Chilean Experience

28 Dec

On Christmas day there was nothing to do. Though it’s not a big deal down here, everything was still closed, save for a Chinese restaurant or two. So around 3 p.m. we left the apartment and got a huge lunch at a Chinese restaurant a few blocks down. The streets were eerily empty, and when I yelled an echo could be heard all along the avenue of high rises. 

The rest of the day was spent just sitting on the couch and waiting for the Celtics/Lakers game to start at 7 p.m. A few people came over to watch via the Sling Box in the computers. Sling Box is a program that you can buy and install in your computer. I don’t know the technical terms, but it connects to your cable box in the United States and you can watch the same shows going into your cable box from anywhere in the world as long as the box is still on. Of course with my luck, the Celtics lost their first game in a month as I watched my first game of the season.
The next day Adam and Zach had to work in the morning but were back just around the time I was waking up, so it wasn’t too big of a problem. I only changed $40 at the airport and was running out, but every time I tried to find a money exchange we somehow got side tracked. One of the things that the guys do here is just sit around and relax. They have a very nice apartment with a TV, Internet, and comfortable furniture, all in the center of the city. Sleeping on the couch and watching so much TV, I think I’m averaging 14-15 hours a day on the couch. I have literally become “the guy on the couch” from “Half Baked.”
Normally when I go on trips I try to get as much done as I possibly can, yet on this trip, we’ve been sitting in the apartment late into the afternoon. There just isn’t that much to do in Santiago, I’m sad to say. With a population a little under 6 million, or roughly 1/3 of the population of Chile, there isn’t much in the sense of tourism here. The main attractions are the natural beauties like Patagonia or the Atacames Desert, which are way too far away from Santiago to visit on my trip. I am glad to be here though, visiting my friends and seeing a new place. It could definitely be a nice city to live in, but not great for touring.
So late in the afternoon on Friday we finally left the apartment to walk around a bit. It was hot but dry, and because there’s no humidity, unlike in Boston when you go into a shadow it’s actually cooler. First we visited a couple of markets where everyone was soliciting us to eat at their restaurant, yet they were polite about it and let us be as we walked by. Next we continued on to a hill nearby with the statue of the Virgin. It’s called the Funicular S.A. and costs about 1,400 pesos or $2 roughly to take the elevator to the top of the hill. 
The top will give you a nice view of the city which expands far beyond the horizon, yet with so much smog and haze, it’s hard to see the mountains in the distance. On the top we got some Rico Mote con Huesillos, a traditional drink with peaches and grains that is delicious. 
After getting down we stopped at a bar for a beer on the side of the road, trying to hide under the umbrella to avoid the sun, and later went home for a nap. Picking up a bottle of pisco, which is kind of like whiskey, we started off the night and didn’t actually leave until 12:30 a.m., a standard practice, going to a bar until about 4 a.m. 
Before heading home I was told I had to try the “completo” hot dog, which was a hot dog covered in avocado, tomatoes, ketchup, aji sauce, and mayo. It was OK, not great, but it got the job done. Heading up we crashed and got ready for another day of taking it easy.
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