SarahTraub's Travel Journals

SarahTraub Sarah Traub

  • From Maine, United States
  • Currently in Vina del Mar, Chile

Sarah goes to Chile!

In which I share with you my adventures (and misadventures?) highlights and stories of my time here in Chile. Enjoy!

Week two!

Chile Vina del Mar, Chile  |  Aug 16, 2011
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 It was a super foggy day and we couldn’t even see the horizon, which lent itself nicely to the story that this stretch of coast has a long history of pirate activity... 

Survived my second week! And it sure was memorable...

Tuesday was an amazing day. The same group of us who went to the vineyard last week took a drive up north a little to a little fishing village called Horcón.  What people in Viña have to say about Horcón is: Siiii, Horcon, muchos hippies!!  We stepped out of the car and my first impression was that we stuck out like sore thumbs. In Viña you can kind of blend in, but not in  teeny little Horcón.  The first thing we saw was the fishermen pulling their boats up out of the water, onto the beach. Or rather, a team of two horses pulling the boats up! The men were all gathered around, relaxing – I got the feeling the workday had just ended.  The whole trip up, William, (our guide of sorts, he works for the International Center and enjoys showing us around) was raving about the empanadas in Horcón – specifically at one place. So obviously we went. It was this little hole in the wall – order at the window and sit down outside – that had ten or so different seafood options. And yes, they were the best empanadas I’ve had to date.  As we ate we slowly collected an audience of stray dogs who cleaned our crumbs right up for us after we left.  It’s sad how many strays there are here, but funnily enough it seems like they get taken care of one way or another and for the most part look fairly healthy.

Anyway, after eating we took a walk down the beach to the end of town. We saw the most eclectic houses, mostly wooden, some on stilts, painted all different colors, some decorated with murals and most adorned with some kind of plants, knick-knacks and other fun stuff.  The hippie vibe emerges…. a small group of young people seated around a grill, one playing a guitar, waved lackadaisically at us as we walked by.  A boulder on the beach is painted red-yellow-green á la rastafariiii.  A fisherman is mending his net. A dog with dreadlocks (which unfortunately appear very unentional) is following a man with long curly hair carrying a beverage in a big glass jug.

On our way back from Horcón we stopped at some amazing cliffs. They were steep and craggy, and the water at the bottom was in total turmoil.  It was a super foggy day and we couldn’t even see the horizon, which lent itself nicely to the story that this stretch of coast had a long history of pirate activity and people jumping off the cliffs… 

Wednesday was memorable for the sunset. This one was magical.  It was a clear day but there was so much mist blowing off the water that the air felt damp and had kind of a silvery sheen. The waves were huge.  Some sunlight shone through them when they rose and when they fell, wow did they crash and the spray jumped up into the air in a white froth. The mist had the effect of a light lavender filter on the sunset and when the sun dipped below the horizon the sky turned a light periwinkle blue and the water deep indigo...

Thursday for part of class Ellie and I went to the Fonck museum, a Chilean history and natural history museum. It showed the history of various indigenous tribes in different regions of the country – it was actually quite interesting, and included a history of Easter Island, which is such a strange place. Easter Island/Rapa Nui/Isla de Pasqua is the one with the huge wooden statues of big heads, they’re called Moai and there are 887 of them.

Later that day, I made an amazing discovery: there is a shop just around the corner from my house that makes fresh bagels of all different varieties and has all sorts of bagel sandwiches, pizza and fresh squeezed juices.  So far the only fresh bread I’ve found is tons of squishy white rolls – it seems like Chileans have a thing for bland bread.  So I’m really happy about that. 

The weekend was pretty low key. Most of my friends here are leaving at the end of August and they took off to visit towns up north and down south, so I was left to mostly explore on my own!  Saturday was the first day so far that I could (comfortably) be on the beach barefoot and in a tank top! I walked along the edge of the water, but not for long because the water is ICE COLD, maybe colder than in Maine.  It’s holy jumpin jehosephats cold.  There was a little dog playing with the water, chasing the receding waves down and then barking and biting at them when they came back up. There was also a group of teenagers practicing cheerleading, or gymnastics and doing some super impressive triple backflip twist in the air toss each other up kinds of things.  I sat and read for and soaked up some of that good sun…

Sunday evening I went over to Ellie’s house for “once”. Once (eleven) is Chile’s approximation of dinner. It’s a very light meal, for example bread/crackers/cake with sweet or savory toppings, and tea or coffee.  Some people eat a bigger dinner AFTER this, maybe around 9 or 10. Why is it called once? Back in the day (I think it was a Wednesday) workers used to have bread and alcohol on their breaks. The name of what they were drinking had eleven letters, and so as not to get caught drinking on the job, they referred to their little snack as once.  A few of Ellie's friends came over and I got along pretty well in Spanish; they were all so friendly and wanted to learn English as well, so we traded off. 

THis coming week is my last week of Spanish classes, which is kind of sad, I've been enjoying it! But there are adventures ahead... I'm a little nervous about starting my job next week, but definitely excited as well... and so concludes week two.  

Besos y abrazos a mi familia y amigos! 

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  • The first week.

    August 16, 2011
    1 Photo | No Video

  • Week two!

    August 16, 2011
    1 Photo | No Video