Not this weekend because it’s ISP crunch time, but both of ISP’s other weekends, I have traveled. The first weekend Joanna and I went to Viña del Mar and Valparaiso (two beach towns right next to each other). We woke up on a Saturday morning and went to the bus station, bought tickets on the next bus, and arrived in Viña with no plans other than that I wanted to go to the pickup frisbee game at 4. It was marvelous. We sat on the beach eating strawberries, palta, and cheese, and reveling in how cool and Chilean we were being. Joanna came and watched the frisbee game and then we went out for delicious cake with my frisbee aquigos (aquigo= acquaintance + amigo. It’s a term we made up for people in Chile whom you call your friends because you know them and they’re cool and nice, but in any other circumstances you’d admit that they’re more of an acquaintance).
After cake we wandered around Viña looking for a hostel that wasn’t full and finally ended up staying in this cute but kind of strange place in which we were the only Americans and the only youth I think. But we got our own room and it included breakfast. We were incredibly excited to have figured everything out with time to spare before 10, because we really wanted to go to this falafel place that was closing. When we got there they were still open and making food, but told us they weren’t making falafels anymore… okayyyy we ate empanadas instead. This was our downfall.
Joanna got food poisoning. The next morning she could not move but also didn’t want to take a bus at that moment. We left later that afternoon. Joanna missed out on Pablo Neruda’s other other house, which wasn’t much. She made it almost all the way back to Santiago without throwing up.
Last weekend the entire Santiago crew (Joanna, Simona, Jordan and I) went north. We arrived at the bus terminal after Shabbat services Friday night to find that there were no tickets left to La Serena, oops. Andres (who has now taken both me and Simona on dates) and his mom, who had driven us there (they’re some of our Jewish friends, don’t even worry about it), wouldn’t leave until we had tickets. We bought passage to Ovalle, a small town that is almost as north as La Serena, and where there is actually nothing to do. We had to wait there, deliriously eating strawberries and drinking coffee, from 6 am until 8:30 when we could take a bus to La Serena, a beach town. We visited La Serena and Vicuña, and stayed in a sweet hostel. We all brought food from our houses and ended up buying only a quarter of a wheel of goat cheese, a pack of cookies, one avocado, and three ice creams between us the whole weekend. Some highlights include:
-A tour of a pisco factory (pisco is Chilean liquor made of grapes, it was really cool)
-A night time trip to an observatory, as Vicuña is known for having the clearest skies in the world. I saw constellations I’d always kind of thought were made up, like cancer. Also Orien was upside down because we’re in the southern hemisphere. When we bought our tickets they were like well you can go but it’ll be you guys plus a group of elderly Chileans who are part of a tour. So yeah, that was funny. When we peeled off from the group and just laid on the ground and actually stargazed, all the old people found us hilarious.
-Our hostel owner passing us in his car when we were wandering around the neighborhood portion of Vicuña to see what it was all about, and stopping to make sure we weren’t lost.
– A free ice cream sample received in the following manner: We’re walking by an ice cream shop. A young man appears in the doorway and says here, try this ice cream and hands me what appeared to be a mini cone full of ice cream. Thanks I say, what flavor? “don’t worry” he says, in English. Simona, Joanna, and I somehow manage to get about 9 licks out of that mini cone and still can’t figure out what flavor it is. Wow, one of them says to me, I can’t believe how non-chalantly you just accepted the end of that dude’s ice cream cone. I mean, I was down once you said yes, but that was pretty ridiculous. What? So apparently it just hadn’t occurred to me that 1) they don’t make cones that small 2) the top of the cone was broken and 3) he really just gave us the end of his ice cream cone that he’d been eating. I just hadn’t thought about it. Both of them thought it was glaringly obvious. I found this all incredibly funny and still have a tendency to laugh in a debilitating kind of hysterics whenever someone brings it up.