After getting back from Rapa Nui, I started thinking about what I wanted to do my last week in Santiago. I felt like I had seen most of what I wanted so I figured I would focus on just hanging out with my friends for the last week.
In BA, I was just trying to get into the swing of travel – as well as recover a little from preparing for the trip. The sale of the house, the garage sale, saying goodbye to family and friends was much more wearing than I realized. By the time I got to Santiago I was feeling a lot more like myself and was a lot more social. I met a lot of great people from the school as well as students. Some I even hope to keep up with – Kristian mi bro, mi hueon, even you’re “worth an habla” every now and then.
In keeping with the social spirit, I hadn’t had a lot of time to go out on the town so I was determined that my last weekend would be spent out at night dining, dancing, enjoying vino with mis amigos. And then, it happened. On Wednesday morning, my first day back in class, I got that little tickly sensation in my nose and throat that can only mean one thing – a cold is a’comin’! I started taking in large quantities of OJ, Sprite and water to try to help flush it out quickly. But, it was to no avail. By the time the weekend hit, I had a full-blown cold. Of course, I did make time to have dinner with some friends, Paul, Kristian and Ale, on Wednesday night before the cold got too bad.
Thursday I was on a mission to get my haircut and to get a manicure. So, after class I finally found a place about 1-2 kms from school. To my friends Christi, Jill and Sidney at Tangles in SA – let’s just say I REALLY miss you guys. But, I needed to get the haircut after my mop had grown out for 6-7 weeks. But, looks like I need to start all over again.
Thursday night before the cold got too bad, we had a cookout at school to enjoy a traditional Chilean BBQ. It was excellent and we had some nice sausages and beef. But, I made it an early night not wanting to exacerbate the cold.
Friday after class we had a “graduation” ceremony for all the outgoing students. I got my certificate and we had a great lunch of grilled beef sandwiches and guacamole. I had to say goodbye to my two profesoras and the great staff at the school who had been so wonderful with all of us students and did a great job in helping to foster a sense of community. With the school I climbed a glacier, learned how to make empanadas (despite Danilo’s best efforts I wouldn’t invite me over to cook any for you), learned a little about Chilean BBQ methods, was introduced to traditional Chilean food and toured Santiago. I will definitely remember my time in Santiago.
Friday afternoon I stayed low key. I was willing to sacrifice Friday night if it meant that Saturday night I could go out with friends to blow it out. Unfortunately, Saturday wasn’t much better. Around lunch, I headed out of the house with Antonio – the owner of the house. He took me to a neighborhood near the house where we found a laid-back cafe and had lunch. I treated as a thank you for being such a great host for the past three weeks.
Afterwards, I went back to the house and chilled out. It had no positive on the cold so it meant that I was in for the night. My friends called around 10 to check in and I had to give them the bad news. I wound up staying up all night. I had an early pick up so I knew I wouldn’t get much sleep anyway. But, I guess the cold medicine kept me wired. I showered around 3AM and waited for my car to show up to take me to the airport at 4. The car service misplaced my reservation so a car didn’t show up until 5:30. Luckily, the check-in process was easy. I cleared immigration, boarded, put on my eye mask and slept the entire flight to Peru (about 4 hours) where I grabbed my connection to Quito.
Despite my bad luck with my cold at the end, I will always remember Chile for the warm people, the hidden, modest nature of Santiago and the beautiful natural beauty of the countryside which is an adventure seekers paradise. I can’t wait to get back at the end of the year to explore the other parts I missed outside of Santiago.
Originally published May 6, 2007