Walkabout: Travel Life and Photographs

From the Bottom of the World

P1020242 The flight down was uneventful and long. I slept or tried to sleep for most of it. In Toronto we had to go through security again and spent seven hours anxiously waiting for our flight to leave. From Toronto to Chile it was nine hours and we had an open seat next to us. Even though we had the extra room we both got off the plane feeling grumpy and groggy, but in Chile! Customs was a cinch; we found our bags, and then our driver. I remember my first step out of the airport… the sun was high and it was hot!! We had to shed our winter layers quickly.

Our driver talked to us in Spanish the entire trip to Vina del Mar (2 hours). He was easy to understand and told us many things about the country of Chile like the famous vineyards, the copper mines, the climate, the government, food and what drink you should have with which food… he went on and on. It was very nice to have him as our guide, but it took energy to keep up with him. After our first view of the city of Valparaiso, which was very similar to San Francisco with narrow, steep streets, we went to Viña del Mar with our driver and our Adelante contact Jennifer. Both were giving us points of reference so we could remember how to get from place to place. We arrived at our host family’s house around 4pm, but the maid had already left and our parents were still on vacation so they put us up in a hotel for two nights.

P1020241 Being in a hotel we were able to catch up on sleep and explore the city of Viña del Mar. The city has many high rises and new buildings going up everywhere. There are many people here on vacation from other parts of the country so the restaurants, shops, hotels, and the beach are all very busy. It is nice to once again be in a place where everything is accessible by foot. There is a metro, buses and taxis, but we have walked everywhere so far. On Sunday we went to the beach, but it was too cloudy to swim. We walked along a path where the waves hit rocks along the and then splash onto the sidewalk. Several unlucky passersby were drenched with water! It almost happened to us once. I told Andy on a hot day we should come back and dodge the waves.

Monday was our first day of Spanish class. We both didn’t know what to expect. There are 7 students total. Most are from the states and most of them are men. For the first class two teachers asked all of us questions and we had to go around and answer in Spanish with everyone listening to our answers. I think everyone was really nervous, but Andy and I made it into the advanced class with 3 other students. After class we met our host family Susana and Denis. They own a big house 15 minutes away from our school. They are very nice and are used to sharing their home with students. Denis loves soccer and also plays basketball. He even invited us to play with him at a local gym! Susana has been a midwife for years and now is a professor at a college teaching others how to be midwives. She also paints and has many paintings hanging in the house. Their Chilean Spanish is very difficult to understand at times, but it is getting easier.

P1020226 The food has been great. We have had so many avocados and empanadas. My favorite is an empanada made with spinach, cheese, and queso! But Denis told me if I eat too many I will get fat J Our host parents had some guests over last night and we tried a beverage called “cola de mono” which is milk and tequila mixed together. It was surprisingly good. I am also looking forward to trying the ever famous Chilean drink pisco sour but poco a poco (bit by bit).

Overall we are adjusting to our surroundings, learning Chilean Spanish, walking everywhere, loving the nice weather, and soaking up the Chilean culture.

  • Sounds like great fun and an awesome experience! I’m gonna live vicariously through your blog! Give Andy a hug for me and soak up that Chilean sun, food, and culture!

  • Sounds like you guys are having a great time! Good to read your update!

  • Hi!!!! We miss you guys so much already! It sounds like the travels and first few days went well, which we’re so glad to hear. And thanks for the food updates– you know I love to hear all that 🙂 Things with us are going well, the New Years concert was a blast, we’re heading up to Leadville in a few weeks for the weekend to snowshoe, and then going to CA for a long weekend to see my sister and nephew.
    Can’t wait to read more about your travels!!

  • camai! (cham-ai) which is Aleut for greetings and good wishes. A native speaker came into our classroom and shared some awesome stuff with us…

    Liked talking to you the other night. It sounds like an awesome adventure! Living in the city must be really different. Trying new foods and drinks is very interesting! We tried a aleutian dessert which is berries, a little sugar and crisco, to make it creamy. In the villages, they use seal blubber. It was very tasty.

    Love you both and have fun!

  • I will be a smart ass on other posts, but for this time I say enjoy yourself and above all be safe.

  • love the update! thanks brooks! i was visualizing you and andy while reading this and what you were doing:) cant wait until you shock denis with your bball skillz and take him to schoooool!