Chorrillana is a Bookend

Chorrillana is so good. French fries and assorted meats and sausages all marinated in a red wine reserve, topped with a sunny side up egg; chorrillana is the most deliciously typical Chilean cuisine. It tastes better than the description sounds, and smells incredible.

not my photo. But this is Chorrillana from La Flor de Chile.

This is not my photo. But this is Chorrillana from La Flor de Chile.

The first time I tried chorrillana was at La Flor de Chile the night that I arrived in Chile. That evening was a very interesting experience for several reasons. My first host mom, (I changed host families after a week – see my blog post New Home and Twenty One for the reasons) Paty, took me to eat with six of her friends. I was exhausted  from the flight and thrown right into the middle of a strange culture and a strange language and strange food. Now, I know textbook Spanish, but nothing prepared me for the awfulness of Chilean Spanish! It’s so fast and ridden with Chilenismos and idioms and slang that it’s hardly recognizable as Spanish. I thought I had forgotten everything I ever learned because in ten minutes of conversation I could only recognize one or two words. But as time went on I realized that they weren’t speaking Spanish, but the Chilean dialect. 

DSCN5271

Thankfully one of Paty’s friends spoke broken English and could translate the conversation and describe the items on the menu for me. With Paty’s friend’s help I ordered something safe like beef and french fries, but someone else at the table ordered Chorrillana La Flor de Chile Grande con Mechada. When the waiter brought it to the table I was amazed at the size of the dish because it was large enough for three or four men to eat their fill. I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped in disbelief. Everyone laughed at my expression and urged me to taste it. I was a little skeptical because it doesn’t look quite as appetizing as it actually is but I tried it anyway. Side note to the traveler: Always. Always try the local food. You’ll often find gems.  Chorrillana is so good!

DSCN5261

Over the course of four months I ate a lot of chorrillana. Just like pizza, the quality varied depending on where I ate it, but it was always chorrillana and always good. During that time of falling in love with Chorrillana I also fell in love with Chile and Chilean culture and Chilean Spanish. I learned the language more or less. I didn’t realize how much I had grown until the last time I ate Chorrillana.

DSCN5266

My host family (Rosy and Manuel, their daughter, Paula, and her daughter, Victoria) took me, incidentally, to la Flor de Chile. It was a very emotional evening but also really cool because I got a sense of closure and was able to process how important these people are to me and how much I had learned and grown since the first time eating at that restaurant.

DSCN5251

Paula, Victoria, and I ordered Chorrillana to share. I was excruciatingly aware that this very well could be the last time I would ever eat chorrillana and laugh with these wonderful people whom I had grown to love so dearly so I had to force the food past a lump in my throat. Even so, it was delicious, the conversation amusing, and the company warm. It was a much more pleasant experience than the first time I tried chorrillana, and I could finally follow almost all of the conversation. I have very fond memories of that evening. It was a beautiful bookend to my adventures in Chile.

I still have a lot to write about my trip to Peru and the last two weeks in Chile and my transition back home. This is just one story so stay tuned for more! It might be a while because school is insane but good things come to those who wait 😉

Peace,

~ Debs

Advertisements

La Isla Negra

I went to La Isla Negra with our Resident Director and some of the other exchange students. The house of the late Chilean author, Pablo Neruda, is now a museum and it is beautiful. We couldn’t take photos inside of the museum but I’ll try to describe the general layout briefly.

The house is one room wide and is comprised of around 16 rooms. So it is very narrow and long and each room is designed to look like a ship or a train from the inside.  It is filled with many intriguing and beautiful artifacts and collections and fascinating furnishing. Ship sterns shaped like women, wooden angels, half a model ship against a mirror, a round table, huge windows overlooking the ocean, a bar which has the names of his friends carved into the beams, Japanese theater masks, butterfly collections, bottled ships, a totem pole that supposedly didn’t like to be looked at so Neruda removed one of it’s eyes, a plastic life-sized horse with three tails, a desk made of drift wood which he and his wife retrieved from the ocean together, a stone mural wall fashioned by his best friend, a glass table set on top of a huge ship wheel, several weird instruments, a writing desk and a random porcelain sink which wasn’t connected to anything, a room dedicated to his childhood memories, beautiful paintings, other random interesting items, and a bed which overlooked the ocean and faced east to west so the rose at the head and set at the foot. The last moments he spend in that house before he was taken to a hospital were spent in that bed.  His life seemed so interesting and wonderful! I felt very inspired by that trip.

We also visited some nearby beaches. Here are several pictures that I took that day.

The house from the outside:

DSCN4621 DSCN4615

A majestic dog and a selfie:

DSCN4588 DSCN4593

 

The contrasting mystically misty and super sunny beaches.

DSCN4598 DSCN4649

 

P.S. I haven’t updated my blog in like a month so there is so much to tell you all about! I’ll be posting about Patagonia, Pomaire, Machu Picchu, and general life very soon.

Mary, The British blokes, and the bridge.

DSCN4425

I went to Santiago on Friday and Saturday at the beginning of October with other several exchange students from my campus. So here is the story of how I toured the presidential palace, met two stereotypical British blokes, visited the Virgin Mary, and climbed on top of a bridge.

We arrived in Santiago toured a museum of human rights. After that we toured the presidential palace. It was pretty awesome to see and learn about the history of the building and they types of things that happen inside.

Around 5 we checked into our hostels. We were told to meet again at 6:45. However, Jaime changed the plans and didn’t tell everyone! So six of us wandered around trying to find where everyone else was. We were told to go across the “only bridge in Santiago.” bull shit! There were like six of them that we saw in our wanderings! At any rate, we ended up at the wrong bridge, three times, before we finally found Jaime. One of the bridges was a traffic bridge with an arch over it and we saw some Chilean kids climbing on top of it. Of course, we climbed up it too! I was terrified but it gave me a nice adrenaline rush and a fun story to tell!

The first picture below is the metro station. The second picture below was taken from atop a bridge by Amos the Korean.

 DSCN4411 crazy

That night after we found Jaime, we went to several bars and ate food and drank beer. Four or five of the girls were set on finding a club to dance at, but at midnight we were “too early” to find anything that already had a lot of people. So we wandered around for forever until several of us got fed up and decided to drink a beer and then go back to the hostels to sleep. I was totally fine with that plan of action!

The next day, Jaime was really sick. Apparently he had been sick all along and didn’t tell anyone, which explains why he was so out of it and unorganized. I felt bad for being mad at him :/ Poor guy. Anyways, he turned over the tour to one of the older students. She took us to see the statue of the Virgin Mary.

DSCN4454

The Virgin Mary and the view.

DSCN4468 DSCN4463

Below is a statue of Christ on the cross. It was interesting that his statue was located lower down on the hill than his mother’s statue.

DSCN4461

My selfie got photobombed by Tristan and Josiah.

DSCN4457 DSCN4493

This was a mural on a wall in Santiago.

DSCN4504

The hostel that Tris, David, and I stayed at was called Hostal Providencia. My first hostel experience was a really nice and memorable one! We stayed in a mixed six person dorm room and met two blokes from Britain. We talked to them for maybe an hour while waiting to meet up with the rest of our group. There names are Richard and Tom, I believe, and they met in Rio for the World Cup and then decided to travel South America together. Apparently they were stuck in Santiago because Tom got robbed and was waiting for a new bank card. This was unfortunate for them, but awesome for us because they were hilarious! They said the most stereotypical British words and phrases such as, “This little bag has a handle! Huzzah!”,  “She said they were woman’s trousers…do these look like women’s trousers to you?”, and “He brought out sushi which was involved with the salmon,” and other such things.

That night Tris, David, and I came in around 2am. Tom was still awake reading in bed, and Richard was still out partying. The sixth bed was occupied with an unknown occupant who was already asleep. So we tiptoed around and went to bed.

At 5:30am Richard came back and woke us all up. We had a lovely conversation with the obviously drunk Richard. Suddenly he turned around and saw the unknown guy in the sixth bunk. He marched over to the bed, bent down to peer into the bottom bunk, and loudly inquired, “Who is this lump?!”  We all died laughing.

The second picture is of a festival that we went to before taking the bus home. There was a lot of dancing involved.

DSCN4568 DSCN4519

I found los Estados Unidos (The United States) in Santiago! No one told me about that shortcut! I guess that means I need a refund on my return airplane ticket cause I can just take a bus. ?

DSCN4509

This was the last picture on my camera from the Santiago trip. It sounded like Peruvian music, which I really love.

DSCN4570

The bus ride home was interesting.  Now I laugh about it, but at the time it was awful. I wasn’t feeling good so I was super angry about the whole situation.  There wasn’t a bus until like an hour after we got to the station. So we sat around bored as frick for an hour. Then. THEN we unknowingly got on the wrong bus! It was the 5:05 bus instead of the 5:15 bus. They checked our tickets but still let us get on, of course. We rode that bus for around 20 minutes before they realized their mistake so they took us to another station and made us change buses. That process took about twenty minutes and we all felt really embarrassed. The Chileans were looking at us like, “haha look at those stupid gringos they got on the wrong bus!” Anyways. It was an adventure and we eventually got home.

So that was my Santiago adventure.

So much blogging material

Hi Friends,

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated everyone on life! I’d like to say it’s cause I’ve been super busy with adventuring but that’s only partially true. I’ve been super busy with adventuring and haven’t been taking as many pictures AND I got sucked into a cheesy TV show about fairy tale people. I don’t even know. At any rate, I have a lot to talk about.

I don’t remember the exact days that things happened so I’m just gonna write somewhat non-chronologically everything that I can remember.

————————–

Okay, at the beginning of September, I watched the Emperor’s New Groove in Spanish with my host parents. They loved it!

————————–

Then like a week later I went to a club! First one ever, maybe my last. It was fun, but not really my thing cause of the sensory overload and my introverted little self.  But clubbing is a huge part of Chilean culture and it was really interesting to experience it first hand.

We started at a “previa” in which you go to someone’s house before the club to drink cheap/free alcohol and socialize.  I had some piscolas (Chile’s super strong national drink) and got to practice my Spanish skills with the Chileans who were there.

Then around midnight we took a bus to the club. The club was was small and dark and incredibly loud and crowded and I just told myself going in that it could either be really terrible or really fun so I just decided to not stress about personal space or trying to talk to people and just enjoy myself. So that’s what I did and it was actually a pretty good time!

I ordered another piscola and danced with my friends and watched the people (in a not creepy way haha!)  I got bored around 3:30 so I found someone to walk home with at 4 and got back around 5am.  Apparently, most Chileans stay out until 6 or something crazy like that.

So that was my experience of the Chilean party life!

————————–

I went to the beach with Tristan to work on homework but we ended up getting nothing done cause it was such a beautiful day! Also I really love people-watching. There was a guy on a skateboard carrying a boombox, a little dog who rolled in the mud, two brothers in identical yellow shirts riding a weird double bike through the park, and a tiny little toddler on a tiny little skateboard.

————————–

Chocolate Chip Cookies. I want them. I’m craving them. I have been all month! It’s crazy how you want something even more when you realize you can’t have it. It began with the number one most incredibly disappointing shopping trip of my entire life!

We went to Lider (Chilean Walmart) to buy ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies, only to discover after searching the entire store that chocolate chips are non-existent here. I mean, what kind of super store does not sell chocolate chips!?!? So we changed our menu to no-bakes and nachos. So we got the ingredients for no-bakes and went in search of cheddar cheese for the nachos. But Lider also does not sell cheddar cheese! Seriously. two letdowns so far.  THEN there was a mix up and we all left to get different things and no one stayed with the cart. When we came back … THE CART WAS GONE!  And the store was closing.  We all wanted to cry.

So we spent 2 hours in the store to get chocolate chip cookies, changed our menu, and left with ice cream, crappy empenadas, a jug of water, and our cold and empty hearts. At any rate, I still want chocolate chip cookies.

————————–

I started working out this month because I bought a ticket to Patagonia and I want to be in shape for the four days of backpacking through Los Torres del Paine park. The college has free workout classes that you can sign up for so I went to some body combat classes which is basically coordinating kickboxing the air. I also went to a trekking class and it was death. I died. It’s freakin intense.

————————–

I’m in the chorus at the university. And a few weeks ago we had a performance. It was interesting cause I didn’t know the songs very well and it was really chill and not at all what I expect from a chorus performance. But it was fun so whatever.

————————–

The next day Rossy came into my room and said “¿lista?”, which means “ready?” and I was like, “Ready for what???” Story of my life. At any rate, she said we were having “onces” (which is like a small snack of tea and sandwiches and a pastry) at the family restaurant. So I went with them.

It turns out it was Rossy’s birthday party! Most of their extended family was there and the food was really yummy but they talked for forever. You know how when adults get together they talk about people and things that you don’t know or care about so it’s really boring? Well it was that, but in Spanish. So I tuned out and read Sherlock Holmes on my iPod. Finally, several hours later, people started leaving so I walked back home. It was fun but unexpected and too long.

————————–

Apparently, my host family has a bird! The other day I was eating my lunch and noticed that the window was open. And through the window I saw a bird cage with a little blue and green parakeet inside. I walked over to look at it and noticed that it was acting stressed and panting. It had water, but I realized it was in the direct sunlight so it must be hot. I placed a blanked over half of the cage and it instantly went into the shade and spread out it’s wings like birds do when they’re trying to cool off. Poor thing! A little bit later it started singing and I realized that I’ve heard it all along but didn’t realize it was a pet bird singing! haha.

Okay so that brings us somewhat up to date. I still have to blog about this weekend (Chile’s independence week) but I have pictures for that so I’ll make it a separate post.  Stay tuned!

Peace!

Getting my feet wet

This story is from several weeks ago.

Tristan, David, Pepe (the roommate of our friend Jihoon.), and I went to Concón to take pictures of the ocean which was literally so beautiful I couldn’t even handle it. I took a few pictures but I mostly just soaked in the beauty and the sun and the sound of the crashing waves.

DSCN3741

DSCN3740 DSCN3762 

We were there for about fifteen minutes before IT happened.  Okay so the waves were pretty much all the same and they only came up to a certain point on the beach. So we figured we’d be perfectly safe if we stood two or three feet away from that line. We sure figured wrong!

Tristan was taking a picture of David and Pepe and I was taking a picture of Tristan taking a picture of David and Pepe and suddenly five ginormous waves came up all at once and crashed down and the water came up five or six feet higher on the beach than before and we realized what was happening far too late and ran for it but we couldn’t save ourselves so all four of us got completely drenched from the knees down. It was so very cold

Here is a picture of me being sad about wet feet. And another of us drying our shoes as best we could and soaking in the sun.

DSCN3784 DSCN3788

The flowers are so pretty! I always take pictures of flowers.

DSCN3791 DSCN3798

Tris noticed a ring around the sun when you look at it through sunglasses so I took a picture through my sunglasses lens and it turned out pretty cool. There’s a flock of birds too.

DSCN3810

After the beach, we found a random restaurant and Pepe made the waiter plug in his iPhone. He’s from El Salvador and rich apparently and everyone does everything for him so Tristan and I had a good laugh when he actually had someone plug in his phone for him. The food was decent and afterwards we just went home cause of our wet and sandy shoes.

It was definitely an adventure!

The Jewel of the Pacific

 

 

DSCN3819

“The Jewel of the Pacific,” aka Valparaíso, is a beautiful city right next to Viña del Mar. It is historic, artistic, and fishy. (By fishy I mean there are fish markets. …)

On Sunday, a Valparaíso native gave us a tour of the city. He told us all about the city and showed us some really cool stuff. And now I’m going to impart this fascinating knowledge to you cause everyone needs to know how awesome Valpo is.

In the glory days, Valpo was a port city. The most important port city of the pacific, because it was the first that ships would stop in after sailing around Cape Horn.

But the completion of the Panama canal in 1914 made the importance and value of Valparaiso become non-existant overnight. The booming economy crashed, hard, and the city is still struggling to recover. Today, the people of Valpo live in the memory of their city’s Golden Age.

The port is still one of the most important industries in Valparaíso. Now, instead of a hundred ships, there are maybe twenty docked in the bay. Fishermen fish and there are huge, crazy marketplaces in which the fish and vegetables are all sold right next to each other and the cats climb and weave through the baskets of cabbages and apples.

It’s a city of contrasts. Some areas are really beautiful and clean and wealthy, but you walk down a staircase and across and alley and find people living in dirt poor conditions.  It’s also extremely different from her sister city, Viña del Mar. Valpo was once wealthy, but after the earthquake in 1906, the upperclass moved to Viña or Santiago, leaving the lower class to clean up the mess. In contrast, Viña is rich with palaces and highrises and vacation homes.  And there’s only a ten minute bus ride and a sign saying “Welcome to Valparaiso” to separate the cities.

DSCN3835

The architecture of Valparaiso is fascinating! I’m not usually one to be interested in how buildings are build but this is actually cool. Okay so in 1906 there was a huge devastating earthquake that leveled the city. The people of Valpo needed to rebuild using cheap materials that would withstand earthquakes. The used wood frames filled with mud and covered it all using the sheet metal off of ships. These materials are strong but flexible so they would stand in earthquakes.

That worked well, until the metal began to rust. So the people looked to the shipyards for anti-rust paint. If the shipyards painted a boat yellow that week, they had yellow anti-rust paint so the person’s house would be yellow. Then their neighbors would say to themselves, “what an excellent idea!” and they’d head down to the shipyards for some yellow paint. But the ship dude would be out of yellow paint. However, since there was a blue boat today there was blue anti-rust paint so the neighbor’s house got painted blue. Thus, Valparaíso is a city of vibrant and unique colours.

Also, there are between 43 and 45 different “hills” or neighborhoods and each one has a unique architectural style. This is because when people began immegrating to Valpo all those years ago, the different countries would tend to live together. So there are British, German, Italian, Chilean, etc styles of architecture.

DSCN3821

 

DSCN3876

DSCN3922

Valparaíso is the art capital of Chile. The walls of buildings and the streets are covered in beautiful art and murals.  My camera died before I could take a picture of my favorite mural, so half of my adventures are undocumented, sadly.

We met some street artists and a little old Chilean man with a guitar who sang us Valparaíso’s two most famous songs.  Here are youtube links to the songs:

Osvaldo ‘Gitano’ Rodriguez – Valparaíso

La Joya del Pacífico : Jorge Farias

Here are some pictures of the amazing artwork that can be seen somewhere or other in Valparaíso.

DSCN3826 DSCN3865

DSCN3942 DSCN4022 

DSCN4042 DSCN3905

DSCN3933 DSCN3934

DSCN4000 DSCN3999

DSCN4047 DSCN3961

DSCN4041 DSCN4038

The city is a labyrinth with more staircases and broken cobblestone alleyways than streets. The best way to explore is to get lost.

DSCN3995

DSCN4046

Go to Valpo and get lost. I highly recommend it.

DSCN3888

Ukulele and the Earthquake.

Hello friends! It’s been almost a week since my last blog post and so much has happened in between then and now.

“Let me explain…no, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

I can’t possibly write about it all in great detail… So here is the update on my life in Chile.

Last Saturday, Prince Caspian took Tristan and me on a tour of the coast between Viña and Concón. His real name is Nicolas but Tristan and I think he looks a little like Prince Caspian from Narnia so it’s kind of an on-going joke between us now.  The view from the rocks is beautiful! Also some of the plants look like they come from Doctor Seuss illustrations or something. When we returned to Viña we drank coffee at Travelli and I ordered Latte Nutella. It was incredible! It even had actual nutella coated hazelnuts in it.

DSCN3478

DSCN3514

Rossy took me to her daughter’s restaurant, Ají Color. It’s really cute and the food is amazing! She encouraged me to take pictures so here is a really adorable one of her and another of Manuel and their granddaughter, Victoria.

DSCN3566 DSCN3574

Apparently, Rossy and Manuel have a second house in the hills of Valparaiso! It’s literally in the middle of nowhere. The roads are awful and I may have had mild whiplash for a few days after that drive.  But it was totally worth it because the view is breathtaking and the house is tiny and cute.

DSCN3589

DSCN3595 DSCN3597

DSCN3630

On Tuesday, Tristan jumped in the ocean cause she’s insane. And also because she was nominated for the ice bucket challenge.  Chile doesn’t have ice or buckets, so we figured total immersion in 12 degree celcius ocean water would suffice. She nominated our RD and he said later that he also jumped in the ocean but almost died. He’s dramatic so that’s probably not true but still hilarious!

I bought an ukulele! I miss my guitar from back home, and one of my goals was to learn how to play the ukulele this semester. So I bought this one for around $50USD the other day. It’s really cute and fun to play.  Thus far I have learned I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You by Elvis Presley and Screen by Twenty One Pilots.

Also,  Korean food is incredible! My friends, Jihoon and Sodam cooked us an amazingly flavorful and delicious meal that just might be the best thing I’ve eaten here so far. They made gimbob, which sort of looks like sushi but it isn’t, jae-yuk-bokkum, which is a spicy pork stir-fry, and rice. Yum! Tristan also brought a bottle of wine, which was a nice touch.

DSCN3684 DSCN3702

Now we come to the story of the most terrifying experience of my life which I never ever want to experience ever again.

This Saturday around 6:30 I was at home alone doing homework and my desk started shaking. At first I thought, “It’s a tremor!” but then it kept getting stronger and stronger and the entire house convulsed and shook from side to side and stuff was falling all over the floor and the lights were flickering on and off and I started freaking out and I realized it was a real live legit EARTHQUAKE!!!!

I was terrified and after the quake calmed down a little I started thinking about tsunamis.  I had no idea what to do and I didn’t have internet because the electricity was dead so I couldn’t look online for warnings or whatever. So I ran out to the street to see what everyone else was doing. The people were running for their cars and LEAVING. I was like oooohhh shit I don’t know how to get to the high ground quickly without a car!!!!

There was a little old lady walking towards me so I stopped her and stammered in broken and flustered Spanish, “Hi I’m from the U.S. and I don’t know what to do when there’s an earthquake!” She said something about earthquakes and tsunamis and I tried to ask her if there was going to be a tsunami or if it was safe to stay in my house but I couldn’t remember most of those words. She was really nice and told me to come stay in her house until they figure out how bad the earthquake was.

She and her granddaughter seemed pretty chill about the situation as they searched the internet and listened to the news. This helped me calm down a little.  I sat on their sofa awkwardly until we found out the earthquake was a 6.4 on the Richter Scale but there wasn’t going to be a tsunami. I thanked her and went back to my house.

Rossy and Manuel were waiting for me at the door and the lights were still out so I couldn’t contact anyone to see if they were okay and to let them know that I was okay.  Rossy convinced me to go to a birthday party with her so that I wouldn’t be all by myself in the dark. I was feeling extreeeemmelyy introverted and non-social but I am so glad I went. The house had lights and internet and dogs and delicious food and it was basically exactly what I needed after a traumatic experience like that. They also gave me two glasses of something strong and I felt prettyyy buzzed by the end of the evening. Fun times haha!

Also, apparently in Chile if the earthquake is less than a 6.5, it’s considered a “tremor.” I beg to differ. That 6.4 was DEFINITELY an earthquake as far as I’m concerned!