Archive for July, 2012

aloha Antofagasta

July 29, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

This morning I woke up and took an airplane north to Antofagasta! The plane was LAN Chile and it was a new airbus. Pretty nice! Antofagasta is on the ocean, and it’s in the very dry part of Chile. On one side is the ocean and on the other side is mountainous desert.

After checking in, I walked around the town a bit to get my bearings for my work day tomorrow. It’s not that big. I stayed by the water today but am looking forward to seeing what it’s like more inland. I got to meet a 5 week old puppies that were brothers and watched a rugby competition for a while!

I took the first picture on my walk along the ocean boardwalk. It was nice to walk today because there were tons of people out doing their thing.

The second picture is of the rugby match and the city. In the evening, I had a glass of wine at the hotel bar and watched Olympic lifting.

Love, Annie

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Valle Nevado and Goodbye Santiago!

July 28, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope all is well. Even though I’m pretty sick, I’ve had a nice last two days. Yesterday was especially exciting because I went skiing at Valle Nevado. It had been my dream to go skiing in the Andes for a long long time. This is one of the views from my favorite trail. Looking the other way (the last photo of this blog post) I could see the smog over Santiago. I had no idea how smoggy it was here.

Getting to Valle Nevado was quite a pain in the ass, but totally worth it. I woke up extremely early and went to the rental place. Turns out, the guy who was giving out the skis was from Vermont and we had a nice conversation while I was in line (there were a lot of lines to wait in before the mountain). He went out of his way to make sure I had great quality equipment, which was extremely cool! The boots were comfortable all day, and the skis worked great.

The ride to the mountain was on a bus with a bunch of other people. Once we got there, I immediately hit the slopes. The snow was really fair, as it hasn’t snowed in three weeks, but the scenery was breathtaking. I met a 8th grader from Sao Paulo on the first chairlift up, and he spoke awesome English so we talked the whole way. There are a lot of Brasilians that go skiing at Valle Nevado!

I made my way around the mountain until I found my favorite trail, way to the right side of the mountain. Not visible in this second photo. I skied that about six times and then stopped for lunch. Just as I thought things couldn’t get any better, I remembered i brought my iPod so I whipped it out and skied to some awesome tunes. I went to lunch at about 1:45 thinking maybe I won’t bump into that man I made plans with the day before. He was there, but was already in the middle of eating and also he was inside. I wanted to eat outside, problem solved. I got Empanadas, Tomato Soup, and a Pisco Sour and made my way to a nice sunny table.

Turns out it was very lucky I sat where I did! As I was finishing up, a guy sat down right near me, and I noticed he spoke english so we started talking and he joined me at my table. Turns out Jon is from Philadelphia and went to college in Boston! We had a lot in common and lots to talk about. He is nearing the end of an after-college summer trip to South America and has traveled down the continent by bus from Panama City! Wow. When we were done with lunch, we skied together all afternoon. We took awesome action photos and I’m so happy to have met him, what an awesome surprise.

The bus ride back was uneventful, and we hit some traffic. Here’s a picture from the beginning of the ride home. There are a lot of hairpin turns to get down the mountain (up it too… but I was sleeping for most of the ride in the morning).

I got back to my hotel and was feeling so sick (my throat and nose are still bothering me) and tired by that point that I couldn’t make the effort to go out and get dinner. I ordered room service and watched TV and then tried to sleep.

I woke up this morning to a nice, painful surprise. I made a point to put on sun screen yesterday, but apparently not enough because I have a really stupid and silly looking sunglasses-burn on my face. It’s so embarrassing. It’s a clear line under my eyes where the sunglasses were, I look like a reverse raccoon. 

I went down to reception this morning to ask for some help with work, and the lady there laughed at me. I had an interesting time working today and going into the last few stores because people were looking at me really funny. Between that and feeling pretty sick, getting work done today was definitely a struggle. I bought some medicine at a pharmacy this afternoon, some decongestant and de-sinus pain medicine, and it seems to be helping a bit. It took away the pressure in my head and some of the sniffles. I still don’t have the energy to go out for dinner, so I’m going to get froyo again across the street and come back, pack, and watch a movie.

Next stop, Antofagasta!

Love, Annie

another nice day!

July 26, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

It will be a short one today because Im getting up very early to go skiing tomorrow 🙂 and need to get to bed. Today I got up and had another successful meeting during which I took a woman out for coffee and alfajores yum yum. After some more work I went to this sandwich place Fuente Alemana that’s pretty famous and Anthony Bourdain went there in his Chile episode of No Reservations. A co worker recommended the Lomo Completo, which you can see in the picture. It was pretty tasty but I still feel funny eating large amounts of pork.

I met a man there Hector and practiced speaking Spanish with him. He said he was a psychologist. I said I was going skiing tomorrow and he said Me too! and I asked where and he said, Valle Nevado, which is where I’m going! I said He has car and do I want to go with him in his car. No way! (jose)! but I may meet him for lunch on the mountain.

After lunch, I worked all afternoon, and sat at the hotel bar and worked more and drank tea with honey and lemon because I think I might be a little sick because my throat hurts especially when I swallow, and i’m abnormally tired and have been getting a little nauseated at points during the day.

For dinner, I tried to go to this place Tiramisu which is also highly recommended.

The concierge said it would be no problem to go there for one person and I didn’t need a reservation. I walked there and noticed there was a big line out the door to get a table, I would have had to wait at least a half hour for the non smoking section.

Usually I don’t care if there’s smoking in a restaurant, especially if it’s ventilated in the proper way as many restaurants are, but I wasn’t up for sitting in a smokey area due to my current health situation. I tried to go to the bar because I could eat there immediately but too smokey. So I left the restaurant and went to a very clean aired seafood place to get some ceviche. It wasn’t too much food but made me full. By the way the second picture is just a cute area I found while walking to the lunch place.

Now I’m drinking hot water with lemon (just like my Bubbie 🙂 ) and am excited to get into bed and catch up on my Drawsome games before sleeping.

Love, Annie

Santiago Tres

July 25, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was another great day in Santiago! I got up early for a meeting, leaving plenty of travel time because I didn’t know how far I needed to go. Turns out, the office was five minutes away so I ate another breakfast like yesterdays at the hotel. I took this first picture from the gym on the 20th floor of the hotel when I went to check it out. It’s a small gym but they have some nice equipment.

The first meeting was delightful. The realtor was so kind and was actually from Virginia but has lived in Chile for 40 years! She scared me big time when we talked about earthquakes. Apparently northern Chile is due for a major earthquake. Thats where I’m going on Sunday. They’ve been having “small” tremors like 5 ish on the richter scale and usually tremors precede a big quake. I’ve never experienced an earthquake in my life, even that one last year that went up the east coast of the US. She told me what to do to make sure I’m prepared for an earthquake. For example, make sure you have shoes and a flashlight easily accessible because the power goes out when theres an earthquake (and so does the heat). And you’re supposed to leave the building but only after the earthquake stops so you’ll need to find your shoes in the dark.

After that meeting, I had another meeting with a relocation agent. He picked me up from my hotel and immediately I knew it was going to be a fun time. We saw all the residential neighborhoods which was so interesting, and then went to a very fancy lunch. We ate an appetizer called “only for the brave” which included big shrimps, octopus, fish cubes, and calamares, and other mariscos (seafoods). Then we got Conger (an Ridiculously enormous eel… look it up. I wish I hadn’t seen those google images …) with fries and an egg and onions. The conger tasted just like a white fish. It was Delicious. Apparently this is a typical dish. I had no idea eels could be this big.

After the meeting, I worked for the rest of the afternoon. Come dinnertime, I couldn’t bear the thought of having another rich meal, so I went and got froyo. That second picture is me with my big frozen yogurt with fruit and granola. It was not as good as Boston’s Berryline but still delicious. I’m very happy about the dinner.

That’s all for tonight. Hope all is well. Love, Annie

Working and Eating in Santiago

July 24, 2012

Hola Familia y Amigos,

Hope all is well. As you can see my spanish is improving! Today was an Awesome day. I woke up and the sun was shining. I had a tasty breakfast at the hotel.

They have a kind of guacamole at the break fast buffet so I made myself a nice sandwich with that, tomatoes, cheese, and salami and had some pineapples (pieces, not whole pineapples) on the side. After planning a skiing excursion for this weekend with the concierge, I set off for the first mall. This first picture is a view from outside of the mall in the afternoon when I was leaving. Gosh I love mountains. The mall was big and I didn’t have a problem in any of the stores, which was really fortunate. I’ve been explaining what I’m doing to the store people (in Spanish!) when they come up to me to see why I’m writing things down. Every person seems pretty satisfied with the explanation and walks away. I’m not sure if I do an amazing job explaining, or they just don’t want to bother with someone who can’t speak their language. Hopefully it’s the former! There was also a Merrell store in the mall and I didn’t spend any money there, a personal victory.

For lunch, I went to an Indian restaurant. Our company has started to get prices from Indian restaurants which is cool. After checking out the menu for the prices, I decided to eat there. I took a great HD video of the restaurant and my lunch for my amigo Alan, who is very enthusiastic about Indian food and travel (I’m also eternally grateful to him for introducing me to this job … Hi Alan!) but I wasn’t able to upload it to the blog. Damn. I’ll figure out how to format it correctly eventually.

After lunch, I worked more and then took a taxi home. I dropped my bags in the room and headed out to find some food and drink. I found a really cool bar (the second photo) but it didn’t have the kind food I wanted (light and seafoody) as it was more of a “pig” place, so I had a glass of wine there and then left.

I tried to pay for my wine for probably 20 minutes, asking the bartenders en espanol of course “how much does this cost” and “can I pay please”. They wouldn’t give me a bill or tell me the cost, and finally said something like “you’ve already paid” or “he has paid for it.” I can usually understand 60-90 percent of what people say. Less when they are speaking fast and it’s a loud bar. I’m pretty sure the bartender took care of my wine, which was very nice. I asked again to make sure… “are you sure I can’t pay???” because I wanted to make sure to NOT steal from the restaurant but they wouldn’t take my money. Nice!

It was a pretty huge glass of wine (Sauvignon Blanc from Chile to be specific) so I went on my merry way to find a place that had seafood. I notice that here in Chile they pour pretty big glasses of wine. After some more wandering, I found myself at the street on which I ate lunch yesterday. That street had a bunch of great restaurants. I picked one that looked fairly busy. By the way, the fourth picture is of the outdoor area near the food court at the mall, a lunchtime shot.

I sat down at my table and noticed some guys speaking English at the table next to me. The food was delicious. My ceviche is the third picture down. Turns out these guys are Canadian and they are here in Santiago for a meeting. They work in the Mining business. I took a little walk with them after dinner and pointed out the coffee shop that I liked because they were complaining that all the coffee they had had in chile was Nescafe. Now I’m back at the hotel and pretty tired.

By the way, the hotel is Nice! The lobby smells like the Lenox hotel in Boston :). It’s definitely not as nice as the Lenox but smells equally as delicious. They put some incredible thing in the ventilation system (I asked about it a while ago) so it smells amazing. My room is a good size, has a couch, a coffee table, and decent bathroom and amenities. The bed has exactly seven pillows on it, five to sleep on and two decorative that I flung across the room with joy.

The fifth and last picture is just a super cute doggy I saw outside the coffee shop yesterday. There are a lot of stray doggies here which kind of hurts my heart but not this one. I wish I could pet the stray dogs and give them treats and kisses but I’m advised not to mingle with the stray animals.

Looking forward to a great working day tomorrow!

Love, Annie

Salud Santiago!

July 23, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

I’ve successfully made it to Santiago, Chile, the first stop on this survey. I’m happy but feeling pretty useless having not slept since Saturday night. The flight was pretty awful. There were no TVs on the back of the seats (for an eight and a half hour flight) and my seat didn’t recline properly. Yikes. Things have gone smoother since the flight.

After getting organized, showered, and changed, I went out to do some work. For lunch, I had a delicious piece of white fish with avocado and shrimps sauce that I am pretty sure was made with egg yolks. So tasty. And a nice glass of wine to match.

After lunch walk, I came across a bunch of people observing something behind a police barrier. I asked a guy what occurred and he said it’s a bomba. A bomb. Hmm. Apparently it was a suspicious package that the police thought was a bomb and they were inspecting it and trying to detonate it away from people. I walked away from that scene.

Now I’m at the hotel trying to stay awake for just a few more hours. A nap would totally mess up my sleep schedule. Even though it’s almost cocktail hour I might just call it a night and safe the “welcome” pisco sour voucher they gave me when checking in for tomorrow.

There are some Beautiful mountains here right next to the city, but today you can only see the outline. It’s too cloudy (smoggy?) to see them clearly.

Love, Annie