Sunday, May 8, 2011

Welcome to Chile

Alright, a bunch of you are mad at me because I've been so delinquent on my entries again. Let's just say that I just about fell off the blogwagon (disregard corny pun please) but my amazing husband has re-inspired me to get back in there and start typing again. So here goes nothing...

Chile: If you can remember that far back (if not just scroll down to my last entry) the last time I blogged was about finding a bridesmaid dress in Paris for my sister's upcoming wedding in Chile. It took awhile but at last it was time to hop on a plane and spend the next 14 hours straight staring ahead at my mini tv screen, dreaming of Chilean avocados and trying to look unruffled every time we hit turbulence above that gianormous Atlantic Ocean (I normally don't scare so easily on planes but this one was an AirFrance with almost the same exact flight trajectory as the one that crashed in the ocean a year or two ago).

Just as I was beginning to worry that my butt was going to be permanently deformed, we touched down and the airport festivities began. Going through customs, security, picking up baggage, and buying a nice little entry visa made for quite a few lines. While Matt fretted (his French side coming out for that one--the dislike of long lines and whatnot) I attempted to perfect my already near perfect Spanish. "Hablo espaniol tan mal?" means "Is my Spanish that bad?" (The 'making friends' part of a travel book is always the most interesting) Of course I had to run it by Matt just to double check that my pronunciation was passable which only served to fluster the guy even more around so many native speakers. But at last we were through customs, bilingual and with stamped passports in hand.

As we approached the security check, I could see my sister looking down on us from the glass skyway. This led then to all kinds of lipreading, funny faces, and other shinanagans that seemed to get the people next to her (esp. the male ones) all worked up so she had to continually move around as to not receive too many odd looks.

I was pretty confident going through security...after all I had done this how many times before? Alas, however, confidence isn't everything because as soon as my purse came through that machine, the nice looking Chilean woman was magically pulling an apple out of there and yelling at a customs agent what I can only imagine was something like fruit delinquent in Spanish. To this day I think it must have been a conspiracy...after all I swear I had eaten that apple! The agent motioned for me to follow her so I left Matt with the bags and grumpily walked towards what I thought was going to be the agricultural line.

I'm not sure the concept of an agricultural line has occurred to the Chileans because instead I ended up sitting in a row of chairs (the word timeout comes the mind...) in an open office while the agent lady shuffled through a pile full of papers with the word 'citation' stamped at the top. Here's about how our conversation started off:

Agent lady: spanish gibberish
Me: 'hablas ingles?'
Agent lady: no
Me: 'hablas frances?"
Agent lady: no
Me: silence

We did attempt to plow through it anyway, I was hoping that with my knowledge of French I could maybe understand a few questions but apparently that only served to jumble us up even more. Poor Matt had been left hanging out to dry during this time while standing in the middle of the security section still waiting for me to return. Realizing this might not be the immediate case, he started looking for me. Finding me in my timeout corner, he proceeded to linguistically save the day. (Apparently I had told them that the apple was from the states and all kinds of other untrue things)

Once everything got all sorted out, agent lady disappeared, leaving us both in timeout corner wondering if we might be fast enough to make a break for it (after all my sister had been waiting this whole time for us and had a car parked out front...). Chickening out, we instead got ushered into a closed office nearby. Now it was time to take our statement.
Conversation (in Spanish):
Agent man: Why did your wife have an apple in her purse?
Matt: She forgot to eat it.
Agent man: Why did she forget to eat it?
Matt: Excuse me?
Agent man: Why did she forget?
Matt: was a long flight? She was tired? It was supposed to be part of her dinner but she didn't remember it was there?
Agent man: [talking to himself as he types into keyboard] was a long flight; she was very tired; she forgot to eat it...

To which he then proceeded to show us in the "statement" exactly everything that Matt had just said. Next came the "Authorization of Destruction" documents that I had to sign. Hoping it was the apple and not us that I was authorizing to destroy, I plunged on ahead through the 5 copies that he gave me. At last came the part we had been dreading: the fine.

Agent man: Okay, this is your first time in Chile?
Us: si.
Agent man: Normally there is a $200 fine for bringing a prohibited fruit into Chile. However, since it is your first time, we will let you go with a warning. But don't do it again because we have you passport info.
Us: Thank you! Gracias!
Agent man: So, where are you visiting while in Chile? Are you going to the beach? I know some great places to visit!
Us: [thinking to selves: what the heck??]
Agent man: you should really visit Vina del Mar. Have a great time!
Us: Gracias?

Thus began our Chilean adventure. Here's a few of the highlights:

Seeing the sites with my sis and the family...

Yes, that is a picture of my butt... Long story short me and Matt decided to have a romantic moment next to a fountain. Unbeknown to me, however, I had sat down near the edge on a dry nozzle--was I in for a shock when suddenly it turned on! My dad, being the kind soul that he is, just had to document the experience...

Saw the world's biggest potato hoarder...

Some things just don't really have words to describe...

Tried these amazing and disgusting drinks with peach juice on top and wheat germ on bottom.

Loved the bathroom door need to know 'Mens room' in Spanish with this handsome fella. (yes, there is a female version! lol)

Learned how to make homemade pasta with the girls...

Here's Matt at the oceanside cliffs reading what at first glance looked like a Juan + Conchita = Amor Forever but turns out it was a memorial for a guy who had committed suicide by jumping off these rocks! (Maybe it was cuz Conchita dumped him)

Random staircase apartments all over on the Chilean coast...

On a boat ride touring Vina del Mar's harbor... Safety first!

Making friends... here's Salazar the Sea Lion.

Eating tons of ice cream since it was the end of summer there :)

Nat teaching us how to bound with the local wildlife...

And the best for last, my personal fav. I'll let you do your homework by finding a Frenchman to ask the meaning 'con' and then you'll get why this restaurant is pretty funny and why no Frenchy would want to eat any of this food.

There you have it! Wedding update next time!

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