Slowly getting settled

Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
Trip End Aug 2006

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Flag of Chile  ,
Sunday, February 19, 2006

After a full day and a full night on Delta airlines, I landed here in Chile on Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. local time (two hours more than east coast time). The next two days were spent on orientation-information sessions and lectures on security with the 40 other Americans. Nothing I hadn't heard before, and not worth mentioning. Santiago de Chile, after all, is far safer than Quito, Ecuador was, and much easier to get around.

My host family picked me up from the hotel in a Mercedes, and I live here in a palace of sorts. Five bedrooms upstairs, one downstairs. Four bathrooms. Pool. WiFi internet. Admittedly, the house is in mild disrepair, having been built decades ago. But the neighborhood is full on wide boulevards, trees and shade.

I have five live-in brothers, all older than me (the youngest 24, the oldest 30). Who after all, would want to leave this majesty. However, added to the culture shock and the language barrier is this immersion in la clase alta. I have extraordinary freedom because there is little or no set schedule in the house, as a result of the large family and the variety of activities the younger ones undertake. Rarely is everyone at home. Accustoming myself to this will be my great challenge, but I'm looking forward to it.

Classes won't start for another week at the universities (i'll have to attend three to get all of my classes, because liberal arts educations do not exist down here), though I have a course in contemporary Chilean history next week, offered by the program. This weekend though, i'm left to wander, and I've done that, walking across the city, down the wide avenues and through the parks. The Metro (subway) system here is actually far nicer, newer and better maintained than the one in DC i've grown accustomed to.

And that's what I'll do tomorrow, holding out hope to meet some Chileans. Maybe I'll see the Presidential palace where ex-president Salvador Allende was bombed by his own country's air force (under the command of General Pinochet) on 9/11/73. Next week, I'll reunite with the gringos. And once we've exchanged phone numbers, touring the city won't be such a solitary experience.

Until my next entry ...
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lsgfourme on

hey you
hey austin' so glad to see other people using this wonderful site! i look forward to reading your updates, and there had better be some austin-adventures ;)

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