Sunday, 19 July 2015

Just Chilean Over Here

This is a blog dedicated to my experience of Chile during the Greenwich 2015 trip.

After a long flight we touched down at Santiago de Chile on Saturday. We were a bit disheveled after the long flight but we were excited to finally be here. The trip we had talked about for a month was finally a thing.

On arrival the student reps from the university were there to greet us. They were very welcoming and sorted us and our luggage onto the coach. On the way there they gave us an insight into Chilean culture and general tips into life here like money management, which was helpful since we were a little clueless. Along the way we had beautiful and interesting countryside to look at. Between Santiago and Vina del Mar it was sparse brush land with hills populated by quaint settlements of all shapes.

When we reached Vina del Mar one by one we were dropped off at our host families. But before me and James, a homestay friend, were dropped off we came across a strange street performer. He must have been 7ft and he was dressed like a zombie with an axe. He gave us a I'll be watching you gesture to the people on the bus and shuffled off. So, yeah, pretty weird for the first day.

We were later dropped off in a quiet neighbourhood not far from the sea. Our host and her daughter were there to greet us. They were extremely friendly and asked us all about where we were from and what we knew about Chile. Even with our limited Spanish we had a good conversation, we learned about their work and home life. They really made us feel at home, which was much appreciated after such a long time in transit.

After lunch the daughter showed us around her hometown. There were plenty of interesting sights: a giant clock on a hillside embellished with a Vina del Mar sign, the beautiful sandy beach, the architecture of the seafront buildings and we even came across a wild sea lion.

We came back to the house briefly and then we wandered around (in the wrong direction) looking for a McDonalds our other friends were meeting at. Having failed at that we checked out a local pizza place. Ordering a pizza with no idea of what the toppings were called was an interesting experience. I think at one point we asked what an egg was. In the end we got our pizza sorted though and it was pretty good, it ended up being about £7 for a medium pizza and drinks.

We came back in the dark as it got dark early and found our way back to our homestay. Our homestay greeted us and asked us if we wanted tea or coffee but we politely refused the offer. We were both too tired after the flight and day of wandering.

I finally got to sleep at about 9 after an amazing first day in Chile. I hope everyday here is as amazing.

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