Monday, October 22, 2012

Te amo Viña part 2, Upcoming Elections, and English Day

Things in Chile continue to be interesting.

My second day in Viña was nice and relaxing.  I had a big breakfast with a crepe, jelly, fresh fruit, juice, tea, fresh bread, lunchmeat, and yogurt before heading out.

I went for a walk along the coast and snapped some pictures.  After that I got some hot chocolate and croissants to help with the cold weather.

 I decided to try my luck at the casino again, and after put 10.000 pesos (about 20 bucks) into the Zeus slot machine, this is what I got:

That's about 80 bucks.  I decided not to press my luck and cashed it out right away.

I tried my luck at an all you can eat restaurant, but it wasn't that great.  Then I headed back to the hostel to do some reading and enjoy some hot tea, and there were some other people there.  They're from Seattle, and we got to talk for a while.  We decided to venture out and went to a place called Cafe Journal.  It's a bar but also has room to dance and also serves food.  We decided to split some chorillana, as they had never had it before.  After a few hours we were back to the hostel and in bed.

In political news, the US election is getting lots of coverage here.  People are talking about it pretty often.  It turns out that this is also an election year in Chile, but not for the president.  It's for the mayors and representatives of each communa (municipality).  Everywhere you go you see signs like these:

They are propped up along the streets of major intersection, but they are not very sturdy.  Here's a picture from the back:

It's very easy for someone to break through them or deface them, and unfortunately you see that from time to time.  The elections are on the 28th, and from what I hear they can't sell alcohol on the day for fear of people using it to get people drunk and then getting them to vote a particular way.

The last event of importance here is English Day.  A friend of mine (who also used to be my boss) has taken on the job of being an English coordinator of some very low income schools in Santiago.  She has a tremendous amount of work and faces amazing challenges, yet she remains strong and is an incredibly positive spirit in the face of those challenges.  She asked for volunteers to come see the school and help out for the day, and so I went to help out.

When I arrived the receptionist asked for my name, and I told her Daniel.  I appeared on the list as Dan Guim, but she had some trouble writing my name correctly on the name tag.  At first she wrote Dar Guin, and I corrected her.  So then I was Dar Guim.  Then I explained that the n should be an n, but she didn't understand.  So this is how my name tag turned out:

It gave everyone a really good laugh, and I've saved it to have the memory.

The school is pretty run down, but that didn't stop the positive spirit and outlook of the staff or the students.  In preparation for the event they created posters, booklets, and magazines in English.  On the actual day they played bingo, sang songs accompanied with guitars, drum, and tambourine, put on skits, danced, and even cheerleaded.  The volunteers went around to classes and spoke in English with the students.  It was nice getting to see what they have done and to see all of the work that my friend has done in her short time there.

I'll be returning home for the holidays on December 17th, and it surprises me that it's less than 2 months away.  I'm looking forward to being home in the States again to visit, but at the same time I know I'll miss my life here in Santiago and the summer weather.  I'll be home until the end of January, so another extended period of time home but with plenty of traveling happening.  More on that in my next post.

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