So Wednesday seemed like the longest day ever. Something about only sleeping two hours in a plane the night before and waiting to do things makes the days seem longer. Where were we..lol (look at that alliteration) well. It was very warm when we left the airport. We left by bus and drove a ways through Santiago to the sector of Las Condes where our hotel was located.
The hotel grounds were very pretty with a lot of trees and plants, a terrace where we ate lunch and dinner, an outdoor pool, a game area outside complete with a metal foosball table, and lots of paths. The hotel was decorated with some old modes of transportation. There was a train outside and a couple different carriages and some pieces of a ship inside. Very interesting.
We were assigned rooms in pairs. I was paired with a lovely lady named Kate. There wasn’t an elevator but two men helped us carry our bags up to the third piso where we were delighted to discover that we had a balcony and proceeded to wash the day of travel off. Lunch and dinner were in the hotel and consisted of a lot of vegetables and fruit, various kinds of bread, two options of meat, some rice, and dessert. It was very good and I loved the focus on vegetables and salads (at lunch there were three different types of salad). Everything was arranged quite prettily.
After lunch we were given an hour or so of free time. I thought I would email my family. When I opened my computer I discovered I had somehow left it turned on since the middle of the flight from seattle to dallas. so the battery was completely dead. I dug through my bags, found my converter, figured out which ones would probably work and plugged it all in (I used the plug converter and a voltage converter because the voltage in Chile is 220 instead of 120(?)). I wasn’t sure how stable the current was so I decided to get out my power strip so I would have the surge protector just so i wouldn’t fry my laptop. Turns out that was not the best idea that I’d had. lol. as soon as I plugged it in something in the power strip went: “POP!” and the lights turned off. (luckily my computer wasn’t plugged in. lol) I was too embarrassed to tell anyone except Kate..lol. but the lights were working again momentarily. and I knew it was only the power strip because I could smell the part that had exploded (or whatever it did) burning. Oh the adventures of power conversion.
I wasn’t brave enough to try it again until after our first activity. But when I did I brought the man at the front desk my converters and asked which ones I should use. He pointed to the same ones I had been using before. Later that evening, after talking with mi amigo Israel, the pile of converters was paired down to one since my computer can apparently handle 220 voltage. now I don’t have to use the cumbersome voltage converter. perfecto!
Our first activity was that afternoon. We (26 students and 3 directors) walked to a photo/copy store, got our pictures taken for our student ID’s. That took a little while and while we were waiting we walked up and down the streets. While chatting with our english speaking classmates it didn’t seem like we were in a foreign country at all. It was weird. but we were not in the big part of the city so I guess that would add to the feeling of familiarity for me.
Our first session of orientation was later that evening. we drank mineral water, learned about the city, what was safe, what is not safe, a brief talk about the metro and bus systems, a little history, and our schedule of events for the school year. It was very interesting. Apparently in Chile, you always wear shoes or socks when you’re in the house, never barefoot. It’s very rude to yawn and stretch. I’m sure I’ll be sharing other cultural taboos as I find out about them.
After the cena (dinner) quite a few of the students went out until 12 or 1:30. They said that it was fun but the bar really didn’t even start to get busy until about when they were leaving which I found interesting. I stayed at the hotel and blogged and facebooked and went to bed. It was a very long day.