This weekend was the elections here in Chile. If a citizen registers in Chile, they HAVE to vote, or they get to pay a big fine. Not sure of the amount, but it is supposed to be large. This thinking kind of gave me and a group of students, the ‘bright’ idea to travel to Viña del Mar. Well one of the reasons I attend college is because I don’t know even close to everything in this world. The thought that the beach would be semi-deserted was way off. If this weekend wasn’t packed, I wouldn’t want to even see it jam packed. As a little kid, I have been to the beaches in California. But I never paid attention to anything like the number of people. When I was a sophomore in hs, I traveled to Florida and again, never paid attention to the population density of the beaches.
And just so people know, I DO post pictures. I don’t know if there is a better way to do it though *shrug* Look on the columns of the ‘Travelerspoint’ page as my blog opens. Look for just two little pictures on the right side of the page. Double click one and it will forward you to a list of the pictures. You can double click on one again to see them larger. I take the majority of my pictures with no zoom so they should be fairly good quality.
Traveling on a bus to Viña del Mar was not a big deal. I scheduled the bus with a few other kids and we rode together. Another group of students had traveled there the day before. Viña del Mar is a pretty big small town on the side of the ocean (if that makes sense). Small yet normal in regards to the amnesties they provide. And just like Santiago, they have a rampant over population of dogs *shrug* When at the host families house I use my Ipod to help me fall asleep because the noise at night is defining. Piano/classical is the type of music I listen to drift into the realm of dreams. It is a habit I’ll probably continue for a number of years in the states.
When a group of us were starting the planning of this trip a week ago, Robin sent out a fb link to the hostel she found. I clicked the link and filled out my credit card information. The form already had the general information, such as the dates filled in. All I chose was which porch I was going to sleep in. I got a confirmation page in my email a few minutes later.
Friday, January the fifteenth rolls around and after class we had lunch and made a trip to the bus station. Someone had the bright idea of walking instead of taking the metro. I’m pretty sure Robin had the bright idea ; ) The stations are NOT close. It took me almost 3 hours to walk between four stations the previous night. I’ll tell that delightful story the next chance I have to type it : ) We finally get to the bus terminal and we bought our tickets. They were a little over 3 mil, about $6 for the trip. Not bad : ) The busses were really comfortable. Even my gigantor long legs to fit and they didn’t hit the back of the front seat. That is until the person in front decides to recline the seat. But it was cool. I did the same thing and read my book.
I read quite a bit into a book called “Where Men Win Glory” by Jon Krakauer. Jon wrote books such as “Into the Wild” and “Under the Banner of Heave” and the first one was a good book. I will probably buy “Under the Banner of Heaven” someday to read ; )”‘Where Men Win Glory” is about the life of Pat Tillman and his death in Afghanistan. In my opinion the story is so sad because he was killed by fratricide, friendly fire. Mammalogy is coming in handy again, ‘frater’ is Latin for brother and ‘cide’ means to kill. Thanks David ; ) The bullets that ended Pat’s life were three .223 rounds fires from reportedly a SAW gun, the bullets covered a three inch pattern. The SAW is a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. To fire a submachine gun where the bullet holes covered a three inch pattern, that fact would extremely impressive. Especially when you learn that the shots were apparently from ~200 yards away. It’s too bad that a man of his caliber was taken by his own comrades in the unit of Rangers. Some people theorize that a group of snipers were with the unit at the time, a similar group thinks the shots came from as close as 3 m away. The book is really easy to read and as close to the truth as possible when you realize how much the Army did to cover up details about Pat Tillman’s death.
After about an hour on the bus we arrived to Viña del Mar. After even more walking we get to the hostel and I was being nice let everyone else go first. It was finally my turn and the receptionist couldn’t find my reservation. I look up my email and give her the number. Welll she calls in another guy to figure out what’s up because she can’t find my reservation. They finally figure it out. The reservation is for next week. Oh well, there goes my $2.10 deposit : ) Then I don’t have a place to stay, so I’m think thing the beach would be really comfortable and just really cold. Being an ocean, it blows cold air all day and well into the night. I was hungry so we all decide to walk to a restaurant/bar and get something to eat. I wolf my sandwich down at my usual pace and get a kick out of people eating as they talk. Luke had gotten there a few hours ahead of us. Earlier in the week, he asked me if I wanted to share a hostel with him. I had already reserved the first one and I had told him so. Now the tables were turned because I needed a place to stay. He was kind enough to accommodate me and let me crash in the bed.
We went out Friday night and it was fun. The bars don’t close until 4 am in the morning. It was hard to stay awake that long ; ) But I made it. Then I walk outside and I don’t know how I will get ahold of Luke, because I don’t have a cell phone. Some of the other guys in the group with me were telling me “Luke is staying in the same hostel and we’ll let you in.” I refused to believe them and we literally walked less than 15ft down the side walk to the front door. I was like “OMG, I can’t believe I didn’t recognize the place” and then I walked up to the room where Luke was. I quietly knocked on the door and after some mumblings on the other side, Luke opened the door. I quickly fell asleep once in bed, it being 4:15 in the morning.
The next day, I walked to the bus station to buy a return ticket. I spaced it when we arrived on Friday. After walking back towards the hostel I ran into a couple of girls from the group. We meandered down to the beach and found the other girls who came previously. It was amazing to find them so easily. The reason, they were the white’s bodies on the beach ; ) I took a few steps into the water. It was so flipping cold!! Because of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) the global coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon, the temperature is really cold this time of year. I quickly dove in and returned to the beach. I then had a friend put some sun screen on my back and I smeared some on my chest. Then I did the whole sun bathing thing.
I’m a bright crimson color now. Ask Larry, he talked with me using Skype on Sunday. Apparently I missed a large portion of my chest and you can clearly see which portions of my back had sun screen because that part id a nice golden color : ) I don’t remember burning this easily when I was younger. Must be because I’m so OLD now ; ) New conspiracy theorist say it’s because of the green house gases that gas engines produce. I laugh at that fact because I’m willing to bet they all still drive a gas engine. Versus walking or even using diesel fuel which is produced at a rate of three gallons of diesel to one gallon of gas and the diesel has zero emissions. Mind you that is a byproduct and requires no additional manufacturing, but that’s another subject : ) That day happened to be Williams birthday so a group of us went out. There were about 11 of us. It started on the beach. I had eaten previously at another restaurant. The group had eaten sushi yet they had to wait something like 3 hours for the food. Everyone was raving about how good the food was, a girl let me have some after she ate her fill. In all honesty I didn’t think it was that good *shrug* but I didn’t have to pay for it and then wait three hours! ; ) The night was fun though : )
I walked to the bus station two hours ahead of time. I did get lost and walked up a hill. I ended up asking two guys “Donde esta el bus stacion?” They rambled back in Spanish some directions and then signaled for me to stay put. I was tempted to walk away after a few minutes but I was patient. After what felt like 20 minutes a bus finally rolled around the corner, they stopped the driver and signaled for me to get on. I went to the back of the bus and a girl asked me if I spoke English. She actually spoke English very well. I told her I did and she then talked with me for a little bit and she told me when to get off. I was less than a block from the station. On that note, I am going to try and start speaking the language and English, referred to as Spanglish : ) The intent being after 4 months I should be able to understand, write and hablamos en español. We’ll see how short the blog entries start and continue to grow. That’s my intention on the los dieceocho de enero : D I wish people in America were as nice as the people here in Chile are, but we can’t have it all : )