Thursday, February 25, 2010

Moving in, finding my school, and touring the city

Yesterday morning I got my things packed and moved into my apartment.  Seeing that I have so little compared to whenever I've had to move before it was really easy.

As of now, my room only has the bed, a small dresser, and a nightstand.  Mario (my landlord) has offered to take me shopping to get a desk and an armoire (or something similar) to help store the rest of my stuff on Saturday.  He has even called to check in that I moved in without a problem and if I needed anything at all.

After that I decided to scope out my school and the surrounding neighborhood, and it turned out to be quite the adventure.  I naively thought that since my school (Colegio San Marcos) is on the street Rodrigo de Araya that it would be best to get there by going to the metro stop named Rodrigo de Araya.  After walking about 7 blocks, I was relieved to find a bus stop.  People told me that the 511 goes right down the street, and I would be on it for about 10 minutes to get to my school.

Well, it turns out they were wrong.  It took a turn after a few blocks, and I explained to the bus driver where I needed to go.  He simply acknowledged I was on the wrong bus and should take another one, yet he would not open the doors for me or advise me as to what bus to take.  I had to ask him for about 3 stops in a row to pull over and let me off before he finally did.

Being the genius that I am, I did not think to bring a detailed map with me.  I called to try and get help, but it didn't work.  So I asked a woman at a bus stop, and it turns out I was able to take a different numbered bus  in the same direction Mr. Don't Let Me Off the Bus was going.

I took the bus to the stop they advised me to, and it was on the corner of a Jumbo.  Jumbo is kind of a like a one stop shopping place.  The best equivalent to the States is Walmart, but it is higher quality and doesn't seem to have the bad reputation that Walmart does.  For those that have been to Germany, it is very much like a Marktkauf.

I walked a block down the way and came across the Gimnasio Pacifico, which our program offers a discount with.  I checked it out and it looks pretty basic but very convenient since it would be on the way to and from my school.

Then I hopped on another bus and got to my school about 5 minutes later.  I couldn't go inside, but here is the view from the outside:

It is also across from a supermarket, which is perfect since there isn't one near my apartment. 

Afterwards I started to make my way back, and I did some shopping at Jumbo.  I got things I'll need like a laundry basket, ironing board, and iron along with some other small things.  I also got a bite to eat at their food court.  Beef mongolia, vegetable stew, juice, and rice milk:

On the way back home, I realized that I can take a bus directly from the major intersection of my apartment to the intersection of Jumbo, and then hop on another bus that drops me off right in front of my school.  I don't think it will take me longer than 35 minutes to commute each way, which will be really nice.

Then this morning I took a bike tour of Santiago.  Everyone else in the group didn't wake up in time, so I got my own personal tour.  The first stop was Pablo Neruda's house.  Apparently this was his 2nd house, and it was a hideaway to meet with his secret lover Matilda.  Its name means messy hair and refers to her hair, and if you look at the windows you will see a P for Pablo and an M for Matilda:


There is also a mini open air theater next to it, along with pillars that have one of his famous poems inscribed into them:

We then biked through Patronato (which is an area inhabited with the largest Palestinean population outside of Palenstine) and Bellavista (an area with lots of nightlife, restaurants, music, and shops).  Then it was off to La Vega, the largest and most popular farmer's market in Santiago.  They sell everything fresh and cheap there, and here is some of the stands I bought fruit and plantains from:

I was even able to get cereal at a discount.  The tour guide and I stopped and got some hot chocolate while I took in the sounds and smells that were surrounding me.  The market was bustling with people making purchases, sellers yelling out their prices, and the occasional stray cat and dog weaving their way in and out of the people and crates of food.

Then it was off to Plaza de las Armas, which is the main center of Santiago.  Every major city in Chile has a Plaza de las Armas, and it is named after where soldiers would put their guns and weapons when they were not fighting.  The post office, national musuem, and cathedral were all around the plaza, and apparently they mesaure from the very center of one Plaza de las Armas to another in any other city in Chile to determine the distance between them in kilometers.

About halfway through the tour we had someone else join along:

From time to time he would go astray to sniff something or see other dogs, but he followed us until the end of the tour.  Although there are a good amount of stray cats and dogs here, people seem to take care of them and they seem pretty well fed.

I already finished the plantains I bought at the market but have grapes, bananas, and tomatos for the next few days now.  Tomorrow I get to go to my school and meet the teachers.  I'm excited but nervous at the same time.

1 comment:

  1. Cool! And a personal tour, at that! Glad you are having fun.