I hope that no matter what the future brings, we remain in awe at what we’ve been able to make machines do for us. And at how incredibly short those machines can make our days when they take us East.
A little rain surprised everyone today.
We spent our last day in Santiago busy with experiences both traditional and not. We started off with snacks at a German bakery down the street from our apartment building, which Mackenzie passed many days but had not been into. There is a large German influence in Chile, especially in the South where there are towns in which only German is spoken.
After that we hit a nearby mall so the girls could get overdue pedicures. I forgot to take pics, but suffice it to say, the experience was a bit unconventional. The salon was set up to provide pedicures, but with our feet propped on the workers knees, and each of us sitting in different corners of the room it wasn’t exactly the relaxing, girl bonding experience we’d anticipated. The results were acceptable, though.
From there we speed-walked back to Mackenzie’s house to meet up with her home-stay family who had invited us out to lunch at a “traditional Chilean restaurant.” It turned out to be a pri-fixe, 4 course meal with wine.
We were also joined by the sister of Mackenzie’s “dad,” Rodrigo, and her British husband, who currently live in Cyprus but spend several months on the coast in Chile, in Viña Del Mar. We had high hopes for Keith as he speaks only English, but he turned out to be pretty non-conversational. I guess that’s how their marriage works.
Thoroughly stuffed, Isabel had one more place for us to visit, so Carmen Gloria dropped us off at an artisanal market, Centro Artisanal Los Dominicos.
Instead of dogs, there were cats;
And lovely walkways shaded with rustic roofs and greenery, connecting many little studios and shops.
We saw all kinds of traditional crafts and art, including the ceramic figures in the first picture, depicting people in various lines of work, both conventional and contemporary. The artist did not appreciate my photographing, but oh well. I had to do it and I’m glad I did, all week long. Mom’s iPhone photos wherever we go has become a family tradition!
We covered some serious territory today. It began with a hike to the top of the tallest hill in Parque Metropolitano de Santiago. At the summit of Mount San Cristobal is a giant statue of the Virgin Mary. We had intended to take the funicular rail car to the top, but it was closed for maintenance. So up we hiked the couple kilometer trail.
There were some great views to the west along the way.
The top greeted us with dogs, views, empanadas, Mary, and the real miracle, Delaney. She was our reluctant hiker, but her music and the promise of snacks at the top helped to keep her motivated.
The drink here is a classic Chilean beverage, Mote Con Huesillos. It has something for everybody; in other words, few people in our party liked it in its entirety, but everyone liked some part of it: the peach juice, the canned peach halves, and/or the wheat grains at the bottom.
Before we left the empanada stand, James escorted an older woman down the steps, at her insistence.
We took a gondola down the length of “the green lung,” which is what the Parque landmass is also called. Because of it’s shape? The oxygen it provides? I don’t know, and Isabel couldn’t provide accurate data.
The Parque behind us, we headed to a huge farmers’ market, by way of a sculpture park along the river, and several Metro stops.
We resisted buying the amazing looking strawberries, avocados, etc., but did indulge in snow-cone-like drings and fresh pressed fruit juice.
From there we made our way to The University of Chile’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which was connected to the Museum of Fine Art. Because, why not? No pics allowed inside.
After a short rest back at the apartment, we headed out to Barrio Italia for dinner. I failed to get dinner pics of ravioli with pesto, vermicelli bolognese, and ensalada caprese, but James took this one of our drinks.
All that, and Delaney still had energy to exercise after dinner. This family’s got stamina, I tell you!
One more day to get the rest of it in, and we head home tomorrow night. I think we’ll be able to say we did our best to see everything Santiago has to offer.
After a day of high and low, we managed to finagle an American-style Thanksgiving dinner. The high: we visited the top of the tallest skyscraper in all of Latin America (central and south, combined), Sky Costanera. You can see it in the picture above, protruding above the hills and in front of Mackenzie’s face. Here are some views from the 61st floor, and above it, an open sky, windowed penthouse floor.
Here’s how the building compares to some other well-known skyscrapers:
The low was a trip to the San Joaquin campus of Pontificia Catolica, where Mackenzie/Isabel has been attending classes all semester. It was low because the campus is in the valley Santiago resides in (as opposed to 300 meters above ground), and because Mack had her final test of the semester and due to a malfunctioning Metro train, was a little stressed and 30 minutes late.
However, a taxi ride and different Metro line later, we arrived on campus and she got her test done, and then took us on a tour around campus.
Jesus welcomes all onto the campus.
Lots of shade under treed walkways.
More ice cream.
Picking up the final Sociology paper. Pass.
A 45 minute Metro ride later and we hit the supermarket to pick up Turkey Day trimmings. Here’s what we got:
Some creative improv and a microwave later, and voila! Thanksgiving dinner.
Although it didn’t feel much like Thanksgiving, it was one to remember. We hope yours was was too!
Using her given name to make reservations and tend to other exchanges has proven difficult, so Mackenzie has taken a new one for doing business in Chile. It makes sense.
Today Isabel took us to Valparaiso, or Valpo, a city on the coast due west of Santiago. We got there via bus and spent the day tromping up and down hills and steps, exploring the vividly decorated neighborhoods.
Along the way, we learned things, not necessarily imparted by our guide, but she did get us where we needed to be. Here are some of the things we learned:
1) How certain candies are made.
2) Why Chile is not known for its beer. It’s gross.
3) That a creaky death-trap of a ride can generate just as much amusement as a pricey, well-maintained one at a theme park, and maybe more.