Plus: A Visit to the Dentist in STGO and From Summer to Winter in 8 Hours
While we never say we regret being in a place (mostly because we don’t), we were ready to leave Santiago. We’ve also mentioned why: It’s a little rundown and a little too quiet for us, although the people are very nice. Chile as a whole is a beautiful country and we would definitely come back … but not to Santiago. I hope it’s fortunes change.
Before we left, I had a little bit of excitement. We’ve been extremely lucky because in all our travels (except for one vacation in Costa Rica several years ago), we haven’t needed medical treatment — until now. While eating a bowl of oatmeal Wednesday, I heard a crunch and was thinking there was something really icky in my food. I was right: It was part of a crown on my back molar (I keep telling her that all this healthy food isn’t good for her). At first, I thought I would hold out until we got to Mexico City, but it was bugging me and I didn’t want to wait. I asked at my Spanish school and they suggested the clinic down the street.
In Chile, clinic means private medical care, including emergency services and hospital. Hospitals are public.
After school, my teacher walked me over there, helped me get registered and then took off since I was supposed to have an hour wait. An hour and a half later, I asked the receptionist what was up. Turns out the dentist had a real emergency, a dental surgery. I was really hungry and feeling like I should just go home, but instead, I headed to a food truck and got a gigantic seitan sandwich that I could only eat half of. When I got back, the wait was down to 20 minutes, so there I sat.
I managed to explain myself to the dentist in Spanglish and I mostly understood his Spanish. I was out of there five minutes later with a filling — all for about $150. Pero … two days later the rest of the crown fell out. Back I went to the clinic, this time for a 45-minute wait and a different dentist who spoke no English, he covered the rest of my tooth as a temporary solution. Tomorrow, I have an appointment with a dentist in Mexico City so I can get a new crown. Wish me luck (Good luck!).
All-in-all, the clinic experience was positive. Everyone was very nice and patient with my so-so Spanish, plus it didn’t break the bank.
Thursday, we went to The Jazz Corner, with Rania. We heard — kind of blues? Random American music.Steven’s favorite was a rendition of “UnchainS my Heart” and mine was “Moostang Sally.” I know I shouldn’t make fun of people’s accents, but it was funny. The band was pretty good, but the singer left a lot to be desired. It sort of sums up Santiago: It’s fine, but not great. Everyone is nice and trying hard, but only partially succeeding. The company was great, though (Rania is going on a road trip next week to Atacama and is taking a 24 hour bus ride from Atacama to Valparaiso!).
For our last meal in Santiago, we chose to have the papas fritas with toppings at Papachecos again. That says a lot about the food there. It is a bit uninspired.
Saturday morning, we arose at 5 a.m. for our flight to CDMX. I didn’t realize just how large South America is, but it is about an 8-hour flight. (It is more than 4,000 miles.) Luckily, we upgraded to the comfy business class seats for not a crazy amount extra (but we do owe $$ to charity, Steven!). We stopped at the LatAm lounge and tanked up on coffee. On the plane, we dozed, watched movies, and ate. We were the second and third off the plane and there was no line at immigration. We were out of the airport and in a taxi, with the OK to stay here 180 days if we so choose in about half an hour.
We quickly unpacked and made it to about 9:30 p.m. (which was 12:30 for us) before we crashed for the night.
We forgot that we were shifting from summer to winter when we got here. We were particularly puzzled by the sunset time of 6:30 p.m. What? So early! In Santiago, the sun set around 9 and rose around 7-7:30 a.m. It’s a weird time zone because Lima, Peru, which is pretty much directly north, is two hours behind Santiago.
It is also chilly at night. Like, actually chilly. Not 70 degrees chilly. People here are wearing winter coats, which is a bit of overkill, but if you get up early and it’s 50 degrees and that’s the coldest you’re used it, maybe it’s understandable. It does get into the mid-70s, maybe 80 during the day, so no complaints here.
Sunday, we spent the day getting organized. Every time we move into a new space, we check to see what’s missing. This time, we needed a colander, storage containers, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and spices. Plus, of course, food. We stumbled upon a street market with several restaurants and since we didn’t eat dinner Saturday night, we ended up stopping for brunch(?). You basically sit at long folding tables on plastic chairs and the food is cooked on portable grills right in front of you. The place we went had vegan meat. I ordered chilachiles and didn’t realize it came with the vegan meat, so I asked if they had eggs. The guy said no, but then one of the chefs went to another booth and got one for me. Nice! We managed to communicate in Spanish and he explained the 10 different kinds of sauces: three-levels of picante, ensalada, y dulce. Boy did we miss comida picante! Steven had chicken enchiladas that were also muy rico. We were very happy.
Afterwards, we walked to my school, signed up for a gym, and went to Mercado Medellin, an indoor fruit, veg, meat, fish, and random other stuff market right near us. We had an adventure trying fruit we’d never seen before (again, everyone was muy amable), and bought lots of fresh produce. We dropped that off and headed to the Asian market for more supplies. Finally, we hit the regular supermarket for the few things we still needed.
Still, we didn’t have a colander, so we tried the outdoor market, but it mostly had clothes, toys, and some makeup. Then, we went to the weirdest department store I have been in and I have been in department stores that sell motor bikes. Sanborns was one floor and had a tiny selection of about everything you would expect to find in a department store. One shelf of kitchen appliances, two racks of women’s clothes, one display case of electronics, etc. Weird. It was in a mall where upstairs there was a store called, “Canadian Store.” Basically, a dollar store where we were able to get the rest of the kitchen items we needed. Phew!
Getting all this done early helps us feel at home. Now we are sitting in our new living room watching football.