To wrap up our time in Santiago, we went to the Argentina vs. Chile soccer game on Thursday. We went into the fan section at first and they were going wild, but then we were told by a lot of people that it wouldn’t be safe for us to stay there so we were escorted to our own special gringo section. I would’ve liked to stay a little closer to the action, but I suppose it’s for the best haha. It was fun to check out the game and see the fans going crazy from afar. We ended up leaving early around midnight but of course the game went into double overtime and penalty kicks!!
Friday was the last day of orientation and they threw us a dinner party with delicious food and a nice supply of vino y pisco sour. (P.S. I remembered what the ¨earthquake” ice cream drink was called – Terremoto. If you ever have a chance to try it).
Yesterday people started leaving for different regions. For the Antofagasta region, we have a few extra days since apparently some foundation throws us a welcome party. So there’s about 25 of us or so who are staying in a hostel in Antofagasta right now. We took a bus that had really amazing seats that go back further than normal and have a leg part… so it’s more like a bed. Two levels and we were put up in the top part, so we had great views for most of the way. Yesterday when we left Santiago we started out with ocean views, and then it became night, and this morning it was all desert. Also overnight, the bus broke down and was leaking water, so we stopped at a random truckstop in the middle of nowhere for about an hour around midnight. Those of us who woke up went into this little restaurant there, that was basically out of a house, and hung out. We felt like we were in the middle of some horror film with just darkness all around us and in the middle of the desert.
Today was a free day in Antofagasta so we walked around the hostel and wandered by some shopping center areas. We made friends right away… with the stray dogs. We walked out of the hostel and within 5 minutes, there were about 7 dogs following us. Not begging or anything, just following along like they were our own adopted pets. And for a long time too – we walked down the street, up the block, and then along the beach. They stopped whenever we did, waited to walk across the street with us, and moved whenever we did. It was pretty great, with the exception that some had some pretty bad matting of their fur. The dogs really can do whatever they want here. When we stopped in the mall, there was a dog on the ground floor. It was eventually ushered out, but I really was hoping it would just take the escalator up the stairs haha.
Not sure when exactly we’ll be leaving but I think we have at least another day before Mejillones. Others are going to Tocopilla, Calama or staying in Antofagasta. I can’t wait to get to my home and actually be able to unpack and not carry my bags again for another 4 months. And to find out what grade levels I’ll be teaching. We’ll have the rest of the week to settle in and observe classes, but next Monday we’ll start teaching!!