Its 4.30am in the morning Chilean time and I woke up from my first night in Santiago a few hours ago!
After landing I went straight to the apartment in Santiago Central and moved my things in.
It´s surprising how easy it is to move in somewhere when your clothes come out of suitcases! One of my flatmates in Wellington had the most amusing (yet incredibly effective) technique for helping me pack. It was boot camp for travellers. She pointed at things and yelled – “do you really need that, do you really need it!? Nope – I don´t think you need it Mandy. Put it into storage! Once it´s in the pile for storage there´s no take backs!”.
Suffice to say, I managed to fit all my things into two suitcases and was even under the baggage allowance (thanks Stacey!)!! Looks like I can afford to acquire a few things to take home with me at the end of this six months.
I really haven´t seen much of Santiago yet but certainly have a few first impressions.
- For some reason it reminds me of the outer suburbs of Bangkok– well at least from what I have seen out of the window of the taxi and from my apartment. Maybe it´s the smog and the look of the poorer buildings juxtaposed against some larger skyscrapers and the familiar decorations of loose rubbish on the streets.
But then it has something different, the city is encapsulated by the most magnificent mountains (the Andes) hence the smog – as the city pollution does not escape. I have to venture out of my apartment today to get an adaptor for my electronic equipment (Dan and Renato I took your advice, but it means I have to go for 24 hours without a hair-dryer until I get one, shock horror!) and to put credit on my phone so will include photos later.
- People, especially guys, are well (ugh ugh), friendly.
Immigration felt more like dating questions as opposed to an interrogation.
Getting my bags off the luggage belt has never been so easy.
Getting my jars of Manuka honey into the country consisted of me saying “miel” and smiling as I passed my declaration papers over.
Walking anywhere gives you the same feeling as walking past a construction site in New Zealand, the guys are not afraid to say hello and smile.
- The tap water here tastes like pool water, hello chlorine. I´m defiantly going to have to buy bottled water (Chris, I know you´ll be happy about the switch).
- The city is alive at all hours. I can hear the faint sound of echoing voices and city activity from the apartment constantly.
- Keyboards on computers are set up differently… so many different characters ñ¿¡
- My Spanish is realllllly going to have to improve. Spanish and… Spanish, is the language spoken here. Speaking Spanish really isn´t as easy without my books, and it would be a great help if like my Spanish study videos, Spanish subtitles appeared when people talked to me.
Well I best be off. I have a whole heap of marking to upload today for my work at the university back home, then have my Spanish assignment to finish by Sunday (I´m doing a course through distance learning at uni on the side), followed by a big research proposal for my Master´s thesis that I need to finally finalise by the 10th June (it´s so overdue because I recently changed topics) and then an oral Spanish test the same day. Life really doesn´t stop just because I´m in another country.
Looks like it will be a couple weeks before I have the time to explore this amazing city properly, but I´ll keep you updated.
I start my routine of working on my thesis from the local university here on Monday.
I can’t wait to dance salsa, eat some Chilean food and meet locals!