In Chile: Two Cities, Two Days, Many Adjustments
When last we left you, Joel & I were nearly in Santiago, and we were all desperately short of Internet at our current location. We’re still desperately using someone else’s wifi when it’s available (the apartment, or departmento, we’re staying in was supposed to have it but doesn’t), leading to some comical visions of us all on our chosen device crowded around a window pointing towards where we think the signal is coming from. But back to the story of our arrival.
We arrived in Santiago 1/2 hour early, cleared immigration & customs with no problem, and began looking for Cecile, who was supposed to have met us coming out. It was a short wait, and as I suspected related mostly to our early arrival and her desperate attempts to get to the airport in time. Grabbed a taxi back to the departmento in Santiago which she had stayed at before, and began the acclimatization process. It’s still going on, and I was just shocked when I looked at the date and realized this is only our third day in Chile.
Though Joel & I were completely exhausted, we knew the key to getting back on track was staying up as long as possible. Cecile had already had some time in Santiago, so she knew some sites to see. Very near where we were staying is a large hill/park/former fort, so we headed there on a little walk.
Exhaustion quickly set in (for Joel, of course), so we headed back to our rooms. A little later, we headed out as it was more or less our dinner time (5:30/6:00) although still several hours early for Chileans. I don’t think we’ll ever be on that schedule. The area we were staying in is an older, historic district with some cool older buildings mixed in among the newer. There are lots (and lots) of little cafes and restaurants, so we walked a little, picked one, went in and had our first meal in Chile (Joel & I, obviously Cecile was an old pro by now). It was quite delicious, quiche for Joel and I and a very yummy fish for Cecile. After that it was back to our rooms for the night.
A Birthday Without Grandma?
My mom has been with Joel on every one of his birthdays, including his actual day of birth twelve years ago yesterday. When we were originally planning our departure dates we were going to stay in Peoria and leave the next day. But as more information came in and Cecile was unable to rent a permanent place for us ahead of time, we decided we all needed to head down earlier. So yesterday was Joel’s first birthday without grandma there, although we did get to Skype in the evening, which was surprising as we had been unable to even get our “shared” internet to work until that very evening. But I get ahead of the story.
Santiago a Viña
We slept in on Friday; aside from it being noisy (Santiago is a big city after all, and we were in a place with lots of bars in addition to the restaurant) Joel & I were exhausted and we were in no real hurry. We had arrangements for a taxi to pick us up at 11:00 to take us to the bus station to catch a bus to Viña del Mar, our permanent home for the four (Joel & I) or five (Cecile) months. (The bus system in Chile is fabulous; nice buses, reasonable rates, they go everywhere and on overnight trips you might even get a bus where your seat can recline almost the whole way.) Cecile made Joel as nice a birthday breakfast as possible with limited supplies on hand, and before leaving we went for a little walk.
And then it was on the bus to Viña. Arrive mid-afternoon, got a taxi to our departmento here for the next several days, and began settling in.
Joel’s Cumpleaños en Viña
While we didn’t have much besides a trip to Chile to give Joel for his birthday, Cecile went out to find him a birthday cake (Joel & I again being exhausted as we continue to adapt). She came back with a fabulous Tres Leche (three milk) cake, but we had to save it for after dinner. On a previous walk we had seen a sushi place right around the corner, and Joel chose that for his birthday dinner. We were hoping for Internet there, but it was spotty at best, though enough to do a quick check of e-mail, which Cecile really needed to check on our appointments to view possible departmentos for the rest of our stay here.
Joel told us repeatedly that he had a really nice birthday, and I hope it’s true. But we know it’s a lot of stress and weirdness and adjustment. And he got my old iPod Touch for his birthday also, so there’s that.
Well the wifi’s acting wiggy again, so I think I’m going to post this, hope for the best, and try and continue catching up tomorrow with what we did today.