Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Chilean Adventure - Day 1


It is hard to believe that I am in a different country (p.s. Noah, it is really hard to type on your computer because all of the keys are messed up and I cannot find the apostrophe. I guess I will not use any contractions).

Now let us see if I can recap what has happened so far.

Our flight left Minneapolis at around 5:30 on Thursday evening. Right as we were taxiing to the terminal, my glasses broke and the screw fell on the floor. Zach used his super awesome powers to find it and pick it up off the floor of the airplane! Then we had the problem of trying to get the screw back in the glasses. We ended up going to a sunglasses store at the Atlanta airport and asking them for help. After FINALLY fixing it...I ended up putting tape on the glasses anyways.

(Elizabeth just helped me to fix my keyboard situation. Contractions away!)

After finding our seats on the flight, we spent the next 9 or so hours in the air! My hands and feet seemed to swell way up and I had a hard time moving around when I was wedged in the middle of the plane. It was an interesting experience to say the least. They played 3 movies on our flight, but I was asleep for all of them. They also fed us 2 meals - some kind of chicken concoction for supper, and a little egg mcmuffin type thing in the morning soon before we landed.

 Noah was going to meet us outside shortly after 9:30, which gave us enough time to pay the reciprocity fee, go through immigration, and go through customs. I thought they were going to steal my peanut butter and brown sugar (gifts for Noah), but they just opened my bag and checked to see what it was. They did take Zach's apple.

Do we look like we just spent the last 14 hours flying? Safely in Chile!
Noah then found us and taxied us to his place, where we hung out for a little bit before venturing out for some food. At this point, neither Zach nor I had Chilean pesos (CH$), as Noah told us to wait because the exchange rate would be better down here. Then we forgot it was Good Friday and there was barely anything open. It was like a Sunday in NW Iowa. So we figured we would get by on the goodness of others until we were able to exchange our money.

Breakfast/brunch was at Melba Cafe, just down the road from Noah's apartment.

The Classic - Eggs Benedict with spinach and salmon. Muy delicioso!
Then we wandered around Santiago a little bit. Noah took us to the Costanera Center, which is the tallest building in South America (I think that's what he said, anyway). It was a pretty impressive mall. Too bad everything was closed. That's what get for traveling over Easter.  We decided to head on over to the bus station and see if we could catch an earlier bus over to Valparaiso for the weekend. It was my first time on a  subway! When we got to the station, everything was full, so we had to wait until our scheduled departure time. It wasn't a big deal - we just lounged in the station for an hour or so.

The bus trip took about a half hour shorter than we expected, so that was nice. Just the right amount of time for a nap. :)

Once we got to Valparaiso, Noah flagged us a taxi that would bring us to our hostel. The five of us squeeeeeezed in a tiny taxi and it swerved through the streets until we got to our hostel around 7 pm or so. Valparaiso is a very hilly city.

Noah figuring out where we needed to go

Our first view of the city - MUCH MORE!
One thing to note about the city is that there is SO MUCH GRAFFITI. Lots of it is actual graffiti, but there is also a good chunk of it that is art. Very beautiful. The first place we went was Mi Casa, and only after ordering something to drink did we find out that they didn't serve food until 8 pm. We were all so hungry that we didn't want to wait, so we went to another place for food.

Oh yeah. I decided to take pictures of each of my meals. I hope you don't mind. If you do, TOO BAD.

Salmon con arroz. Noah ordered us each a pisco sour - it's apparently the unofficial national drink.
After dinner, we took a bus to another part of Valparaiso to view "Via Crucis", the stations of the cross. We got there a little late and couldn't REALLY see a whole lot, but it was still very cool to experience and be a part of.

We then headed back to our hostel (took one of Valpo's handful of lifts on the way) to ask one of the girls at the front desk of good places to listen to music. She gave us a list of 4 or so in the neighborhood, so we headed out to check it out. We finally decided on El Gato en la Ventana, as it was one of the only ones that all 5 of us could fit in comfortably and sit down.

The boys reminiscing.
Turned out we got there just in time, as not long after we sat down, they started charging a cover to enter. Noah ordered us another must-have drink, a terremundo. I don't know exactly what was in it, but it had ice cream on top. Looked like a pink lemonade float. The live music was not that awesome, but it was still live music. Culture, ya'll.

We walked back to the hostel - this is when I decided that hills are NOT COOL. I plopped into bed after a super long day, and couldn't wait for what tomorrow would bring.

Hasta luego!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

One Week.

In one week I will be embarking on the trip of a lifetime.

In uno week-o I will be at work, hardly containing my excitement for the evening's events.

In una semana I will be getting on an airplane with the man I love (plus a couple friends).

And going to Chile.

(That's in South America)

That's right. I, who have never been out of the United States before - I, who have flown in an airplane 3 times - I, whose idea of a spring break is a choir tour in the Midwest - am leaving behind the frigid temperatures of Minnesota (single digits yesterday) to embrace the 80's of Santiago, Chile.

This'll be my first "spring break" trip (choir tours have taken up my previous chances), and my first trip with The Boy. We're traveling to Chile with another couple (Stuart and Elizabeth) to visit a friend of the boys, Noah. Noah is currently teaching in Santiago for (correct me if I'm wrong) a year. We've got our trip all planned out (with room for spontaneity, of course!), going to museums, visiting wineries, going horseback riding, hiking, eating delicious food (I hope), and just generally soaking up the culture.

Our flight leaves from Minneapolis next Thursday evening, and lands in Atlanta for about an hour and half before the big leg of the trip to Santiago (total flight time ~14 hours). Then begins a (hopefully) amazing week.

I'm super excited and a little nervous.

I've never traveled internationally before - especially not on a flight this long. It's an overnight flight, so hopefully I'll be able to sleep.

I'll try to post more either when we're there, or when we get back. Be prepared for pictures. :)

What I'd like to know from you is this:

Where have you traveled?

Any tips for me?

Where would you like to travel?

And, we can't forget your funny pictures of the post!

Z housesat for his aunt and uncle. This is their dog, Ginger. She eats plants.
When men get lost and refuse to ask for directions.
"Was that due today?"