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Miscellaneous Moments in la Quinta Region

So, as I’ve been on a virtual hiatus for the lesser part of a month now, I figured I’d document some recent happenings that, while not so groundbreaking in and of themselves, in aggregate were worthy of a post. Also, I just happened to stumble on a bunch of random pictures that correspond to said happenings, yet somehow had not managed to see the light of day up to this point. You can find those at the end of the post (in order of events):

*Club de Toby: I’ve already touched a bit on the blessed asado ritual simply known as Toby in a number of previous posts. Check some of the photos below.

*Cuecazo: Very first full-on Cueca event attended here in Chile back in June. Complete with live band, vino navegado, and couples equipped with banuelos and sombreros dancing promiscuously.

*Parque La Campana: A national park which boasts some decent trails and historical significance (something about excerpts from Darwin’s The Beagle taking place here). That’s about it. At its root, a conveniently located, accessible escape into the wild for the day.

*Las Dunas de Con Con: A while back, we heard about some neat sand dunes in Con Con, a commune of Viña del Mar, that sit right along the water and were supposedly worth checking out. So, we did just that. The photos below are from our inaugural visit; however, we have been quite regular visitors since then. These dunes are quite possibly some of the coolest formations I’ve ever seen in my life. Nestled along the coast, the views afforded from the tops of these dunes are insane, with the entirety of Valparaiso and Viña on one side, the Andes on the other, and in between, a view of the ocean that gives it an almost otherworldly, strangely spherical look, even to the point of moving me to make a goofy video talking in stoner, philosophical terms about what it was that I was seeing (previous post).

*EOD Spelling Bee/Public Speaking Competitions: In August, Colegio Montesol participated in a few English-related events put on by the Ministry; the spelling bee (for 6th graders) and the public speaking contest (7-8th grade). For the former event, we had three of our more stellar alumnos, Catalina, Martin, and Victoria, a group of tykes who was eventually given the rather awesome title of ‘los Monos Feos’, or the ‘Ugly Monkeys’; originally just a joke made in passing by another teacher, the name stuck. Anyways, as the competition was pretty stiff, we unfortunately did not make it past the regional qualifiers; but as a consolation prize, we all had a blast practicing for the competition, skipping class and going to Viña for the day. In the latter event, students were to prepare a 2-3 speech on some figure or custom in an English-speaking country, and deliver said speech with props and without notes. As this would even be a hearty endeavor for most 8th graders to do in their own language, let alone in a foreign language that they study a mere 3 hours a week, I was humbled by the experience. Deborah, our representative for Montesol, absolutely killed it! We are now getting her ready for the regional finals set to be held at the end of the month.

*A Chilean Matrimonio: This past weekend, I went to a wedding in San Bernardo, a commune in the wine country lying about an hour south of Santiago. I accompanied Camila, a girl I’ve been hanging out with for the past few months here as her +1, and we definitely had a blast!  The after party consisted of a Frank Sinatra impersonator singing all of his old hits ‘a La Chilena’, a huge parillada, which is essentially a grilling up of various types of meats, ice chest of microbrew, and a seemingly endless stream of Chilean vino tinto. Mix with a night full of dancing and merriment, along with a changing of the clocks, and you have a very eventful outcome.

*Valpo Half-Marathon: In my last post, I mentioned that some of participated in a 5k in Viña and were immediately inspired to continue on with the running bug. The result; we are currently preparing for the Half-Marathon of Valparaiso (21k). The race kicks off at 8am, October 7th 9am, November 11th at Plaza Sotomayor, and could not be more pumped.

*Basquetbol: As of this past week, I’ve started getting back into basketball, practicing with a pretty prominent club here in Quilpue (and Chile for that matter) the Club Deportivo Colegio Los Leones. Feels good to be hooping again, and will update accordingly as I get more involved.

*Things coming up this month: 

-A two week long period of taking classes for Cueca, the national dance of Chile, and the culmination in a ceremony and folklore festival this weekend.

-September 18, an entire week of celebrating Chile’s independence, full of asado, asado, cultural events, asado, etc. Essentially, it’s similar to Chilean Greek Week, yet it is sanctioned by the government and has more social inclusion (especially considering that it’s widely celebrated in every city, town, crawl space, etc. throughout the entire country).

*As I’ve just passed the six month mark, it still strikes me as odd the idea of having spent such a considerable chunk of time in another country, in what has become a quasi-time-space continuum where my interaction with my friends, family, and many others outside of Chile has been confined to the virtual mediums of Facebook, e-mail, and Skype (with the occasional post card); and thus, the full-scale impact of what may be occurring or unfolding in these now seemingly far off places really does not register completely nowadays. Guess what i’m trying to say is, MISS YOU GUYS. In any case, I still can’t get over how much I love this country, its people, as well as all of its strange, yet comforting peculiarities. Three months left on the docket and I’m looking forward to seeing what else is in store!

Como siempre, Love, Saludos, y Felicidades.

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