So I know I haven’t written a blog post in a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing cool Chile things. I’ve done quite a bit since I left Arica a little more than two weeks ago. I’ve actually done so much that I couldn’t come up with a single title for this post, so I decided to call it SPDABCVVDMSCEPD, which stands for: San-Pedro-de-Atacama-Birthday-Celebrating-Valparaíso-Viña-del-Mar-Sandboarding-Cerro-Exploring-Project-Doing. Which is what I’ve been up to, más o menos.
First off, let me tell you about San Pedro. My friends and I took an 11 hour, overnight bus south from Arica to visit this small touristy village, super close to the border between Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. We hosteled it for three nights, and went to see some pretty crazy awesome rocks and wildlife during the day. Here are some pictures:
Our first night, we went to see “Valle de la Luna,” where we were able to watch the sunset and the moonrise at almost exactly the same time:
For the other two days, we went on tours of the surrounding nature reserves, national and regional parks, etc.:
On the last day, we woke up early at 4:30 am to go see the Geysers of Tatio up in the mountains. They are most active in the very early morning, and as an added bonus, we got to see the sunrise through the geyser mist.
So that was San Pedro de Atacama. Definitely one of the better weekend trips I’ve taken. On Tuesday, which just happened to be my birthday, we flew from the airport in Calama (about an hour out from San Pedro) to Santiago, where I took a bus to Valparaíso and then took the metro to Viña del Mar, which is where I’ll now be living for the month of May with a new host family. My friend and I stopped in Santiago to explore a little bit, and to have lunch with my host brother from my Arican family, who goes to school in Santiago. After our delicious lunch of fresh fish and salads, my bro gave me a “birthday bread” to celebrate the occasion:
After lunch, it was time to get back on the bus to come to Valparaíso. During the month of May, each student in my program gets to choose any city in Chile to live and carry out their own research project on a subject of their choice. I chose to live in Viña del Mar, which is just a little north of Valparaíso (or Valpo for short). The city of Valpo is known for its rich culture: the colorful houses are built up on hills that overlook the ocean, and many of the buildings have beautiful murals painted by various people from all over the world. In Viña, I will be studying the services that are available here for children with disabilities. So while I don’t actually have to go to class at all, I will be shadowing and surveying various professionals and parents in the region. Here’s just a glimpse of the awesome city of Valparaíso:
Finally, this post wouldn’t be complete without pictures from my latest adventure: sandboarding in the sand dunes of Concón yesterday (which I can still feel in my ultra-sore neck muscles due to various face plants):
So there you have it, the complete SPDABCVVDMSCEPD and a little bit more. It’s been an awesome past two weeks, and it’s crazy to think that I only have about two or three left!