When you’re a barefooter in the U.S. you end up creating all sorts of strategie to be able to eat in restaurants. Most times it is not a problem, but with a restaurant you’re much more likely to have something go wrong.
But there are places . . .
In the U.S. we have to resort to tricks. We’ll kind of hide behind other members of our party so that the hostess won’t notice us. We’ll work on maintaining eye contact so they don’t look down. We’ll position ourselves at the table so that our feet are not easily visible.
But I’m not having to worry about that right now.
I spent Friday afternoon in Santiago, Chile, part of a brief stop on my way to elsewhere. I’d met up with fellow barefooter Alan Bruens in Miami, and then the both of us were met by Machi in Santiago.
The thing about Chile is that, while there really aren’t very many barefooters there, the rest of the population wouldn’t dream of stopping anyone for being barefoot. Even in restaurants.
So when we went out to eat for a late lunch, we simply didn’t have to worry about showing up in a restaurant with 3 barefooters.
We went to a place called “Juan y Medio”, which is kind of a joke in and of itself. You see “y medio” means “and a half”, name of the restaurant is basically “Juan and a half. It also turns out that the Juan who started the place is a big man, big enough to be one and a half men. So that’s why the place is named “Juan and a half” (say it out loud—yes, Machi had to explain it to me).
We all went in, with three obviously barefoot people, and simply did not have to worry about being tossed. It just doesn’t happen. The owners were happy to see us.
Isn’t that amazing? (Well, not for Machi.)
So, here I am in a spirited discussion with Machi.
And here’s Alan looking contemplative.
Also going along on the trip with us (and of course we with us for dinner) were Machi’s wife Virginia and son Lucas.
Juan y medio has mainly authentic Chilean food, and it was really good (and the Pisco sours really helped!) There’s nothing like fresh heart of palm, and I had a a wonderful Lengua de vacona (tongue of beef). Mixed in was a local Chilean wine.
But again, we didn’t have to worry about being in the restaurant barefoot, or being discovered and tossed. Don’t we all look happy?
I also did a bit of walking around downtown Santiago with Machi. What a live, vibrant city! There were people there doing all sorts of shopping, in shops of all sorts. There were also street performers all about. Folks definitely gave us strange looks, but nothing hostile.
And the sidewalks. The sidewalks weren’t poured concrete, but meticulously placed paving blocks of all sorts of different shapes and textures that are really fun to walk on. You can see some of that with this picture of the three of us on the plaza (lots of parks!) across from the restaurant.
From here I both left Chile and stayed in Chile. More next time (with the proviso that the internet connection where I am right now is abysmally slow).