Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tuesday, March 11

Today we had to be ready for the bus at 6 in the morning with our suitcases packed and ready to go. We traveled for about 3 hours to the town of Pica, and we all slept the whole time. In Pica, we first stopped at the church of San Antonio, which was a little bit creepy because it had a life size representation of the last supper made with wax figures.
After the church and the feria artesenal nearby, we had to get our blue rotary polo shirts out of our suitcases and change in the bus because we were going to do community service at a daycare for underprivileged kids. We went in and tried to play with them and to talk to them, but none of them really wanted anything to do with us. The consejeros awkwardly forced us to sing songs to them in English and that just made things worse. They told us later that the kids were just intimidated by us because we all had blue eyes and blonde hair and they’d never seen that before.

After we left the daycare, we went to eat lunch. Pica is famous for their mango and guyaba, and we got to drink freshly squeezed juice that was really good. After lunch, we walked over to a pretty church and then to this naturally warm thermal pool where we swam for like 30 minutes. There were caves in the pool and we went inside them and chilled for a while. After swimming, we changed clothes without time for a shower and got back on the bus to Iquique.

We arrived at the hotel in Iquique around 7, and had free time until dinner at 9. I was placed in a room with Cassidy, Michelle, and Brenna, a newbie from New Zealand. We all went down to the pool and some people swam, but I wasn’t in the mood to put on my wet bathing suit that I had used earlier, so I just sat by the pool with some others. We then went to dinner, and after dinner we walked through the city and down to the beach. We took a long walk on the beach before going back to the hotel. Louis and I walked arm in arm the whole time and I realized that even though he plays tough and like nothing ever bothers him, he really is a super sweet guy. When we got back to the hotel, we were called out by the counselors to sit by the pool. There had been some drama with the room assignments because Paul, one of the French people who can’t speak English, was put in a room with two guys from Australia who can’t speak Spanish. Paul had complained to the counselors that he felt out of the circle because he couldn’t understand the language we were speaking. I totally understand where he was coming from because I experience that feeling of being an outsider all the time with Spanish. The counselors sat us all down and basically yelled at us for not speaking in Spanish. Then they called on some people to give their opinions of the trip and then picked on them if their Spanish wasn’t very good. It’s actually kind of crazy because we’ve all been here 7 months, and a lot of people still can’t really speak. I have one of the best Spanish there, and even I still don’t feel very confident about it. Anyway, they made us promise to speak in Spanish the rest of the trip even though it was obvious that that was never going to happen. Around 1:30 we went up to our rooms. I was in my pajamas and about to wash my face when Cassidy told us that Aidan was going to pierce his ear and that she had to go give him the needle. We came with her obviously because we wanted to watch his pain. We arrived at the boys’ room to find an overwhelming smell of cigarettes and a bunch of beers on the table. They offered us beer, but we politely refused. As they were getting the needle ready, one of the counselors came by and knocked on the door. We girls stupidly ran into the bedroom to hide, but obviously the counselor knew we were there and kept asking the boys who else was in the room. We decided to be mature and come out, so we left the bedroom and walked past the counselor apologizing and saying that we would go straight to our rooms. Luckily the counselor was so focused on the fact that there were girls in the boys’ room at 2 in the morning that she didn’t notice the smoke in the air and the beer on the table. We went straight back to our room and fell asleep.

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