So after that whirlwind month of travelling, my last full month in Santiago hath commenced. Upon this bitter sweet realization, my fellow program mates (who I now consider to be part of my family) and I have decided that hay que aprovechar de todo (we need to take advantage of everything). Therefore, we have constructed a sort of bucket list (if you will) for our time left in Santiago and have vowed to have new and exciting experiences every weekend in November. (I of course use weekend as a loose term since it usually starts on Wednesday). So, below is a list of some of the new experiences I had this weekend, enjoy!
1) Went to a doctor. I shrewdly omited this in my last post, but I, being the 70 year old woman that I am, threw out my back in Pucon. Literally, I bent down to put on my shoe and didn't get back up (there's a visual for you). Upon returning to Santiago, I asked my program director about seeing a chiropractor. Apparently this is an undeveloped art in Chile so she suggested I go see a traumatologo (from what I can tell, roughly a orthopoedist/physiologist??). I was told to arrive 30 minutes early to my appointment because to my surprise there were multiple steps before I even got to the waiting room. First, I went to the student center where I was given a form confirming said appointment and was instructed to pay. Then, paper in hand (VERY IMPORTANT, NEVER lose your papers in Chile) walked across campus to the medical building where the next stop was the Caja (cashier/counter) where I took a number and waited (I felt like I was in purgatory from Beetlejuice) was finally called up to the counter, where I turned in my paper from before. The woman at the counter then proceed to pull out more papers, scribble on them, rip them, staple them back together...by the end, I was given a packet roughly equivalent to the size of the Bible and finally was allowed to go to the doctor's office. There I waited for a surprising 2 minutes, my appointment was 10 minutes, got a prescription for Ibu profen and was on my way! Oh irony, how you follow me everywhere.
2) Went to a gourmet food fair! Probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. The entrance fee was $10 which was well worth my weight in free sample of bread and olive oil, not to mention artisan marmelade, chutney, empanadas, ice cream and salsa! SPICES! It was a miracle. Highlights were by far the honey peanutbutter, dulce de leche (purchased!) and cupcakes (a new delicacy in this country! Included wine and pisco sour flavors, surprisingly not repulsive). But what you all really need to know is that Hellmann's mayonaise had a booth. Only in Chile is mayonaise considered gourmet.
3) Alto Las Condes. I was literally convinced I had returned to the US earlier than expected. This is a mall located in the ritziest part of town; it was as though I were strolling through Woodfield, multiple levels, huge crowds and Christmas decorations strung from the escalators, a month before Thanksgiving. Not the most unique new experience but something to check off the list.
4) We went out to eat for lunch! Lunch is the most important and large meal of the day and on the weekends is usually an hour and half and a time for family gathering in the home. It felt so odd to be in a restaurant; I can count on one hand the times my host family has gone out to eat in the last 4.5 months. We dined on bread and pebre (salsa that is eaten with dinner bread, literally the only spicy food in Chilean cusine) and for an appetizer someone ordered something whose name escapes me but what can only be described as a slab of fried cheese with pieces of sausage on top. My host brother exclaimed gleefully, "Great for the cholesterol levels". Yum!
Shout out goes to my darling grandfather, I stood next to a man wearing a newsboy cap on the metro the other day, of course you were the first person who came to mind.