Sunday, July 4, 2010

America to Santiago--Day One!

Well, my first day in Chile could not have gone by any faster. The flight FLEW by… got on the plane, filled out some paperwork, ate a delicious meal, was served a generous amount of wine, and then I “slept” for a couple of hours. No one sat next to me so I had two seats to sleep on, but curling up into the fetal position over two seats, even for my 5’4” self, was not the most comfortable. Side note: airplane food--is it just me or is it always good?! I have yet to experience an airplane meal that I don’t like. Maybe it’s because my expectations for plane food are so low that when it actually tastes decent, it seems to be that much better? Or maybe it’s because plane food is just that good…am I alone on this notion?

Before eating dinner, I asked the flight attendant what was in the food (surprise surprise), but he didn’t know…However, the inquiry about the cuisine apparently gave him the green light to pop a squat next to me and talk for the last 30 minutes of the flight. Franklin was in the Peace Corps for 6 years and spent time in Zaire, Colombia, and various other places in South America. Interesting man with an interesting life—he made me even more excited for Chile :)

Finding my shuttle from the airport to the “Hostel Internacional de Santiago” was a bit of a task…and my first real encounter with Chilean Spanish. Oy. Luckily hand gestures and smiles got me on a bus, where the completely foreign land of Santiago went flying by my eyes. There is about three times the amount of smog you see in San Fran, trash EVERYWHERE, and a lot of small houses piled on top of one another.

Within 30 minutes of getting to the hostile, I was off with a group of 11 people to go explore Chile, which eventually turned into a core group of 6 after people dwindled off. Today’s adventures included going to the “Museo chileno de arte precolombino,” walking around the Plaza de armas, grabbing some empenadas y cervezas (beer) at a little café in Santiago, bargaining with some local Chileans at the market for fruit, and visiting the Cementario general where we saw the grave of Salvador Allende (cool history, click on his name) and “los desaparecidos” (the disappeared) (also click on this link). And now I’m waiting to have some dinner at the hostile!

The English Open Doors Program orientation starts tomorrow morning at 9am, so I’m hoping to get a quick jog in before we start (don’t worry mom and dad, I rallied together a small group of people to take on the streets of Santiago with me).

Hope you enjoy the videos and pictures!

What I had to pack...

What everything fit into...

...and I'm off!

Plaza de armas

Some art of the Moche people chewing cocoa leaves

gente de madera (wood people)

Aztec god

my first beer in Chile! came with empenadas for under $2 USD...

view of the Andes from the city.

flower market outside of the cemetery.

another picture of the mountains....

at the cemetery

First sunset in Santiago...view from the hostel :)

At the market!


  1. Hi Steph,
    Hard to believe you are there already! Glad the food was good and that you had 2 seats to stretch out on! We are going to love being a part of your adventure. I love seeing the pictures to get an idea of the culture. We will look forward to hearing more from you of course. Like the running in group idea, Aunt's worry too:-) Take care and talk to you again soon.
    Love you, Karen & Dean

  2. I can't believe you were able to fit everything into those bags!! I'm glad we got you such a big bag! Have fun sis!!

  3. I'm glad you arrived safely! Sounds like you are already having a wonderful time! Sending lots of love your way from not so sunny San Diego!! xoxo!!!

  4. Airplane food?!? I don't know what you are talking about there...yuck! Glad you enjoyed it! Nice to hear you are there and see what you are up to so far. Hope your first day of training went good. xoxo

  5. Salvador Isabelino del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús Allende Gossens - that is the longest name I've ever seen. I have lots of questions but I'll save them for later. Any Incan ruins nearby?

  6. that is the only bag you could take? yikes!

    lol, yup that's all i got out of your first post! jk!!

  7. Well done on fitting everything into the bag! Definitely do the hike up San Cristobal Hill , wander into a bunch of the cafes and try A LOT of their pastries, and also blow your nose when you get back from your jog. I remember when we went I have never had so much black stuff up my nose from all the pollution!