Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Welcome to Santiago

Not being an avid reader of blogs (actually, I really never read them) it feels funny to be starting one myself. It just seems to be a great way to be able to keep everyone up to date on my adventures here in Chile, although I must admit to having twinges of anxiety about posting my thoughts online. Some might argue it's no different from sharing everything on facebook but somehow the illusion of a privacy policy reassures me. Who knew?
For my inaugural blog I thought I would keep it simple. Just a quick “welcome to my blog” and some small, funny details about the trip here. So, here it goes!
The flight down was relatively uneventful, just a few small hiccups like being delayed an hour and a half after boarding in Toronto while the ground crew ‘repacked’ a crate of medical supplies and spilling my entire plastic cup of red wine on my gray pants about 2 hours into the 11 hour flight. I did manage to watch half of the latest Twilight installment on the flight to Toronto, but sadly the flight to Santiago didn’t have the same movie selection and so I’ve been left hanging. Will Bella become a vampire? Or will she choose to remain human and ‘imprint’ on Jake? Or perhaps she’ll figure out that she’s way too young to be getting married to anyone and go to college. Oh, the suspense.
I’m happily installed in my apartment right on Avenida Providencia, a busy street that runs along the riverfront from central Santiago all the way to Las Condes. It looks just like the pictures, just a little smaller and less shiny and my landlord is a darling. As I write this he is waiting in his office for the vtf (internet and cable service provider) rep to set up my internet connection. Unfortunately, I can’t understand most of what he says to me. 
I have had no trouble negotiating in Spanish here; from recharging my borrowed cell phone, to putting credit on my metro pass, to searching out plug converters (which apparently are required here, something I should have noted before leaving Canada), but for some reason I have serious troubles with Claudio’s dialect. I’m not sure if it is the speed at which he talks or if he is using all kinds of colloquialisms that I’m just not familiar with. Whatever the case, we manage to communicate the basics and I’m pretty sure he’s setting up my internet right now (if you’re reading this, then all was successful!).
Santiago is a bustling, modern city and unlike Bolivia, where I stood out as a foreigner, I feel I can really blend in here. In fact, today someone on the street asked me for directions and a lady in the metro asked me about the fares. Of course, as soon as I opened my mouth they both knew I wasn’t from Santiago but that’s beside the point. It’s good knowing I can ‘pass’.

As for my research, I’m still feeling the euphoria of the newness of everything and haven’t had the chance to really get into anything serious yet. All in good time, I say. I’m about to attempt cooking a real meal (spaghetti and meat sauce) with the limited provisions I managed to eke out at the grocery store. I didn’t realize how many spices and condiments I generally use until faced with the prospect of cooking without any of them. I’m interested in how the tomato sauce in a bag is going to taste without any real doctoring. Look forward to my chronicling of the 5 ingredient dinner next time!
¡Hablemos pronto, amigos!
P.S. The pasta dinner looks great (tastes ok too).

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