Edit: a polola is a non serious girlfriend

I was having a bad morning today.  I went to school in a weird mood and the Spanish was not feeling good.  I couldn’t really concentrate in class, I couldn’t conjugate verbs, and the words were not flowing.  Bad.  I decided to run away.  Ha.  As soon as class was over, I went home, then headed straight to the bus terminal.  I needed to find something new and I was in a mood so I didn’t prepare.  I didn’t have a map, a place to go, or any idea as to what to expect.  I didn’t care.  I arrived at the bus terminal and bought two tickets.  One for San Antonio and another for a later date.  All I knew of San Antonio is that it is the largest port in South America.  The bus driver gave me a newspaper, but that didn’t help my mood–it’s not like I could understand it.  Not a good Spanish day.  As soon as I arrived in San Antonio, a little over an hour later, I started walking.  I walked to a little town outside of the city, without realizing it.  It was cute.  They had little fruit stores, which I find charming, and other things to look at.  After a couple of hours, I turned back for the port.  I wanted to see the water.  I found loads of small boats in the marina.  I found some artisans that were bored.  I found enormous sea lions close enough to touch.  I found men fishing for their dinner.  I found big and small waves crashing into the rock barriers.  I found the freshest available fish for sale.  Then I found a dock and an experience that changed my mood. 

The dock was full of serious activity.  Boats were crowded around all sides and fish were being hoisted unto the dock by the fishermen below.  The men on the dock were fiercely transporting the fish from the buckets (so they could be refilled below) into large wheelbarrow-like contraptions for weighing.  I stood at the edge, not tempting to go down the dock quite yet, watching all of this take place.  Then my new friend showed up.  Looking back, I suppose it was a little strange that I was standing there.  This is by no means a tourist destination.  It smells of fish and there are not so pleasant fish things to see.  I’m very sure that only people who know things about fish are there.  He was walking down the dock, stopped when he saw me, and gave me the ”what-are-you-doing-here-you-are-very-strange” look.  Before I could respond, he asked me where I was from.  ”de estados unidos.”  ”¿de dondé?”  ”Texas.”  ”Ah.  Petroléo.”  After this little exchange, I decided if he was this nice, I could attempt walking down the dock.  Not wanting to break any rules, I asked him if I could, and he told me to follow him.  My very own tour guide of the dock.  He is about 45 years old, he has a big personality, with a belly to match.  He was funny.  He told just about everyone we passed that I was his polola.  We got to the boat that he was buying fish from and he introduced me to his brother and work partner.  They were friendly too.  We talked a bit about fish, a bit about Chile, and a bit about San Antonio de Texas.  When they finished the fish exchange, I asked what happens next.  He said, follow me.  Back on land the fish were being washed and stored until they are shipped to Santiago.  He showed me some other things about the fine art of the fish trade before I said goodbye. 

I’m in a much better mood and am ready to reattempt this Spanish thing.  I’m off to study for the evening.