Monday, 27 July 2015

Juan Does Not Simply Walk Into Lampo

The weekend got off to a bad start.

Edit: Removed hilarious anecdote

After the fiasco, me, homestay mum and James, another homestay student, set off to the bus terminal by collectivo. (A collectivo is basically a cheap shared taxi that travels a route picking up as many people as it can.) So, we arrived later at the bus terminal. It was kind of a foreign experience coming from England, we basically booked tickets for a long coach ride to Santiago and got on a ragged but fairly comfortable coach. During the trip we saw familiar sights we'd seen coming in from Santiago airport: industry, mountains, brush land, plains, vineyards, crops, and the like.

When we arrived we used all manner of transport to get to our destination. Santiago itself though was not what we expected, it was unlike Valpo and Viña and was built up and rough around the edges with the prospect of the unknown permeating the air. It did have a few buildings that looked rather ostentatious and impressive though. This however is my limited experience of the city which I saw in one afternoon. Concerning the trains they were rather similar to London's in rush hour: uncomfortably packed.

The most notable thing that happened in Viña is that we were approached by a friendly American girl. She overheard us talking and asked us where we were from. After we got chatting we learned she was in Chile teaching English and she talked a bit about her experience so far. She told us it's a good thing we don't look like tourists otherwise we'd get robbed, we laughed and then we realised she wasn't joking, apparently her phone had been stolen in Valpo. After the busy chat we exchanged details and said goodbye. And then we headed off to a collectivo to connect to a bus.

After a long while we arrived in Lampo. It was pretty rural and rather rustic but it had its own charm. We visited the super mercado for water and then set off to a commune.

The commune was really interesting. There were plenty of animals wandering around, so many horses, dogs and cats and most of them were friendly. We walked around the area and looked at all the plants that were being grown as well. It was a really a beautiful and authentic community.

We joined a family for lunch and spoke with them, they told us everything was organic and fresh. For lunch we had a chicken stew and after tea with honey from their bee hives and 'sopaipilla' which is a fried bread which I was rather fond of as it reminded me of 'bakes' from Dominica, it may even be made the same way.

After lunch we set off to a birthday party for our homestay mum's partner's cousins birthday. It was a great party, with a great atmosphere. A few people there spoke English but even if they didn't they were super friendly to us gringos. We sat down to a big barbecue dinner with them, laughed with them and drank with them. I was sat next to one Chilean guy who insisted on topping up my drink, by the end of it I'd had two 'Earthquakes', two glasses of Chilean wine and several shots of Pisco Sour, so yeah I was rather worse for wear after that.

Later in the party each person gave their gifts, the people at the party sang a song when opening gifts, which as far as I can gather was something like "What's in the bag?" Repeated. It was a lot of fun and there was cake after with a round of Happy Birthday in Spanish, but I think we were both knackered after a long trip so at 3am we were crashing.

We were then both driven back to her partners house where me and James slept in the spare room. In the morning I headed out to the supermarket with our homestay mum and later we spoke more with them. Turns out her partner is a singer and loves performing. He was really kind to both of us during our stay. We all sat down to breakfast together and talked for a long time. After breakfast her partner got the car ready and she told us she'd miss us when we leave to go back to England, which was awesome of her. When we left her partners house we thanked him for his kindness.

We then made a brief stop in the truck to pick up her kids and headed back to Viña. We stopped to have a break along the way and grabbed empanadas and coke, which were great. Along the way were some beautiful sights, the Andes in the distance, Chilean riders with the traditional hats, beautiful properties hidden away along roadsides. Driving back through the interior of Chile was a refreshing experience,

We finally saw the familiar sight of the Jumbo on 1 Norte into Viña and were soon back at the casa. And that was the end of our rather eventful weekend adventure.

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