Monday, November 29, 2010

Santiago from the perspective of a 20-year-old

Although I didn't think about my parents' visit the way my title describes it, after speaking to my brother (he told me my parents said this when they described the trip to him), I realized this is a perfect description of the visit. Luckily for them, they had almost nothing to plan. Marco and I planned more than enough activities to fill all 24 hours of all 9 days my parents were here. The first day they arrived, I let them relax a little bit, and then we got to know the neighborhood a bit. I showed them my house, introduced them to my host family, and we had a fantastic dinner at a restaurant called El Divertimento. It sits at the base of the Cerro San Cristóbal, and has a great vibe. We all had different "Chilean" food and drinks. I had a papaya sour (which was amazing), and we shared a delicious bottle of Carmenere (the second of the day), and enjoyed ourselves immensely. My poor parents had to be subjected to the Hattie's-infinitely-long-winded-monologue, but I think we all enjoyed ourselves.

The next day, we had once with my host family and spent a lot of time laughing at each other's stories. I would like to point out that my parents speak essentially no spanish, and my host family does not speak much english. My host mom and dad understand some english, but my host brother, sister, and grandma understand no english. The point I'm trying to make is that I translated all the conversations that we had between the eight of us. It was tiring, but fun. After once, we picked up Marco and headed to the artesian fair, Los Dominicos. It was a very hot day, but we had a nice time exploring all the little shops. Although we only walked away with fresh juice in our bellies, it was nice to show my parents a part of the city that I enjoy. After the fair, we made our way to the stadium to see a game of La Universidad Católica. Fútbol is such a huge part of the Latin American culture, that I really wanted my parents to experience a game while they were here. Plus, Marco is a huge fan of La Católica, so it was a perfect opportunity to all be together. We made signs for the birthday of a friend of my mother's, since she is a soccer fan, and got a snapshot taken at the game.

After the game, we drove down from the foothills and tried to find a place to eat, and ended up at Eladio--a fantastically cheap and tasty restaurant. It is famous for meat, and we certainly enjoyed our food. We started with carpaccio and fried provolone and then moved on to the carne. My parents experienced their first Pisco Sours at Eladio, and man were they sour. 

On sunday, we went to Yerba Loca, a nature sanctuary, and hiked around. It was a perfect day, and it was nice to get out of the city and stretch our legs. When we came back down into the smoggy city, we stopped at Caramagnola, the pizza/bicycle bar, and had a refreshing beer. 

On monday, we hopped in the car and drove to Viña del Mar to take in the sun. We got there, explored a little bit, and then headed up the cerro to find a lunch spot. We ate at La Colombina, and had delicious seafood and a beautiful view of the sea. After that, I was able to find the same streets that I walked on with my program at the very beginning of my trip. I was excited about this because the street art in that neighborhood is amazing. (See my Valparaíso post from the beginning for street art photos!). On our way down from the cerro, we found some funny pieces of art and made my dad do some cheesy poses. When we got to the bottom, we realized that the hullabaloo we had noticed earlier was because THE capsule was being displayed in Valparaíso. Yes, the actual capsule that actually rescued the 33 miners. It was a cool surprise. We finished off the day at another artesan fair, and walked on the beach a little bit. 

Tuesday, we went on a bicycling wine tour. We got picked up in Santiago and driven out of the city a ways, and then hopped on some bikes and rode down a very pleasant, eucalyptus-tree-lined road, listening to our very happy, very chatty guide. I swear he knew everyone and everyplace to meet or go to in Santiago. We stopped at a larger vineyard first, had a tour and tasting, and then went up to a hill in the fields to eat a picnic lunch. It was windy, but very pleasant and the view was beautiful. After the picnic, we rode out of the vineyard, and started on the road again to the next one. I, unfortunately, gave up and rode in the van the last leg of the trip to the organic vineyard, but my parents pushed through and made it to the end. 

It was a great opportunity to get to know a different part of Chile, and to get some exercise! After we got back to the city, we had dinner with some long lost friends, and enjoyed catching up immensely. 

Wednesday, I had class but made my parents come to IES to meet and chat with my friends. It was so fun for my parents to finally meet all the people I've been telling them about for the last 3 months. I think my friends also really enjoyed chatting with my parents. I got lots of comments like, "You're parents are so funny!" "Your parents are so cool!" And I replied, "I know!!" I had to go on a field trip to the cemetery, so I sent my parents to the Plaza de Armas and the Precolumbian Museum. From what they said, it was quite the afternoon. My people-watching parents got to experience what it's like to be people-watched. I think mostly my mom got to experience this, since my dad can semi-blend in with his dark hair and eyes. I know exactly how my mom felt, since I felt like that the first 2 months in Santiago. We had dinner with my host family and once again, we laughed a lot, told a lot of stories, and I translated a lot. I feel like my families had so much fun meeting each other and getting to know each other (through my broken translations). I know it meant a lot to my parents to be able to spend time with my host family.

Thursday was a big treat for my whole family. We have been trying, for I don't know how many months, to get back in touch with a Chilean family that were very close to my grandparents in Illinois. We finally got ahold of them the monday that my parents were in Santiago, and arranged to meet up with them on thursday. We went to their very elegant apartment for lunch and I know they and my dad especially were overjoyed to reconnect and it was a funny and emotional afternoon. I had a great time finally meeting the people that I've heard about my entire life. 

Thursday night, we went to Marco's house so that my parents could meet his mother and grandparents. Once again, I spent the evening translating, (with minimal help from Marco) and we passed the evening very amiably. I think that we spent most of the trip talking with people, and more specifically people who mean a lot to me and/or my family. This is the best way to live, in my opinion, because it is a lot more meaningful to get to know a person rather than spend all your time traveling from place to place. 

Friday, we went to the Santa Lucía artesan fair, and then had a great last dinner with Marco at a restaurant called Tierra Noble. We once again ate carpaccio and fried provolone. I had kobe beef, Marco had duck, my dad had lamb, and my mom had tuna. We all had delicious desserts, and once again passed a very enjoyable evening. 

Saturday, we went back to Los Dominicos, relaxed a bit, and then took my parents to the airport. It was a sad goodbye, but I had such a fun time showing my parents around my new city, and I think they had fun experiencing it too. (Even if it was from the perspective of a 20-year-old!)

No comments:

Post a Comment