Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Parque Araucano

Parque Araucano is located in Las Condes, a neighboring barrio (district) in Santiago next to Providencia where I live. The park features a beautiful rose garden, dirt paths, some playgrounds, basketball courts, and plenty of grassy areas that are perfect for playing soccer.

Right across the street is Parque Arauco, one of the larger shopping mall complexes in Santiago. When walking around, I was surprised by the number of American restaurants and stores in Parque Arauco. To name a few, there's TGI Friday's, Ruby Tuesday's, McDonald's, North Face, Colombia, and Merrill (I was shopping for outdoorsy clothes...).

Here are some pics of the area from some visits to Parque Araucano and the mall on a number of occasions over the past couple weeks.

The Entrance of Parque Arauco

Rose Garden

Soccer in the Park
the first time I've played in quite a while, but I enjoyed it so much I definitely need to do it more often : )

Bowling at Parque Arauco

Pokemon Ride in an Arcade
couldn't resist the photo-opp!


After leaving la Isla Negra, we headed off to another close-by town, Pomaire. Pomaire is famous for its clay ceramics, and I absolutely loved exploring the local marketplace. Store after store was filled with the traditional craftwork and prices were extremely reasonable. A set of 3 cups and dishes, for example, cost about US $7. Here are some pics that are representative of the diversity of products sold there.

good luck pigs- the larger ones can be used as piggy banks you actually have to break to open up

couldn't help but include another stray-dog picture


Our visit to Pomaire also included lunch at a traditional Chilean restaurant, where we enjoyed empanadas, fresh fruit juices, pastel de choclo, cazuela, and watermelon for dessert.

My host Mom gives me a piece of watermelon that big for dessert at least a few times a week- no joke. It's wonderful since watermelon is in season right now!

La Isla Negra

Last Friday, Stanford organized a wonderful trip to la Isla Negra and Pomaire. First, we left Santiago in the morning and drove about 2 hours to la Isla Negra. Even though it isn't actually an island, this city features a gorgeous view of the Pacific.

Upon arrival, we took a tour of Pablo Neruda's home overlooking the ocean. (He actually has 2 other homes I've visited, but I'll include those in another blog entry.) His home consists of about 3 separate, small buildings and is filled with extensive collections of nautical-themed items, such as sea-shells, boats inside glass bottles, and ship-parts.

Afterwards, we spent an hour or so at the beach, where I enjoyed climbing up the rocky coastline and taking in the view. It was also fun to stop by and watch a theatrical performance taking place nearby and peruse the stalls of the local street vendors selling a hand-made crafts.

Outside Neruda's Home

The View

Exploring the Coastline Up-Close


Sunday, February 13, 2011


Doing a little bit of catch up with this blog entry- I actually went to Zapallar with the Stanford group during our first Friday here. (can't believe it's that was 5 weeks ago!) It's about 2.5 hours Northeast of Santiago, and we headed up for the day with a group of Chilean students from Universidad de Chile.

Overall, I found the beach and surrounding area extremely beautiful. With green hills, a rocky coastline, and lots of upscale houses, it reminded me a lot of Carmel back home in California. Also had some fresh empanadas de camarones y queso (shrimp and cheese) that were the best I've had here so far.

The View from Above
(couldn't help but snag this photo off Google images since I didn't take any good ones from this view)

Closer to the Coast

It wasn't quite as hot as Santiago, but that didn't stop us from getting wet...

nothing like salty hair after a long day at the beach either!

El Mercado Central

I opted to stay in Santiago and take it easy this weekend rather than travel to Buenos Aires or Pucón with the majority of the students in my program. About 4 others stuck around too, and we had a great time exploring Santiago with some new Chilean friends.

One of the more memorable places we visited was el Mercado Central. Located just 3 blocks from La Plaza de Armas, this seafood market was filled with a variety of stands, restaurants, and (somewhat touristy) souvenir shops.

Fresh Fish

Erizos (Sea Erchin)
wasn't feeling gutsy enough to try them...maybe next time

Restaurante Donde Augusto

After walking around for a bit, we decided to eat at one of the more famous restaurants, Donde Augusto, which serves about 1,500 people daily. For it's large size, I was surprised how quick and friendly the service was. It was a bit pricier than other restaurants (average 7,000 CLP per dish in comparison with 4,000 CLP) Overall, I thought the food was pretty good, but not amazing.

One of my friends is a big fútbol fan, so we couldn't help but stop and pose for a pic near a signed jersey of one of his favorite players framed in the restaurant.

While exploring, we also ended up chatting with one of the vendendores or salesmen for quite a while. He took a liking to us and gave us free Chile pepper necklaces. He was also selling a variety of ají, or salsas, that he wanted us to try so he gave us a free sample platter when we sat down nearby for lunch! We ended up snapping a picture with him and our new Chile necklaces as well. (above)

Free Ají Sample Platter

In Chile, "spicy" really isn't spicy compared with U.S. standards. That said, I really enjoyed trying this sample platter since it gave our food a bit more of a kick than I've had in a month or so.

Mariscos Especiales
My Entrée- a variety of clams, shrimps, mussels, and fish served in cold in a seasoned broth, served with limón.

My friends ordered this seafood stew. It reminded me of a lighter crab dip- quite cheesy, but tasty!

In addition to the mariscos especiales and chupe, we finished off the meal with a few empanadas, which were quite tasty. Overall a pleasant and fun afternoon!

La Feria

This weekend, I finally made it to la Feria, or market, with my host family. They go to a local one about once a week to re-stock the fridge with produce. I've been meaning to visit with them since the week I got here, but was too busy traveling to make it before. Considering the fact that I love cooking, especially with fresh, local ingredients, I really enjoyed looking around and chatting with vendors.

I was also surprised that la Feria also had a lot of stands that had a garage-sale sort of feel, featuring clothing, toys, and knick-knacks. After about an hour, we came home with quite a load- one full carrrito (personal shopping cart) and one giant plastic bag full of corn, pumpkin, tomatoes, eggplant, onion, beans, bananas, pears, plums, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, peppers, and spices, not too mention a new bed cover.

My Host Family

Waiting for the Bus
la Feria is about a 35 minute ride from our apartment

for mote con huesillo

A Variety of Grains...and Pet Food!?

Produce Trucks

Porotos (Beans)

Cebolla (Onion)

Mariscos (Seafood)

I ended up chatting with one vendor for awhile, and was curious about the seafood pictured above (unfortunately I don't remember the name anymore). Anyway, he was nice enough to offer to cut it open and show it to me!

Huevos (Eggs)

... and Ropa, Juguetes, Espejos etc. (Clothes, Toys, and Mirrors )