Santiago Cabbie Stories: Blessed by a Taxi Driver

I got blessed by a taxi driver yesterday. First time that’s ever happened to me.
I’ve been cursed (ok, cursed at) by a cabbie—although in truth, I was actually just a convenient proxy for a certain former US president he seemed to have issues with. I’ve also been lectured to, lied to, sweet-talked, and ripped off; I’ve heard sob stories, tall tales, bad jokes, and tirades, but blessings? This was a first. And I think this particular cabbie is concerned for my eternal soul.

See, yesterday was my radio day… “Cachando Chile on the Air” runs live on Santiago Radio on Wednesdays from 6:00–800 PM, and I was running late. So I hopped in a cab and, chatting it up along the way, I mentioned that I had to be on the air in 10 minutes.

He was curious and asked about the radio and the program and I told him that it was an all-English radio station “uf, me pilló ahí” (ai, you got me there) he said, and I kept chatting, mentioning that the show was a spin-off from my blog, “Cachando Chile.

A sudden chill blew in from the otherwise warm summer afternoon outside the car.

“Ah, no. That’s a bad name,” he said sternly.

I laughed. “No! Cachando in the CHILEAN sense!” I said, “Not the Peruvian sense!” ha-ha-ha. “It’s about Chilean culture!” chuckle, chuckle.

Not so funny I guess.

“It should be Entendiendo Chile,” he instructed, certain that he was helping this gringa see the error of her ways, just as we pulled up to the station.

“Noooo—that would be fome (boring)! ¿Cachái?” (Get it?)
“See there? See that big sign that says ‘I Love Chile’? Drop me there please.”

I fumbled for the right change, getting down to small coins. “No problem, whatever you have there, that’s fine. I don’t want you to be any later,” he said kindly.

“Thanks! Muchas Gracias, que tenga una excelente tarde!” I said throwing open the door.

Bendiciones,” he responded. I spun back to him. (Blessings? Did he say something about blessings?)

Looking me square in the eye, he said “Que Díos le bendiga…” God Bless you…

And I knew that he was most sincere in hoping that this gringa was understanding—not cachando—what he was saying…

Sí, lo caché … a la chilena po…
And come to think of it… I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t tell him about LAST week’s show with “Japi Jane!”

Post Scriptum:
I like talking to taxi drivers… here’s another Santiago Cabbie Story

Post Post Scriptum:
I intended to post this last night, just when Word Press crashed (WordPress.com said this morning that it was down for a record 110 minutes)… but I have to admit that I really did wonder–ever so briefly– if this was a particularly tech-savvy cabbie who had hacked my blog to rid the world of its name… is that paranoid?

9 responses to “Santiago Cabbie Stories: Blessed by a Taxi Driver

  1. Ahhh, the inexplicable…was he blessing you because you love Chile? We’ll never know…

  2. oh no… it was QUITE clear why! He was concerned about me being led down some erroneous path… in Perú “cachar” is a vulgar way of referring to sex… that’s why he didn’t like the title!

  3. Hi- Sorry- I just now saw this! Yes, thanks! I and the people closest to me are all fine… you can read all about it in the post:
    https://cachandochile.wordpress.com/2010/02/28/chiles-earthquake-8-8-experience/

    thanks for checking in!

  4. Nice story. Here is my interpretation of the “blessing”.
    Lately, I have noticed quite often people saying goodbye with the word “bendicion(es)”. I reckon it is a Protestant custom, and it is said quite seriously. As you probably know, Protestants have been gaining much ground over Catholics lately here in Chile.
    By the way, it is a real pity that your program in Radio Santiago is finished; I never got to hear it.
    Bendición,
    Raúl.

  5. Hi Raúl. I did get the sense that he may have been Protestant. I haven’t seen statistics lately with respect to the growth of Protestants in Chile, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me to hear they were on the rise. Many reasons…
    I’m sorry about the radio program too, but I finally had to accept the fact that I just didn’t have time to prepare properly and if I can’t do something well, I’d rather not do it… so maybe at some point down the road I can try again.

  6. Jajaja, Gringa, que te bendigan no es más que una fórmula para despedirse deseándote suerte en la vida.

  7. Que Díos le bendiga… is an extremely common phrase in Puerto Rico, generally from people with strong religious beliefs. It’s used generally as a way of saying goodbye to someone. I’ve never heard it used so much anywhere else.

    Jared

  8. Hi Jared- Yes, same here…used frequently by people who tend to be older and quite religious. And yes, as goodbye. In this particularly context, the intention was double…

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