Santiago, Chile | 11:34PM (EST)
It’s been a wild couple of days. I wanted to jot down a couple of thoughts from the day before I hit the hay. Just an FYI for readers, since I don’t have access to WiFi all the time, you might see blogs that are done a day or two beforehand because that is when I had the opportunity to post.
Last night, my flight was delayed for three hours due to thunderstorms and heavy rain in Dallas. I binged House of Cards most of the evening to get my mind off of the stresses of such a delay. But, alas, I boarded my first international flight late that night. For the 9 hour flight, I drank a Sam Adams and put on Rogue One (both free, wow!) to fall asleep. It worked, and when I woke up we were close
Chile has one of the most picturesque mountain ranges in the world: The Andes. Sailing through them in the early morning sky felt like a dream. Oftentimes it felt like we were on a different planet. But we aren’t. This is the same planet. The same land I walk on is the same land that millions of chilenos walk each and every day.
I was reminded of that even more in the cab ride from the airport to the city. The driver was kind and gentle, and explained the political and geographical makeup of the city. There are 34 comunes (districts) here. Each has its own traits, population, and por supuesto, quirks. The smog in Santiago is quite unbelievable. Since Santiago is locked in between two mountain ranges, the smog has no where to go and no wind to pull it out of the atmosphere. They say that the only time you can see the mountains clearly is when it rains and all the pollution falls onto the ground.
After exploring my new quarters, I adventured out to the Costañera Center, the largest tower in South America. There is a mall, plus dozens of otras tiendas. My friend Danielle and her roommates met me there, and it was so refreshing to see a familiar face. My Spanish is decent, but Chilean Spanish is very difficult to keep up with. It’s slurred, drops a lot of filler words, and is very very muy rapido. I’ll get used to it, and am learning more every minute I am here.
Grocery store shopping was fine. Many of the products I use in los Estados Unidos can be found in supermercados. There’s one near my apartment that has great choices in meats and produce (and otras cosas – como Gatorade). But one weird thing about grocery stores here is that a customer has to weigh their own produce before approaching the cashier. I tried getting bananas, but since I didn’t know the weight, I put them back.
There are great people here making sure my experience is safe and meaningful. I deeply appreciate their hospitality and willingness to help. People look out for others, and I hope to have the opportunity to pass that forward someday in my own life.
Tomorrow, I am heading to downtown to see some of the historic downtown districts in Santiago. I will take plenty of pictures and upload them to the blog when I have internet (which is mostly in coffee shops for me)
Enough for now. Headed to bed.