Posts tagged ‘beach’

October 31, 2011

Why Helloween!

North American culture is obsessed with Halloween and they have infected South American with the holiday as well. It is not nearly as big a deal as it is in the States, but kids do dress up in costumes for candy. The funny thing is though, that Chile has two national paid holidays for it. Now to me that’s taking a holiday seriously.

On Friday my host mom and I headed early to Santiago to do some touristy things. I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t taken the time to really get to know Santiago. But honestly who can blame me. Valpo has so much character. Anyway I walked around with my expert guide through the center of the city. She pointed out the buildings that her parents worked in, the two buildings adjacent to La Moneda (like our White House), and how she used to run back and forth through La Mondeda playing as a child. This particular day that we were there, a special event was going on and we could go in. In fact, the whole road and plaza was blocked to get to it. But did that stop us from going in? Of course not! I don’t know what it is about my host mom, but somehow signs, rules, laws, military personnel cannot stand in the way of that determined woman. So instead of being this far from La Moneda…


…we ended up having a nice conversation with this kind sir in the threshold.

Popped our heads into the gigantic cathedral in the center before heading to my host mom’s tapestry class. I love talking to old people. They are just hilarious because they don’t have to sensor anything they say. If they don’t like something, they let their opinion be know. No beating around the bush. But seriously, they were very welcoming and loved to give the cute little gringa the opportunity to practice her Spanish.

The rest of the holiday weekend + some I spent in Viña. Gonzalo’s family and two of his friends came with us and we camped out at the beach during the day and played cards til early in the morning. No spookness to my Halloween, and that is just perfectly fine with me. I’ll trade the sound of terrified screams and candy for the sounds of waves on a sunny beach with great company any day.

September 11, 2011

Sunshine and Almost Summertime

I think for once it was warmer here than back home in Indiana this weekend. It’s about time! I’ve been freezing this past month. In celebration of the heat, I decided to spend as much time as possible outside enjoying it. On Thursday and Friday I accompanied my mom to the Castillo de Wulf. There is an exhibition of tapestries there and she is taking classes. Kudos to the the municipality; the exhibition and the classes this month are all free and open to the public. I forgot my camera both times, but the next time we go I’ll be sure to snap a few photos. The view is just incredible from the top. Rocks, ocean, waves, pelicans. Just at the base of the stairway up to the lookout the floor is made of glass. Stepping over (or around, for the faint of heart) the threshold reveals the waves crashing into the rocks and the water sinking deep into the caverns below. Leaving Wulf makes me feel like I’m disembarking from a novel like Moby Dick. Must have really been something to live there long ago.

Turning to the weekend, we had the company of some family friends. We had a great time chatting, eating, drinking wine, and just relaxing. In the afternoon I met some friends to go to the dunes. It’s been something that I’ve tried to get to for a while, but the weather and timing just didn’t cooperate until this weekend. I’m glad I waited though.

The dunes were amazing! And though I’m still trying to get all of the sand out of my hair, I’ll definitely be returning. Kids were flying kites, teenagers were sandboarding, people were out sailing, and I was just taking it all in. I felt like my lungs were being purged of all of the micro fumes. From where I sat I could look out across the Pacific and see both Viña and Valpo through the haze of the ocean. Strange to be looking out at that view, when it is the opposite that my eyes have grown so accustomed too.

That brings me to today, the warmest of all the days. I made my second trip to the fair in Carreno. This fair is really different than your typical market. Honestly some (if not the majority of the people I know) would not like this kinda fair, but it is wonderful to experience at least once. I’ll try to create the ambiance. Imagine a mile long strip of sand next to a road at the top of a hill. Now put about 300 picnic blankets down in rows and fill them with random treasures/junk. Stick vendors around each of them, add shouts of prices, and a couple hundred people shuffling through. There you have it. Sipping on a pineapple ice drink of questionable cleanliness that I bought, I couldn’t be happier.

After lunch I went exploring in the Sporting Club that I walk around everyday. And by exploring, I mean I ran. Not from someone, running to exercise. I should have given you a head’s up Marina, hope you were sitting down… Anyway, the Sporting Club that is right next to my apartment has a horse track and a big grassy area for soccer. I took a couple laps around the track while spying the barns. Surprise surprise. What I’ve been walking next to all this time on my way to class has been the back side of the barns. That explains the occasional whiff of alfalfa and horse that I catch in the breeze. Maybe I’ll have to start making this running thing a habit…