First weekend in Chile
18 May, 2015
Chilé! What a rush! I had a long flightpath here during which I had enough time in Houston, TX to enjoy a fine Texan beef-burger. When I landed in Santiago it was after ~18 hours of travel time and time to start practicing my Spanish! My friend Sam, who has been far beyond generous, picked me up from the airport and let me stay at his place until I sorted out accommodation in the city. That day I went for a walk to keep myself awake and ended up doing a tour of the downtown section of Providencia, the section of Santiago I'll be working and living in. It's an incredibly busy city where cars honk their horns more than they focus on the lines. The people were generally friendly but very few know any English at all. For the evening we hung-out with some of Sam's friends, had some beers and an asado, then watched some surfing videos.
The next day, Sam had to work for a bit so I went for another explore and bought myself a Bip! card (transit) and practiced my Spanglish on more unfortunate locals. That evening we went out with Barbara, Sam's good friend, and a bunch of her law-student friends. It's a crazy place, everyone is super unconcerned with the mornings and very happy, generally, to sit at a pub and eat/talk/drink until 3am. They taught me plenty of Chilesmos (Chilean-specific phrases and words) though, so I was happy to stay up and learn!
Sam and I got up the next day to drive to the coast and surf. We surfed just outside Concón and it was an experience. I've never been rocked like that and it put my skill-level in perspective. The waves were massive and the break was super consistent and long. I've never seen anything like it on the west coast of North America. After I got tossed a few times and froze my toes off, we grabbed some empalada's (pastries filled with what was, in this case, shrimp). After eating with a view of the ocean, we drove down the coast and I was toured through Viña del Mar and then Valparaiso. They blew my mind. "It's a photographers dream" - Sam. We had lunch, got hassled by restaurant owners and farmers alike, grabbed a coffee overlooking the ports, and walked down the graffiti and art covered streets. Every house was a different color. I'm pretty sure nobody that day knew a word of English.