Friday, November 29, 2013

Wednesday, November 13

Today, although we weren’t going to school, Katie and I had to get up at the exact same time. We put on nice clothes, and my mom dropped us off at the bus station after she dropped my siblings off at school. We bought tickets and took the bus up to Santiago while listening to a comedy show Katie had on her iPod. I think people thought we were weird for bursting out laughing at random moments on an otherwise quiet bus. When we got to the terminal in Santiago, I called Sergio, who is the guy who was coming to pick us up. He said we had to wait about a half hour, so we went over to McDonald’s and sat down and drank some coffee. Sergio is a Rotarian that I met in the California. He is a part of the Laguna Niguel Rotary Club, and before I left he came over to my house to tell me a little bit about what to expect in Chile because he was born and raised in Chile. Now, he is back in Chile representing the LN Rotary Club in a project they are sponsoring.
The project in a children’s burn center, and we were going to get a tour of it. After we had waited like 45 minutes in McDonald’s, I got another call from Sergio saying that they were in traffic and so they had sent us a taxi to the Turbus terminal. All he said was that the driver’s name was Jorge. We were a little confused but whatever, so we walked over to the Turbus terminal (it was a different terminal than the one we were at) and started asking taxi drivers what their names were. It was a really awkward and inefficient way to find a person, and after a few tries we gave up and went inside the terminal. The taxi company called me and told me that Jorge was waiting for us in stall 21, so we walked over there and finally found him. He drove us out to the burn center, and we walked inside and met Sergio and Angelica who also works at the burn center. It was kind of weird seeing Sergio because the last time I’d seen him had been in my living room in the states and now we were sitting together in a hospital conference room in Santiago, Chile. We talked for a while (this time in Spanish instead of English), and then a doctor came and gave us a tour of the burn center. It was really pretty and nice, and we got to see the little kids doing their exercises and recovering from bad burns. It was cool to see what my own Rotary club is doing halfway around the world. After we finished the tour, Angelica drove us into downtown Santiago, where the Santiago rotary club meets. We got stuck in a lot of traffic, and it was almost impossible to find parking, but it was fun to see all the pretty and impressive looking buildings in the capitol. We finally parked and started walking to the building where Rotary meets. When we got there, I was incredibly impressed. It was huge and ornate and old looking. It was a meeting hall that Rotary rents out for their meetings. We went up and entered the meeting a little late.
They introduced Katie and me as visiting exchange students, and I went up and traded club flags with the president of the club. It was a pretty intimidating experience because there were probably like 80 old men in dignified looking suits watching me. After we ate a fancy lunch and awkwardly socialized with Rotarians, the doctor who had given us the tour of the hospital (also a Rotarian) offered to accompany us on the metro back to the bus station. We went with him because we had no choice, and then when we said goodbye at the terminal, Katie and I hopped back on the metro to go shopping at Costanera Center. We shopped for a while, got starbucks, and then went back down to the metro and took it back to the bus terminal. It was our first time navigating completely alone in Santiago and we were pretty proud of ourselves.
After we got back to Rancagua on the bus, we had to figure out how to get from the terminal to my house. We took a micro part of the way, then walked a little ways, then took a collectivo to the Jumbo and walked to my house. By the end of the day we were really proud of all the manners of public transportation that we had managed. Katie’s parents picked her up and I was dead tired so I sat in bed and watched a movie (Que Pena tu Boda, which is a typical Chilean movie) before falling asleep.

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