Thursday, April 3, 2014

Wednesday, March 12

Today we woke up at 7:30 to be down eating breakfast at 8:30. After breakfast, we all piled into the bus to go take a tour of the museum Esmeralda, which is a tall ship from the 1800s. It is an exact replica of the ship on which Arturo Pratt lost the battle of Iquique.

It was absolutely huge. We formed small groups and got to go on board with a tour guide who explained to us the functions of the ship, what officials lived in which rooms, and how the battle was played out. It was especially interesting for me with my background at the Ocean Institute on the Pilgrim.
After the boat tour, we walked into the center of town to go to the Iquique Regional Museum.
It was a big pretty building that had a lot of exhibits of the life of the indigenous people from Iquique. It had things like morphed skulls of the natives, tools that they had used, and maps of what Iquique used to look like. After the museum, we went to the regional theater of Iquique, which is a super famous for being one of the nicest theaters of its time.
We got a tour of the stage and the underground workings. After the theater, we walked through a feria of old things like coins from the 1800s.
Then we drove to a nearby mall called the Zofre, which is huge and really famous because it sells things for a lot cheaper. We immediately went to the food court, where the counselors let us choose our own food and then paid for us. Basically everyone chose pizza, and although I didn’t really want pizza, I got it too just to not have to wait in line alone. We were all really confused when we realized that the mall didn’t have a roof, only a tent with gaps in it showing the sky. We wondered what the people did when it rained. Then we realized that it literally never rains in the north of Chile. The tour guide told us that if you set a coffee cup outside, it would take 100 years to fill it up with water. Anyway, after lunch we had like 3 hours to walk around the mall. I bought some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for my family (and was shocked to find that the people from Germany and Australia had never tried Reese’s), then I bought a towel with the Chilean flag on it. Later, we were walking around when Ruth, a friend from Canada, and Madeline, from Germany, ran up to me and told me I’d never guess what they’d found. There was a candy shop with foreign candy, and it sold Smarties. Just the other day we had all been arguing about what Smarties were. For me, they are round disks of hard packed sugar, but for the people from Canada, Germany, France, Australia, and NZ, they are chocolate balls very similar to M&Ms. We had a big argument about which candy was correct, and when they found their Smarties in the mall and proved it to me, I was definitely on the losing side.
I was so astounded that I bought a few packs to try them for the first time and to share them with everyone. Also while we were at the mall, a few people bought some duty free alcohol because we were all pretty sure the counselors were going to let us go to a night club that night. I watched from outside as they nervously bought the alcohol, hoping that the counselors wouldn’t walk passed the store. After we got back to the hotel from the Zofre, we put on our bathing suits and walked down to the beach. We swam for a little while, but the water was cold and there was a bunch of nasty kelp in it, so a bunch of us girls lay out on our towels and started our own game of dares. Grace and I were dared to go ask the lifeguards down the beach to take a selfie with us, and we did that easily.
Then I dared Jessica to ask to borrow a guy’s shirt and take a picture in it, I dared Katie to get a random woman to braid her hair, I dared Brenna to run into the ocean with Zack’s socks on, and the best of all, I dared Madison and Ruth to go ask a random man for directions back to Canada. They recorded that one and we about died laughing. When those dares were finished, we noticed the boys in the ocean taking a picture of all of them with their pants down. Not to be one-upped, the girls decided that we wanted to go back to the hotel and take a picture with our tops off and backs facing the camera on the balcony of one of our rooms. We went to my room, but before we could do it, the boys started arriving from the beach, and it just got really awkward and confusing and there were a lot of people watching when we actually did it. There were even people in the other hotel across the way looking out their windows at us. It was very uncomfortable. After the flashing, we still had like 2 hours before we had to be ready for dinner, so I decided to complete my dare and dye my hair (I’d bought hair dye at the Zofre). We all went up to Katie’s room and while I dyed my hair, Zach waxed his leg, and Paul pierced Aidan’s ear with a needle and an orange. It was hilarious and I feel like that night we totally bonded and became like an actual family. I realize that this is why I love the exchange students so much. They’re actually down to do all that crazy stuff that Chileans would just laugh at and say no to. They know how to let themselves go, take risks, and just have fun. Then we went to dinner, and after dinner, the counselors announced that yes in fact we would be going out to a club that night and that we had until 11:30 to get ready. I was already dressed up and ready, so I went up to Katie’s room with her, and watched a few people take shots of the alcohol they had bought that afternoon. I thought it was pretty risky to drink with the strict counselors, but whatever I guess it was their choice. We got on the bus and were waiting there almost an hour before we started moving. The counselors told us that there had been a power failure in the club, but that it was fine now. We arrived around 12:30 to an empty club that they had rented out just for us. There was a DJ and a big dance floor, and we were all really excited to dance.
We danced and danced all night until 4 in the morning. I had a really great time dancing American style with them (even though I was actually a really bad dancer before and I didn’t even dance American style but now I’ve gotten completely over my embarrassment and I just go for it and it’s way more fun). We danced in a big group, and it was way more fun that way.  I also danced with Fritz for a little while, but more of the time we just all jumped around and danced together. Around 4:15 the counselors told us it was time to go, and we got back on the bus. We arrived at the hotel around 4:45 and my roommates and I were starving. Luckily, earlier in the night, Cassidy and Larkin had made mac and cheese and left it in our room, so we heated it up and ate it. Then, around 5:30 in the morning we finally went to sleep.

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