Sunday, April 11, 2010


Our bus leaves the hostel tomorrow morning at 6:20am to bring us to the bus station, whence we go up to Viña del Mar, where our host families and Regional Coordinator will meet us. The hostel is a zoo right now because the faraway people, about half the Ministry group, are leaving tonight: photos, goodbyes, exchanging contact info, hallways overflowing with luggage.

I made a friend last week at the Zen sitting, Pedro; afterward, he said that his wife wanted something sweet and if he didn't bring it he might as well not come home, so we hung out and chatted for 45 minutes or so during his whole adventure of collecting stuff at the grocery store. I think I caught 60-80% of what he was saying, and he said he had a párcel somewhere outside of town where he was doing something that involved planting trees, and they have a picnic there every weekend and if I wanted to come, just ask. I was ill last weekend, but I called him Friday and we arranged for him to pick me up near the hostel.

at Pedro's place

It's a ways outside town, about 45-60 minutes, in Calera de Tango. It turns out it's not a getaway place: Pedro and his British wife Joanne are getting it ready to move into full-time. Their British friend Penny came along too, so it was mostly Spanish conversation with some English, which Pedro understands some of. I hadn't known what to expect, except I got the sense it was a work in progress, so I was prepared to help out with yardwork or whatever as being the nice way to spend the time.

When we arrived, their gate was shut and a dump truck full of smooth soccer-ball-sized rocks was waiting, destined for the large square hole forming the leech field for the septic system. Unfortunately the guy managed to dump only a third of the rocks actually into the hole, leading Pedro to shrug and say, "No problem, I guess we'll, um, move them by hand." There's a very Zen chilenismo, "es lo que hay"--"that's what there is". So in between watering the plants and eating lunch, we spent a few hours throwing rocks into a hole.

we moved all these rocks

Here's the full photoset.

After passing out both in the car and back in my room, I joined the WorldTeach group for dinner at Las Vacas Gordas, which was awesome and you should go eat there. I got a scalopa, which was flattened steak stuffed with arugula and mozzarella, breaded and fried. It was delicious enough, but Allyson won by asking for whatever the waiter recommended, and getting some perfectly-cooked thing that might have been a skirt steak, but was just falling apart and amazing and delicious.

Today was supposed to be pretty mellow, but I needed to get money, then went and met a crowd for gringo breakfast at Café Melba (delicious, one of the few places you can actually get eggs for breakfast), and then my plans to lounge around and read were hijacked by suggestions of going to the Los Dominicos artisan market, which was really nice. I decided not to buy anything, since I'm expecting to be back in Santiago at least a few times, for visiting Aikido Hakusan and retrieving Anna and whatever else.

My disappointment about Valparaíso is falling away, and I'm getting excited about the possibilities. Our host families are supposed to meet us at the bus station in Viña del Mar tomorrow; I'll know more then, and I'll write again whenever I can.

No comments:

Post a Comment