Sunday, May 3, 2015

Even though I'm sure the Patagonia Pictures > Blog Post...

Dude- 900 is a big number. It's close to one thousand. And very overwhelming, especially when most of the pictures are essentially the same scenery, taken just about 100 feet later, after a single wispy cloud passed or upon rotating 20º. When I write this out it just seems quite absurd, but the reality is- I haven't posted my pictures from Patagonia because its an overwhelming task! Apologies. They will come with time(:
In the meantime I booked a plane ticket (I'm sensing that an expensive habit is forming....) to visit my mentor in the South- coincidentally near where the volcano erupted...but her house is fine! It actually erupted a third time on Thursday but there have been no deaths which is good. My Wednesday started out after I arrived to ceramics at around 9:30, thinking I was late- and ended up being the third person to arrive- this class's start time appears to be pushed back week after week (My theory is that it's because Chileans just can't get out of bed in the 'cold'- I'm telling you when I was walking to class that day, it was MAYBE 50 degrees and I passed a woman with a puffy jacket, boots and a scarf! In comparison, I was wearing a long sleeved shirt and jeans with my birkenstocks and socks..). So here's the funny part of the story: when I get my ceramic plates that had been put in the kiln, the TA comes over (now when I saw TA, don't envision a young grad art student- instead picture a short, overly animated, middle aged woman) and points at my little triangle tile with a turtle. To say I was proud of this little guy would be an understatement. She points to it and says "No malhecho// Not poorly done" Now it this cross roads in my life I can interpret this one of two ways. 1 would be that she is saying "that's not bad- its actually pretty good- wow Carly you are a champ" or 2 she could/probably is saying "That's not poorly done, but you I think you still have some work to do". She went on to inform Hannah and I that gringos for some weird reason always use a lot of if it was a bad thing- so there goes my general knowledge and thinking I had a vagueish idea of what the professor (who is a balding, soft spoken and seemingly 'wise' old man) and his peppy TA are looking how do grades work again??
That night had a great time at Miercoles Po'- the gringa fiesta that goes on every Wednesday at a different club in Santiago. It's crazy- there is an actual Miercoles Po Ltd. company that runs the show and I am sure they are making BANK. These clubs are always full and it is always a great time. The kicker is that Chileans have to pay a cover to get in (and I heard it's really pricey) while extranjeros walk in for free. Anywho- my friends and i enjoyed that one, and luckily I don't have class until 2:00 on thursday so I can sleep in the next day- which is important because as you should know by now- Chileans start the party around midnight, usually a little later..
On Friday my friend Emily and I ventured out to Viña del Mar, a short bus ride (maybe a little over 1.5 hours) to a beautiful port of Chile that attracts quite a bit of tourism, but is nevertheless full of culture and delicious seafood! It has a 'twin city' named Valparaiso which is about a 10 minute bus ride along the coast, so we were sure to visit this gem as well. Emily had been there before, so fortunately I just let her guide me around town, merely requesting that we eat seafood and get ice cream at some point(: What else is new- food=priorities. 
My partner in crime with her ice cream(:
We started our adventure by setting up camp at a hostel called the Garden Street Hostel which is an adorable little nook of a building that has a courtyard overflowing with flowers, herbs and green plants. We left our bags in cubbies, picked a nice looking bunk bed and headed to a fabulous Italian restaurant that the desk attendant helped us make a reservation for. We were greeted by a nice looking maitre d' (yes that is the second time I have googled to fact check my writing :P) who showed us to our table with a view, right by the window. It appeared that we were the sole patrons in the dining room, but that only helped our cause. After asking a million questions- as I never have any idea what chilean words for food are because there are so many variations- I attempted to order some fish with veggies on the side. In the meantime they brought us chicken pate, some sort of caviar (I think he said octopus but who knows) and smoked salmon tapas. I felt like I was moving up in the world at this point. They brought our plates out and I died. My order was surprisingly representative of what I had imagined (this often is NOT the case, ie: that one time we dined out with the program and they said "salmon" was one of the options- people thought they were getting fish- but in fact, salmon ended up being some a chilean meatloaf-esque dish with a random hard boiled egg in the center- I don't even know). Anywho- it appears that the fish I ordered, Corvina, is actually often translated to Chilean Sea Bass in english (I'm guily of a third google search there...). SO GOOD. It's crazy how when you get a dish like the one I ordered that day, how much more special it is here. You grow used to the underseasoned soups, rice and iceburg lettuce salads that when you are presented with a nice piece of fish and some fresh veggies (which could be an absolute norm in the US), every bite is a delicacy. 
After lunch we perused the boardwalk, sat down and read by the ocean, got some ice cream (chocolate almond and mokka) and then watched the sunset we decided that our previous notion of cooking dinner to save money was realistically not gonna happen- because let's be real- treat yo self. it's important. 
We walked around and stumbled upon a Peruvian restaurant that Emily had been to before (I guess its kinda like a Chilean chain restaurant or something). We split a mixed seafood ceviche with scallops, calamari, salmon and octopus and then some Congrio (Chile's most popular and notorious fish) that was bathed in a creamy cilantro sauce. Lol yes it was bathed- that's what the menu said! "congrio baño en la salsa"
Now get this- the didn't bring us any bread. The horror. Somehow we evaded bread during a meal in a Chilean restaurant. Do you know what happens when this goes down? You actually feel kinda hungry after dinner- and everyone should know by now where that leads cream. duh. Two times, one day- that is a record right there. Imma have to start having breakfast dessert if I wanna beat that....
So I got a raspberry and chocolate Mo' (the company is called Mo' gelateria) ice cream cone with the most ice cream I have EVER (and I have seen a lot of ice cream cones) seen any barista fit in one cone. The picture is coming soon....but it was bigger than my very amused smiling face. After the after dinner treat Emily and I watched a rom com and finished a bottle of red wine. What a perfect ending to the night. What wasn't so perfect though was the fact that we shared our room and four sets of bunkbeds with some serious knuckleheads. You know- the kind that come in at 4:30am, turn on the lights, have deep late night conversations with their friends, make pasta and then eat it on their beds- because eating outside of the room would just be flat out rude. Know the type? Oye dios. It took all of me not to crawl out of my top bunk and have a little chat with my co-inabitants. It actually probably had more to do with the fact that I would not have been able to yell at them in spanish and less to do with my level of irritation to tell the truth...
After breakfast (Chilean breakfast of champions=bread and butter- free with our hostel stay so I'm not complaining, only my stomach was- two hours later when I was hungry again...) Emily and I headed over to Valpo (Valparaiso), the city famous for it's historic poetic resident- Pablo Neruda (please look this guy up if you are ignorant in your Latin American historical knowledge- he was a cool dude) and for it's classy street art (legal and incredibly well done graffiti). 
We walked around, took some pictures and went on a tour of Neruda's house.
The view from La Sebastiana
It was 4 stories high, slender and had a central view of the harbor and all of the houses on the hill between his house and the water. Valpo is kind of like Santorini but with brightly colored houses and Neruda's house is right smack dab in the middle of the hill. It was a nice way to end the trip and with that we boarded a bus and headed back to santiago. THE END(:

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