Scoping the City

It was just in an email last night that my dad told me to steer clear of tsunamis, earthquakes, avalanches and everything in between.  Well, just before I popped downstairs to update this, I felt an earthquake! Ridiculous!

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usc00024qu.php

I was writing and sitting on my top bunk upstairs in my room and felt the jiggle for a while, at least 30 seconds.

Today was a solid day.  Up early and a yummy breakfast to jumpstart the day.  This hostel is a backpacker hostel, but with a bed and breakfast flair! So I indulged while reading Guns, Germs and Steel.  I took a break from this book because there were others I wanted to read when I had access to them.  Now that the unschoolers are stateside, it´s back to Jared Diamond.

I rallied after breakfast and headed out for a city walk.  I´m a little under the weather, but I figured I would go for a while.  The potential goal:  Cerro San Cristobal and an unmarked empanada place that my buddy Lena found and savored a few years back when she was studying here in Santiago.  The hostel dude, Sebastian, estimated it to be about an hour walk from the hostel front door to the base of Cerro San Cristobal.

I felt like I was walking through different parts of San Francisco (maybe it´s just because I love that city, that every big city I walk through, I connect the two).  I walked past Republica University and through the swarms of students.  The university guys need a reality check: mullets are so 90s…and a single dread hanging out behind your left ear with the rest of your head shaved…AHHHH! Just ahhh! Maybe gross, but thoroughly entertaining.

Walked through the downtown, financial district area and through a few mini plazas.  I circum-navigated Santa Lucia Park, which is a destination on the places to check out list.  Found my first inner city climb-able boulder with chalk marks on it!

The sunshine got in the way of the photo.  But regardless, the thought is for Ingmar.

As I entered the neighborhood Bella Vista, I encountered a huge subliminal message via graffiti.  Jalen, Claire, props.

Maybe all these things are happening because I am flying solo.  With a few blocks to go to the base of Cerro San Cristobal, I found myself strolling through the Santiago Arboretum, the Parque Forestal.  When I realized how hungry I was, the mission to accomplish ASAP suddenly changed and became goal number two.  Empanadas.  I asked around to find the subway station stop from which Lena had given me directions to get to this

“unmarked empanada place with bomb empanadas”

…and I lucked out.  However, I´d like to think it was a stroke of genius that helped me navigate there.

Two champignon y queso empanadas.  Cheese and mushrooms.  UH-mazing.  One for me.  One in honor of Lena and Christina´s amazing discovery of this place.

After lunching, I was ready to just sit and relax for a while.  So, back to the Parque Forestal to hang out and write.

On my walk across town, my sit in the park, and my walk back to the hostel, I encountered these weird teenagers dressed in absolute rags of clothing, some with white paint on their faces, others with garbage and nasty stuff all over their mostly skin bodies….all asking for money.  I was grossed out.  I´m hoping it was a school project.  I saw at least 100 of them.

This photo doesn´t do their appearance justice (most of them were nearly naked and seriously GROSS), however, I was not trying to have to pay for a photo.

The walk back to the hostel was pleasant and even entertaining.

Instead of cutting around through lots of little side streets like I had earlier, I walked down the main street on my return route.  Essentially Market Street of SF, except for a few pretty buildings including this one.

After I snapped the shot and past the building, only then did I realize that this was a University of Catolica building…where a few of my friends have studied on their abroad exchange programs.  Word.

Apparently my gear is still in customs.  Hoping for the morrow.

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