26th February - 5th March (Segunda manana de Santiago)
Charles (hostel owner), Sarah and I:
On the whole, it's just been more of the same for my second week in Santiago; struggling to get to grips with the lingo, socialising, fantastic weather, watching pirated films and not much else. Sabina, a forty year old Canadian mother of two boys, who has been living in Chile for a while, joined the school. She had picked up some vocabulary, mostly from her boys who learn Spanish at school, but her actual spoken Spanish wasn't that great. Sabina and I made up a class on our own for the second week which made life a lot easier. I went out for lunch a few times with the other more advanced Spanish speakers and mostly just sat, listened and tried to understand a little of what was going on. Of course, two weeks of Spanish is nothing like enough to enable me to converse properly but hopefully it will help me to get around and survive!
Things I've noticed in Santiago are:
1. People snogging in public places - this goes on in the street, the parks, on the metro, everywhere and nobody seems to mind. It's not just teenagers either, it's people of all ages, people older than my parents - sick!
2. There are lots of stray dogs roaming the streets - they are often in packs but seem to be unthreatening to humans.
3. Everyone smokes - Cigarettes in Chile are about one fifth of the price in England, in Argentina they are apparently half the price of here! So, it's not just Chileans that are smoking but most of the people in the hostel are also puffing away as they sit out on the patio. I went to a house party the other night and it was ridiculous, I was moving from room to room just trying to get away from smokers. Uuugh!
4. Police cars are green and white, fire engines are green.
5. Men leer at women - it's the done thing, so, when in Rome etc.. but seriously, it's funny, when I was walking along with some people from the school, one of them a nice brazillian girl, I walked behind her and just watched the reaction of the men. Manual workers were predictably the worst offenders, whistling etc, but the old businessmen in suits were also pretty obvious with their ogling.
Other things I've done this week include my second attempt at Sushi - I hadn't tried it since Karen introduced me to it in Melbourne and it's ok but I'm still not a huge fan. I tried to move the date of my Inca trail booking as my plans have developed (I want to go south first), but it turns out you can't move it so after much thinking I cancelled the trek (losing $100 U.S.) and will hopefully rebook it for later. I watched a lot of films; Crash (very good), Farce of the penguins (stupidly funny), Napoleon Dynamite (not for me), Children of Men (rubbish), Rocky Balboa (hmmm, I feel like I've seen it before!), Jackass 2 (not as good as the first), Da Vinci code (not bad), still planning on seeing Hotel Rwanda and A scanner darkly before I leave on Monday.
Anyway, that's about it for now. Seeya.