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

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