A return to winter time in Chile

Temuco Travel Blog

 › entry 19 of 20 › view all entries
After experiencing the heat of the Guatemalan Jungle, it seemed like a good time to head South, in this case way south.   So I flew to Santiago, Chile by way of the airport in Panama where you can buy a flat screen TV and any brand of liquor that you might want duty free.   I skipped the TVs but did pick up a bottle of Cheves Regal to take to Chile.

I arrived in Santiago in the early evening and realized it wasn’t summer any more very quickly when I walked outside of the airport.   I was picked up by a student’s uncle.  The student, Zita, had stayed at my house in Lafayette about 7 years ago as an exchange student for 1 year.  Alan, the uncle, was quite like his usual self with his 25 year old Peruvian girlfriend.   Alan at age 45 still seems to keep on going.

The next morning at 7:00 am in almost darkness in a mad dash to the airport after waking up late I flew to Temuco Chile.   As usual for this time of year in Chile the plane was delayed in taking off for about 4 hours due to fog in Southern Chile.   In Temuco, I was greeted by Zita, her dad in military uniform and her little sister Sofia.   I went to their house, which I visited about 6 years ago and began to feel the chill of winter.   

Fortunately the family in Temuco realized that I would not survive very long with the clothing that I brought so we went downtown to pick up some long underwear and a warm sweater.   This brought up my body temperature so that only my hands were cold a lot of the time as opposed to being nearly frozen everywhere.   

During the time in Temuco, I learned along about the Chilean education system from Zita who is training to become an English teacher.   I attended a few of her student teaching classes and gave talks to her students about the US flag and Thanksgiving in ¼ speed English.   Despite my slow speech, I think only a few students understood a few words (5th and 7th graders).   For the most part the students in the English class, all 40, felt that they had come to a soccer match and shouted out what ever they felt like at any time.   But at the same time they were very warm and in one class they asked me to autograph a piece of paper for them.   At the end of class the students gave me a warm goodbye and often gave the teachers hugs and kisses, which is almost mandatory behavior in Chile when meeting or saying goodbye to a female in school, at the office or at home.   

Zita and I also traveled further South to see the volcanoes and mountains for a few days.    We visited hotsprings, and went horse back riding one day which resulted in sore backs for the both of us.   I felt like I was in a combination of California, Wyoming and South America with all of the beautiful scenery and warm scenes of Chilean rural life.   Having a car on quiet roads made travel very interesting and colorful.   

After 2 weeks of Chilean culture, travel and a birthday party for Zita’s mom, Ilse, it was time for me to return to the States.      

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photo by: wendermilliken