Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sledding down sand dunes

So this weekend was an adventure I wasn't expecting to have.
I arrived in Valparaiso (Valpo for short) around 11, and it was good to see Donny and Allison again.  Erin (one of many in our program, I hadn't seen her since my 2nd week here) was also visiting, so we were a group of four.

After we got back to their place and got some lunch (for me, for them it was breakfast) Donny asked me "So do you want to sled down some sand dunes today?"  My answer:  "Sure, why not?"

The bus ride to Concon (where the sand dunes were) felt more like a ride in a getaway bus from Grand Theft Auto.  We were passing cars, taxis, and other busses left and right, and the sudden lane changes added to the excitement.  We all squished against each other as we went around the curves, we felt like we were on the Tilt A Whirl.  I was wondering if we would tip over at the speed we were going.

We made it to Concon in one piece, and then we saw the sand dunes.  Now I thought they would be some hills of sand that were cool to check out, but these sand dunes were MASSIVE.  After renting some sleds, we made our way up to the top of the dunes, and Donny put his waxing skills to good use:

Once the boards were waxed up, we were ready to go.  Erin and I went first.  She hopped right on and flew down the sand dune, and she didn't even use her feet as brakes to stop.  I wiped out and ended up with sand in my face, hair ears, jeans, shoes, socks, and jeans pockets.  I'm suprised it didn't make it into my nether regions.

It was an awesome ride down, but the hike back up was rough.  Unfortunately there wasn't any ski lift to make the trip back up easier.

After returning the sleds (we rented them for an hour) we decided to explore more of the sand dunes.  Along the way we found people sandboarding (like snowboarding), a motorcycle parked along the way, and surprisingly even more sand.  Donny and Erin decided to run down some sand dunes at top speed to see how they would land, and I decided to do the same but with a smaller one.

We saw a nice view with some cliffs and rocks out by the ocean, so we started to make our way out there.  After wandering down more sand dunes, through some brush, and crossing the road right along the coast we made our way out to the coast:

Sinc we were right along the main road we were able to take a bus from there back to Valpo.  After knocking the sand out of allstuff we rested up and got some Peruvian food for dinner.  There was delicious bread with some sauces, and here was my dinner of rice with chicken:

Our plan after that was to go to a kareokee bar, but it turns out that they weren't doing karokee that night.  So it was a low key night back at Donny and Allison's place.  The following morning we went out for some breakfast, and I got some panqueques (which were more like crepes than pancakes) with some hot chocolate.  After that I decided to make my way back to Santiago.

It was a really nice visit, and a nice escape from Santiago.  Next time I visit I will go to the empanada place twice (they were closed each time I tried to go this weekend), check out the Easter Island Museum, and also go to a comic book museum for a famous comic strip character that was also closed.

Besides traveling, life back in Santiago has been good.  I am feeling more included with the teachers at my school, and I feel like I now have my free time filled with social activities and with teaching extra classes to bring in some more money.  I went to a German-speaking event at a local pub, and it was nice getting to practice my German and meet some new people.

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