02 September 2013

Odds and Ins

I have been in Chile a month and a half now.  School is going well.  The weather is warming up as we move into Spring here.  Travel plans are being made for the rest of the semester.  I'm able to stream Volunteer football online each week.  All is right with the world!

I want to use this post to briefly discuss some more of the differences and oddities I have found in my time here so far.

Chileans don't like to stand in lines.  In fact, one of my teachers told me that if a line forms, the Chileans ask one another where's the gringo who started it.  Sometimes, this can be terrible frustrating when you walk into a pharmacy, stand there to wait your turn - oblivious to the fact that you need to take a number to 'be in line' - and 4 people pass you because you didn't get that little slip of paper that says A17.

The first time I was in a building (of any kind) with central heat in Chile was last weekend.  That building was the ski lodge.  None of the buildings in my area have central heat or air.  I haven't seen any kind of air duct in any of the houses I've been in.  I'm sure these exist somewhere around here, but they are not common at all.

Along the same lines as heat, carpet is nigh impossible to find here.  All the buildings I've been in have always had wooden or tiled floors.  In the same manner, I'm sure this exists here, I just haven't found it.

What time are we eating?!
I've mentioned before how the eating times in Chile differ from in the U.S.  But I never dreamed they'd be this different at times.  The evening I returned home from Santiago at about 11:30pm, my family was just starting to cook.  Even crazier, there were guests over at this time.  We didn't sit down to eat 'dinner' until around 12:30 or 1:00 in the morning.  This wasn't just a one time event either; there have been many weekend where we will go to an asado (cookout) around 9:30pm and begin cooking around 10:30pm.

Chileans eat A LOT of bread.  And by association, I now do too!  The bread here is almost exclusively white bread.  Wheat bread is nigh impossible to find, and if you do find it, it is very expensive.  But, all the bread we eat is bought fresh from the bakery just down the street ever 2 or 3 days.

In my experience, we eat a ton of meat on the weekends but not too much during the week.  And the way they prepare and cook beef and pork here is very different from home.  At home, it's common to by a 'steak' or a 'chop' of whatever meet you're going to cook for each guest you will have.  Here, they buy large slabs of meet and grill it all at once.  To give you a comparison for what I mean by large, the cut of meat is at least the size of a 9"x13" baking pan or a laptop computer, often larger.

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