35,000 on a big trip to the Vega, which would be tonnes of fruit and veggies, I buy meat and fish elsewhere.

  4. Hope that toe is healing quickly! Did the doc have you come back for kinesiología? Or is it possible that there is nothing you can do but wait?
    Sure missing all those wonderful Chilean summer fruits and veggies! Save some for me please!

  5. They say that a positive attitude is more than 50% of the recovery battle so if MEDS makes you at ease and offers peace of mind, spend the coin and cut back elsewhere that month. Glad to hear you can make it the door. *grin*

    Plastic bags. Quite the topic these days. More and more often I hear people stating they’ll just purse/pocket/carry the items out. Some even just re-cart their items at the super market because they have boxes/bags in their car. Me, I ride public transportation so I have a great cart covered in bright outdoor fabric (even has a hidden interior cold compartment) so no matter the weather, my goods stay contained and dry and best of all… no shoulder or back strain with a rolling cart.

    The fruit/veg spread looks wonderful!

    1. I like the idea of a cart, but I mainly ride my bike everywhere, so I don’t really need one, just navigate back with the bags on the bars, or sometimes with the panniers on. MEDS did give peace of mind, but the treatment was just kind of confirming what I already suspected. Happy to have a doc agree with me, I guess. It’s not that I can’t afford it, it’s just that that’s not a fair price for what you get. It’s my health insurance’s fault, which in turn is my fault, I suppose!

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