Chilling In Chile

An Unexpected Adventure 

That’s right. You did not misread. I said Chile. Before going on my newest adventure, many people seemed utterly surprised that I was leaving for Chile, and assumed that I was going on some Church mission to rebuild homes. It is a nice idea, but in reality I am here on a six week journalism internship.

So far it has been an empanada filled adjustment but I am loving it. I arrived in Chile on May 26. My first stop  was Hostal Providencia, a sunny partly out door refuge for travelers.  On my first day I did not do much besides meet with the other ISA interns from my program. I got off the plane at 7:30 am, but was not allowed to check in until 2 pm. I proceeded to curl up into a ball on a couch and fall asleep.

Finally I was allowed in my room, where I hoped it would be warmer. Unfortunately no Chilean homes or establishment is warm, absolutely none. There are about negatively three places in Chile that have heat, or central air. It is always so surprising when you step outside and find that it absolutely gorgeous out.

Later that evening, my program ISA took all the interns and me out for dinner. I tried a Chilean delicacy, Parmesan Machas. Machas are Chile’s equivalent of clams. Being on a coast, Chile is known for their Seafood.

In most countries seafood, and dairy are considered a big no, no. However, Chileans really known what they’re doing in the kitchen. The dish was “que rico,” although Machas, themselves were different than I expect. If the crustacean looks like a clam, but is a completely different texture, and taste of a clam, is it still a clam?

The next day ISA paired the interns up with a man named Matias. Matias escorted us around Barrio Bellavista, our soon to be new hang out. The Barrio is filled with street art, bars, and angsty pot-smoking young adults.

Since I got here the young adults have been protesting, and occupying universities, in hopes of getting more equal opportunities. Alot of the protests ends in violence, however marching for legalization of marijuana is quite different, as you can assume. I attended the rally where, the protesters showed there infuriation, by sitting around and smoking joints.

Bellavista, is also filled with a number of cafes and restaurants that will have knock you down with all the alcohol they put in one mojito, or disappoint you because half of the menu is not available.

The dining experience in Chile is incomparable to America on so many levels. Waiters usually take their own tip out of your change, which is ten percent, allowing them to be as unenthusiastic and slow as thet want. The slow thing in Chile is common, the concept of time here is pretty relative.

Coffee is also usually a disappointment here. I went from Starbucks to powder. This is a tea drinking country. However if you want your glass a little hotter than usual, there are a number of coffee houses that take a Hooters approach in dining. That is one experience I may miss here though. PG-13 or X rated where there is rumored prostitution, I don’t like my beverages that steamy.

After seeing Bellavista, we climbed Cerro San Cristobal. I was not disappointed, more so surprised when I learned that the city is under a cloud of smog, making it difficult to see the Andes Mountains.  The smog gives the city an eerie feeling, but I really enjoy it.

santiago-3

We soon ventured into the smog to La Chascona, Pablo Narudo’s home, or should I say play house. The poet built the space to spend time with his secret mistress. After taking a Where’s Waldo Walking tour I learned more  about the country’s secrets. For example, the curious suicide of President Salvador Allende, and their brutal military dictatorship.

It is interesting to be in such a seemingly peaceful country. Sometimes Santiago feels like a volcano, really ready to erupt at any second.

On Monday, I started my first day as a Journalist at I Love Chile. Even though the publication is the most read English news source in Chile, I was surprised to find out that I would be working with other interns in a cold room on top of a bar. I have to say, I like it. It gives the paper an underground feel.

The “office” is on Estados Unidos Street which is home to a number of parks, and elegant looking building like mine with stained glass windows and cherubs on it. In the area, there are a number of shops, and quaint cafes that serve cheesy empanadas which are heaven. However now and again, I like to get out of the neighborhood.

I just came back from a weekend trip to Valparaiso, a city on the water with a completely different vibe than Santiago. Even after my first Live Copa America Match the city was completely calm, unlike in Santiago where football fans would probably tip over cars if their team lost. For a few days it was nice to escape the reggaeton, and listen to live hispanic jazz with an ocean breeze.

Being a journalist is really equivalent to being an explorer and that’s why I love it. I Love Chile  is helping me discover that  it is all what you make it. The company is allowing me to meet people from all different walks and do so many cool things. *Cough, cough*, like attend a wine and cheese party at the American Ambassador’s house.  I also recently used my job as an excuse to visit a wine vineyard. Despite all of the vino I was able to get a story, stay tuned for that and more!

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