After a rather interesting, and upsetting, night, I woke up at eight to start the new day. My roommates were burned out from being out late, so I got up before them, showered, packed, and headed out to the dining area to meet the rest of my friends for breakfast. Despite the rather shabby surroundings, the food was good, and I had chocolate cereal and grapefruit juice for breakfast.
It took a while for everyone to get up and going, but once everyone was out of bed and (somewhat) awake, we were ready to load up the bus and head to the beach!
First, we stopped in the city and walked to the park, where we saw the home of another famous poet that was being restored after an earthquake, and the municipal amphitheater, where concerts and other large events are held in the city. The amphitheater was supposed to be our last stop before the beach, but as we were leaving, we discovered that the Valparaiso Classic Car Club was having a show in the park, so we took a break from our scheduled program to check out the antique cars. There were all sorts of neat vehicles, from a Ford Model A, to a classic Firebird, to a VW Bus and a German Messerschmidt. There were even three old-fashioned fire trucks there, and we got our pictures sitting in the driver’s seat!
Once we had finished and caught back up with the bus, we rode back to the coast, and stopped at the same restaurant for lunch. It was mostly the same, except we had three choices for lunch this time, and I had an albacore steak with roast potatoes. Oh, I wish I had the right words for describing how good that was! We also had another surprise when two traveling musicians showed up at the restaurant and put on an impromptu concert for everyone in the restaurant! I only wish I had enough cash to buy one of their CDs, they were really good. After a round of Pisco (ick) and dessert liquor (ack), we thanked our hosts and headed back to the bus to drive to the beach.
There is really nothing like being at the beach and looking out to sea. Once we got off the bus and did a quick sprint across the highway, we quickly took our shoes off and headed out into the sand. Because it was winter, everyone was forbidden from swimming, but that didn’t stop us from burying our feet in the sand and playing chicken with the incoming tide. After my pants were thoroughly soaked and covered with sand, I met up with three of my friends, and we walked down to the other side of the beach to see what else was along the coast. There was the usual string of vendors selling cold drinks and ice cream (I bought a Coke), but my favorite part had to be the series of retired naval cannons and guns mounted in a row along the beach. As ridiculous as it sounds, I got to play artillery commander, pretending to give orders to a crew operating the guns, and I had my picture taken sitting in the gunner’s seat of a 40mm Bofors Autocannon. Yeah, I like military stuff. So what?
We were at the beach for a good two hours or so, but by 4 o’clock, we were all getting tired, and were ready to head back to Santiago. I slept for most of the trip, and when my housemates and I got home, we had a hearty dinner of beef stew and bread, and retired for the night. I don’t think any of us had enough energy to do a whole lot that night besides crawl into bed and conk out.
Well, so ends my first weekend excursion, and my first full week here in Santiago, but there is still more to come! Coming soon, Week 2 of school, and Weekend Trip #2. Until next time, God bless and stay well!