|The view from our new apt. (doesn't do it justice)|
|Aunt Teri w/ Mike sneaking|
We've spent the first 3ish weeks exploring the city, looking for work, and going to a bunch of carretes (parties). A few things that one must understand about Chilean nightlife:
- People smoke a ton of cigarettes
- Booze is cheap and plentiful
- You don't go to dinner before 10pm
- You don't show up at a party until 1am at the earliest
- If you want to leave a party at 5:30am, you are a chicken (according to Charlie)
Apart from all the late nights, the exploration of Santiago has been challenging (language, lack of letter/number street grid, sun on the other side of the sky) but very exciting. This is a beautiful city, despite pollution which can obstruct the view. Two things that we did not expect but have found a lot of here are graffiti and marches (related to recent educational reform protests) and stray dogs. There are stray dogs EVERYWHERE. They are not vicious and people tend to pay them no mind. Interesting side note: lots of stray dogs, but not lots of stray dog sh*t ... strange.
|Us w/ Charlie & Vale|
|Awesome seafood @ Mercado Central (ignore the face)|
The biggest and best developments thusfar have come only in the past few days. For one, we found a killer (mostly) furnished apt. in Santiago Centro. It is on the 21st floor of a doorman building across the street from a police station and near many stores, bars, cafes, metro stops, and restaurants. Best part, the living room has a floor to ceiling window wall that leads out to our balcony. The panorama above is of that view. From our apartment we have incredible views of Cerro San Cristobal, eastern Santiago, and the Andes. When we first saw the view, we both knew this was exactly what we had been looking for (it helped that we had a few beers beforehand). The apt. also has an exercise room, bike rack, laundry, and a rooftop deck/patio (quincho) w/ swimming pool and grill. The view from the roof is 360 degrees of pure Santiago.
|Cajon del Maipu|
The other goods news involves jobs, but we'll hold off on that until the jobs are landed. Apart from jobs, hopefully this week Matt will finally get into the mountains which have been torturing him so. They are so close, yet he hasn't been able to get to them yet. Now that we have a more permanent home, it seems to be the appropriate time to put a bunch of stuff in a bag, stick out his thumb, and get the hell out of there and into those mountains! We did make it out of the city one day to Cajon del Maipu, a massive canyon system southeast of Santiago. The bus ride out there was crazy: speeding driver, bus never fully stopping, swerving, etc.). That taste of the outdoors made Matt hungry for more and bigger. The first trip out will have to be solo, but hopefully he'll make some contacts while in the mountains (it's surprisingly hard to make friends as a 27 y/o male who doesn't speak the language well, "Quieres ser amigos?").