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The thing that was so strange about the sound of plywood tumbling down an elevator shaft is that I was outside when it happened. Strange, I thought. And I kept pedalling. Through Barrio Yungay and beyond, through a quirky old part of Santiago that I love in a strange look-how-fun-down-this-area-is-yet-I-will/can-do-nothing-about-it. It’s also where the skatepark is, so I was tooling over there to find my usual suspects, who I actually even had some questions for, having recently been studying up on the likes of Rodney Mullen, Tony Hawk, Buddy Lasek and other revolutionary skateboarders. Which is somewhat embarrassing, as I am an adult woman, and a night-time flat ground ollie left me with a giant oozy wound on my chin one summer when I was a waitress when I was seventeen, and pretty much ended my skateboarding career. Mmmm, appetizing.

So back to the sound. It was loud. And rumbly. Thunderous, you might say. But the thing about Santiago is that we don’t really get thunder. I mean, I’ve heard it once, right before 8mm bruisers started falling out of the sky, this bizarre Andean hail. So what was that sound?

This is where you all shout in unison; it was thunder, you bozo, now get off your lightning rod of a bicycle and get your spendy camera out of the rain. But it wasn’t until I saw the flash of lightning and felt the first giant dots of rain pelt me through my sweater sleeves that I really believed it was going to storm.

And storm it will, at least for the next twenty minutes. I see it’s clearing to the east, with big puffy picture-perfect clouds peeking over the building tops. The good news (because there’s always good news) is that while I was waiting at the Copec (gas station) for the worst of the rain to pass, I learned that there is a verb “to thunder,” which is tronar. And I trust the person that told me, as he seemed to be a native Spanish speaker, and they do not usually make mistakes like this, unlike Googlemaps, which seems to have decided to use the word incrustar for embed as in to embed a link. I’m going for insertar. And since I can’t figure out how to do either, you won’t get to see a map of where I was when the plywood stopped falling, and a giant lightbulb went on over my head saying, hey! I’m getting wet! Must. seek. cover.