Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chillin' in Chile!

Location: Santiago, Chile

Rundown: Flew from sunny Northern Michigan in full-blown summer 13 hours South to winter-clad Santiago. Started working at amazing Nido de Aguilas International School and sink into the culture of Santiago...

First shock: Chile is in the Southern Hemisphere! Walked off the plane from hot Charlevoix summer into frozen mountain air! Yikes! An hour from the coast and 15 minutes from the mountains, Santiago has an amazing ambiance that attracts outdoorsy expats like flies to honey.

The International School Nido de Aguilas (Eagle's Nest) is one of the best in South America, and couldn't be in a more beautiful location, right in the shadow of the Cordilleras de los Andes.

Found a place just a few minutes away from school, with a killer view of the mountains. A local produce market springs up on Sundays with fresh fruits, veggies, and eggs! We have been taking advantage of the amazing Chilean wines as well!

The new view out the living room window! Note the palm trees amidst the frost and snow-capped mountains! Lo Barnechea, a neighborhood in the north-east region of Santiago is tucked right into the folds of the hills and has a very small town feel.

Have been making some friends down here! Watched the World Cup finals with a group of the newbies in downtown Santiago.

Chile is 2,700 miles long and has 4,000 miles of coastline. This discrepancy makes for awesome sushi places everywhere you turn. Yum!

Lots of good musicians in the teaching staff at Nido. Got pulled into an impromptu jam session at one of the get togethers put on by the teachers. Good stuff.

Took Pepe the Peugeot out in the mountains. The winding roads with tight switchbacks are closed to traffic at certain times of the day, so you have to wait at a certain point until the authorities give the all clear.

The hairpin turns can be a gut-wrenching experience, and the lack of railings above the precipice gave incentive to drive slow.

Hiked into El Sanctuario Loco, after we had been cleared to drive into the pass. Snowcapped ridges ran East towards the heart of the Andes. For the first time in two years got my hands in REAL snow! Snowball fight ensued...

It's been great to be a little closer to the natural world here. Although Cartagena had the sea, it's been a treat to get back into hiking, biking, and climbing!

The sun going down over the mountains...

So that's it for now. More to come, I'm sure.