19 4 / 2012
CIEE trip to the south of Chile tonight until Monday morning. Should be interesting. I’m pretty excited!!
17 4 / 2012
6.5 and pretty scary. But! I am fine and there are no tsunamis and everything is okay!
08 4 / 2012
Friday was kind of a mishmash of things wrapped up into one trip. I woke up feeling a little sick (the weather went from summer to fall here and my body decided that it was going to react) but I got up and dressed for a day in Rabuco, a rural town an hour and a half away from Vina del Mar.
Our first stop was a avocado and lemon packing company.
I love avocados. I have never seen so many avocados. It was beautiful.
Look at all of those. They are full of avocados. Strangely enough, some of their shipments come from California. So, that was interesting. The company purposely hires women for the sorting jobs and men for the moving and lifting jobs.
After that, my group went to a family’s property/business. They were super nice to open their home to us and feed us all (there are fifty of us in the program, although not everyone came with).
The father owns a cut flower business and grows flowers from seedlings to sell for special occasions. It was an interesting setup.
They had two horses and goats!
So cute. The horses were a breed specific to Chile, and are smaller with more muscular chests. I just looked them up and they are specifically called the Chilean Horse and are the oldest registered native American breed, the oldest registered breed of Iberian origin, the oldest registered horse breed in South America and the oldest registered stock horse breed in the Western Hemisphere (thank you, Wikipedia!). They are used to herd cattle and because of their muscular chests are able to pin them more easily without getting hurt. So that was neat to see.
After getting a tour of the flower set-up, we hung out on their beautiful lawn/porch/outdoor kitchen eating sopaipillas which are delicious circular dough things. I even put a little of the sort of spicy sauce on it (tomato, onion, and something else that made it spicy.). It was good!
The other half of our group arrived and THEN THEY FED US. It was glorious. I think I’ve mentioned how empanadas are the perfect food. They made two types - queso (cheese) and pino (meat, onions, hardboiled egg, and an olive). They had rice with avocado and tomato, and more avocado, more sopaipillas. And then chicken that was seasoned with rosemary and probably lemon and was so delicious. And there was a quiche and fresh-squeezed juice and fresh fruit. I am so spoiled.
Shortly after feeding us mass quantities of food, it was time to learn how to dance the national dance of Chile, la cueca (pronounced quay-ka) and have a competition to see who could perform it best.
Now, if you know me, you know I am hopeless at dancing. There is something wrong with the part of my brain that tells my body how to move in time with music. It only works when I’m moving to play an instrument. So I was pretty prepared for it to be a hilarious disaster, and so was Joel, my partner. But surprisingly I could do it? And so could Joel? And somehow we went through two elimination rounds (it sounds way more intense then it was) and got third place! I got a little ribbon.
We finished the day off with traditional Chilean games, which are remarkably similar to field day in middle school. Think sack races, tug-o-war, egg on a spoon races, and three legged race.
Overall, it was a really great day! I don’t have any pictures of the last part, but once some of my friends post their pictures, I might have some of the dance contest!
28 3 / 2012
Two Sundays ago, I went rock climbing! And on real rocks!
We took a bus an hour a half away to Las Chilcas, an area known for its climbing routes. The rock there is conglomerate which translated out to a lot of pockets that made climbing a little easier.
It is also gorgeous. The weather was kind of overcast and cool, which made it way less likely that I was going to burn. At about 1:00 the sun came out and it was perfect.
There was also a puppy that hung out with us and it was the cutest thing. I know I say that about all dogs but it’s always true. Here she is cuddling with my friend, Joel. She was so cute.
I was with the beginner’s group despite my 5th grade, artificial rock wall experience. This was clearly just going to be a review for me. I climbed three of the easier routes to find out that rock climbing requires a lot of strange muscles. Since you are literally clinging to a wall with your fingers and toes, your forearms get really sore and so do your toes. Or at least mine did. I’m really glad I had the opportunity buuut I’m pretty sure rock climbing is not my thing.
After I ate some lunch, I went exploring with a few of the folks in my group. I enjoyed that way more than climbing. Las Chilcas was an absolutely beautiful area and clambering around and on top of the giant rocks was quite the experience.
After exploring, some of the organizers had set up equipment to rappel down one of the taller walls. I tried it, it was terrifying. Never again. You have a metal loop shaped like an 8 attached to your harness so you can control your descent. It was terrifying.
See those rocks in the upper right with some white paint/marks on it? That was where I was rockclimbing!
Regardless, it was a good experience and now I know rock-climbing is not a sport for me. Exploring on the other hand is much better. I also broke the screen on my camera (go, me!) but it still takes pictures. So I guess it will be like a Polaroid camera but minus the viewfinder. Exciting!
Also: I’m uploading my photos to my facebook for now. Flickr wants to charge me money and I don’t feel like it!