Monday, March 12, 2012

Becoming Chilean, po!

Today was my first day of class, although I only had one which didn't start till 5 PM and ended early. When I showed up I realized I do not own a day planner or a notebook. Gotta get on that. I also signed up for the gym which turned out to be confusing. In order to use the weights you have to go through a "fitness evaluation". I don't really know what it consists of but my understanding is that it is basically to make sure you don't hurt yourself using the weights. I assumed I could just show up, meet with some random gym employee and then I'd be free to do some bicep curls. Turns out I can't get an appointment until March 27. Awesome. But not really. Luckily, I still get use of the elliptical and mats and such because otherwise I might actually pass out on Machu Picchu.

Also, within a 20 minute time span I went from feeling like a really capable Spanish-speaker/traveler/maybe even a little Chilean to being the silliest gringa on the planet. Let me explain. On the way home from school I stopped to by a sopapilla which is basically fried dough with spicy sauce in it. I managed to understand the vendor and give him the correct change. Then I got on the metro and was able to give up my city to a lady with a baby using correct Spanish, even remembering the correct formal Usted form. I spent the next 10 minutes silently congratulating myself of my assimilation. I was basically Chilean, po. I hopped off the metro and headed to the ATM. ATMs here confuse me because when you put them in English they sometimes operate in dollar values but sometimes in Chilean pesos. COOL. anyway, this one seemed to be in Chilean pesos and I was trying to take out $100. If I were paying attention more/had the ability to do math I would have realized that $10,000 pesos is roughly $20 dollars so $50,000 pesos is $100. Somehow the math got all screwed up in my head and I took out $200,000 pesos, also known as $400. As soon as the cash started spilling out of the machine I realized I had a major #gringaproblem on my hands. I was definitely overdrawn due to my lack of exchange rate capabilities and also my lack of math skills. I hurried home, called my Mom, who I'm sure shook her head and added some money to my account so that I wouldn't end paying a huge overdraft fee. On the brightside? I won't have to pay an ATM fee for another 3 weeks.

Here are some pictures from my weekend in Valparaiso, about 1.5 hours north of Santiago on the coast. Before the construction of the Panama canal it was one of the major ports of South America. After that time, it went into decline until Pinochet relocated the Congress there in the 1970s and it became a hippie hangout in the 1980s. It's a vibrant colorful city as you'll see from the pictures!


New friends in ViƱa del Mar haha :)
The port of Valparaiso!

Chocolate helado! Deliciousness in a glass!

Valpo at sunset!

1 comment:

  1. Love the elliptical -- keep at it! Love your blog too! XO