Monday, 27 August 2012

Santiago by Night!

So this weekend I had a number of milestones in my Chilean life. Chris, my predecessor at Redland School, had his last day on Thursday and left the country today (Monday), so we decided to go out in Santiago by day and by night.

On Friday night we went to a house party with another Redland ex-staff member, Sam, who's now studying at Católica as a part of his year abroad from the Uni of Bath. There I met a load of other students on their year abroad, as well as some Chilean students also at Católica. From there on we went to a Karaoke Bar in Providencia (an upmarket district near to Las Condes), and then onto a Cuban salsa bar where my dancing made up in enthusiasm what it lacked in skill.

Argentine and Chilean heads
of state + Pisco Sour
During this epic journey across Santiago, I was introduced to the Chilean passion that is pisco. Pisco is a Chilean/Peruvian* grape brandy that they seem to drink as if its water, and have created a number of equally revered cocktails from it as well. The Pisco Sour is the most common of these: pisco with egg white, lemon juice and sugar. Another favourite is Piscola, which is simply pisco and Coca Cola - simple. The Chilean way of serving it seems to be with alarming quantities of pisco compared to coke.

The next day, I was introduced to another Chilean passion: the asado, or BBQ. Given the reputation of Argentinian beef, and my experience with Chilean portion sizes, I was expecting great things and it didn't disappoint! We had a big BBQ with chicken, pork, beef and sausage, along with the staple of avocado and the normal accessories, plus mandatory pisco. When the sun set and it got colder another fire was started, and everyone sat around it in the evening chatting and continuing to plough through quantities of meat.

Gringo central

Sunday I had another lovely lie in, then met with Sam and Chris in the Plaza de Armas (central downtown) just before lunch. We walked through town, visiting the Mercado Central (seafood) and the Mercado de la Vega (meat and veg) before going to Bellavista for lunch, Chilean style. Queue more meat. We then headed out into Providencia again for a quick trip to a popular gringo bar where we met with another Redland teacher for a few goodbye drinks.

Then back to school for another week!

* This is actually yet another sore point between Chile and Perú. At the BBQ later that weekend I was firmly assured that Pisco and the Pisco Sour are 100% Chilean, and Perú is merely up to their old tricks in trying to steal it from Chile.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Introducing... my house!

I live in a family house in the Las Condes community of Santiago de Chile, to the east of the city centre, closer towards the Andes. It's a lovely, quite traditional, Chilean family home, with 5 other people and 3 dogs to keep me company! I'm about 10-15 minutes walk from school, which is also where to bus stop into town is, so it's a great location.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Chilly in Chile

So it turns out that I slightly misjudged seasons and instead of being balmy spring it is, in fact, winter. Good one. Anyway, I've finally arrived in Chile after just over a day of travelling, and am sitting in my new room in Las Condes, Santiago!

So: the Journey. I waved goodbye to my family (minus dad, who was coming to the airport with me) at 8.15am on Tuesday the 14th of August. 2 trains, a 9 hour flight, a train, another 9 hour flight, and a 40 minute drive later, I arrived in the world's largest copper producer: Chile.

Along the way I learnt that Delta isn't anywhere near as good as Air New Zealand, American people are wonderfully friendly, American security regulations are ridiculous (I had a fit of the giggles mid way through TSA screening), and the Andes look mint.

I start work tomorrow at Redland School, which is about 5 minutes drive away, where I'm leading conversation classes and helping with general office work. Details to follow... Today is a national holiday, so not much is happening, but I'm hoping to get into Santiago Centro and sort myself out a bit as well as getting a hang of the town, although some things will have to wait for a working day.

Some things will have to wait for a working day: I need a new SIM (and my phone unlocked), as well as a bank account and some adaptors to replace the US ones I, for some reason, decided to bring. What an exciting life I lead!

Sunday, 12 August 2012


I depart for Chile on Tuesday - the next post will be from Santiago!