A Travellerspoint blog

And now we've come to the end...

Chile was just a superb trip. I’m sure we speak for all of us in saying it triumphs New York by a landslide. How do you forge some of the greatest bonds among like-minded people? Obviously, you take 14 of them; put them in Santiago, Chile, far away from home where no one speaks their language, send them on a few corporate visits and city tours, feed them like kings, converse over a few glasses of wine, and most importantly, capture every moment with a picture. It’s the perfect formula. Seriously, it was a blast—one of the highlights of our lives together. It’s hard to swallow the fact that this might have been the last time we’re all together in such a setting as this. However, it’s comforting to know that we went out with a bang. A week (which felt more like a couple days) served to be just the perfect amount of time to discover a culture—to examine business a world away. As we look back on some of our most precious moments, unforgettable sayings, cultural discoveries, and life lessons, we can certainly conclude this: after searching for distinct differences (in the culture, commerce, people, and tradition) we progressively found that a lot of what we expected to be drastically different was more or less the same. We were all quite pleasantly surprised by our concluding reflection, when compared to our original expectations:

• Chile is beautiful, developed or undeveloped. If you expected shanty towns, ruins, and underdeveloped rural areas, good luck finding them. What we got instead was an extensive skyline view of a poor man’s New York, if not grander in some aspects.
• Gracias, gracias, muchas gracias. Clearly, our favor phrase, followed closely by, “Permiso.” They weren’t kidding when they told us to know a little Spanish. But when all else failed, at least we knew how to be thankful.
• Altitude is a workout. We learned this the hard way of course, but the gift at the end was always worth the climb—rare opportunities to touch the heavens: San Cristobal, the Terra Tower, the Andes heights, the sights from the upland parts of Valparaiso—priceless.
• Business is business? Evidently, the American model—100 mph—doesn’t work for everyone else. In fact, it only suits America. But most people are okay with that. Hard work is still churned out, but when personal relationships are emphasized and things like--oh I don’t know…fun?—are encouraged, those systems can be just as efficient and rewarding. Ultimately, people matter. It certainly doesn’t hurt when you live in a place where both the beach and the ski resorts are only an hour or two away.
• Cherish water…it isn’t always free. Not to mention ice, either. We probably drank more wine and pisco sour in one week than we ever did at any other point of our lives. But we aren’t complaining.
• PAY now, or forever hold your PEE. Yes, evidently, bathrooms, aka banos, are difficult to find in this country. And some will cost you some pesos. Oh, and don’t forget to get your toilet paper PRIOR TO going into the stall.
• Y.O.L.O. That is, indeed, the motto. How else could we justify white water rafting in the fall?
• Homogenous people. It’s true. The more we talk about it, the more we realize that not much in Chile is actually Chilean. Michael Jackson and modern pop music can be heard at any bar or street corner. Steak and potatoes are the norm. Be prepared, however, to stand out because Chileans do have a very distinct look.
• Besos! People love to kiss here. Period.
• Red light, green light. When crossing the street, there’s pretty much red and green, no yellow; therefore, no warning. You get exactly 10 flashes of the green “walking man” as your warning. IF you’re not across the street then, too bad! Cars go, immediately, without hesitation! No bueno!

Val1.jpg
Val3.jpg

Honestly, we could go on and on about life lessons learned in this wonderful country…big or small. But what truly matters is that we got to learn all of this as a group: the Neeley Fellows. There’s no other program out there that facilitates such amazing opportunities for its students, just for the purpose of getting them exposed. If you think you know one, you don’t. If you think you can find one, you won’t. This is as good as it gets. So put your frogs up. Viva Chile!

Val4.jpg

Posted by fellows13 23:24 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Where's Josh?

Left Behind in Chile...Almost

There was no time to think, only to run. I kicked it into high gear—well, the highest gear possible after another big lunch—and chased after the bus. The dust from the dirt road covered my face as I drew closer to the back window, where I could see the Fellows spread out and talking to one another. A group of Chilean soccer players yelled at the bus for me, trying to grab someone’s attention inside. My right shoe loosened up and almost fell off. I tried to catch the bus but as it sped up I realized that it was too late. I slowed down and wondered what to do next.

I pulled out my phone and sent one of the faculty members on the bus a text message: “I’m not on the bus!! I was in the restroom and I chased after you all. Come back please!” Text messages don’t always go through that quickly, so I made a quick call. The Fellows had just realized that I wasn’t on the bus when Jessica answered the phone, and they turned around to come pick me up.

Once again, our experiences in Chile seemed like something out of a movie. Imagine an American tourist who speaks practically no Spanish running desperately after a bus, dirt flying in his face—all this without an international call plan. Tragic? No, this was hilarious. Ironically, being left behind on accident is a very memorable, and pretty funny, moment. Besides, I had a few extra moments to gaze out at the picturesque view of the Pacific Ocean.

Josh is found!

Josh is found!

Posted by fellows13 14:57 Comments (0)

Valparaíso

The City of Color!

On our last day in Chile, we went on a bus tour through Valparaíso. It was probably the most unique and colorful city we had ever side. The hillsides surrounding the city were literally covered with houses in all shapes, sizes and shades of color. Even more color and personality was added to the city by all of the murals and pictures painted on everything from walls, to gates, doorways and even the side of houses themselves. See for yourself:

Houses everywhere!

Houses everywhere!

photo-23.jpgphoto-20.jpg

Mural

Mural

The city is filled with rich history: much of the buildings and streets were made using materials from the ships people arrived in Valparaíso on. We saw many other historic sites, including the incredibly Naval Office building and statues honoring heroes in the Pacific War. We were able to shop for beautiful paintings and hand made jewelry from local merchants. It was an incredible city to soak in the last of our Chilean culture experience walking the streets of Valparaíso.

Office of the Navy

Office of the Navy

Posted by fellows13 12:21 Comments (0)

Zip Lining

Checking Off Bucket Lists

It doesn’t really get much better than this. White water rafting in the morning, carving a beautiful path through the Andes; a delectable dinner in the afternoon, followed by zip lining. Cascada de Las Animas is such an incredible place. There’s not a single area where you can’t see some an awe-inspiring, mouth-gaping grand landscape around you. There’s nothing like zipping through the cool Chilean air, with the smooth rapids flowing placidly below you, the immense Andes Mountains surrounding you, and the beautiful leaves of fall coloring the scenery perfectly. Some of us zipped upside down; other posed for the camera, and most simply kicked back and enjoyed the ride. There were two zip lines, separated by a scenic hike. The last zip line brought us back to our starting place. Sometimes, words just cannot describe. I’ll let this video do the talking. Enjoy!

For those of you who don’t know, now you do. All of this beauty for $4000 pesos, a group rate negotiated by Senora Moreno. Priceless. It’s literally going to be heartbreaking to leave this city tomorrow night…we’re going to miss this view.

Posted by fellows13 17:58 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

A-Team Adventures

White Water Rafting in Maipo Valley (Brrr!)

Today, the other half of our team went white water rafting on the Maipo River at Cascada de las Animas. After putting on all of our gear and receiving some pre-rafting training, we were off! Seven of us formed the A-Team led by our tour guide, Benjamin.

All of us, with the exception of Dr. White and Logan, had never been white water rafting before and were nervous with anticipation (there is a fine line between adventurous and terrifying). Plus, there were so many commands (forward, high side right, back right, etc) we were scared to mess up and row the wrong way towards our peril!

Getting Ready to Go!

Getting Ready to Go!

The trip started off in relatively calm water and progressed along the 13-kilometer raft ride. It was the most exciting when we went through the sections of rapids where the water runs faster and large boulders stick out of the water because the raft was flying in all different directions, hitting not only rocks but other rafts! I have yet to mention, the water was freezing. I mean almost literally- the Maipo River water is the melted snow from the Andes Mountains. Some of our group was brave enough to voluntary jump in (immediately regretting it) while the others were tackled into the water (and are still bitter about it) but a teammate.

GO FROGS!

GO FROGS!

The biggest surprise was when we were going down a particularly large drop and Benjamin yelled “high side right!” Immediately, everyone lunged to the right side of the boat…and the whole thing flipped! We ended up underneath the over turned raft and eventually floating down the freezing cold river in our life jackets. After being rescued by our guide and a guide from another raft, we all made it back in the raft and continued on our rafting adventure. While it was unforgettably cold, we had so much fun navigating the currents of the Maipo River. In addition to the thrill of white water rafting, the picturesque scenery on either side of the riverbank further enhanced the experience. We could see the mountaintops of the Andes and tall forest trees all around us! It a surreal view we will never forget. Cascade de las Animas provided the most exciting adventures on our trip to Chile!

Rafting4.jpg

Posted by fellows13 17:04 Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 19) Page [1] 2 3 4 »