Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yesterday was the day that I went to get my passport back from the Vietnam embassy. I got my passport with the travel visa….good for a one time visit from August 30 to September 30th. So, when I asked if I might be able to change those dates…you guessed it, no problem!!!!

As I was walking there, I noticed that there were several policemen standing around a street. There were barriers on the street as well. They had been there a couple of days earlier. So, my curiosity got the best of me and I asked why they were there. It the the home of the President on Santiago. Now, I am not certain if that is his personal home or if it is like the White House and the president moves there during his term…by the way, the president of Chile is a female! Her name is Michelle Jeria.

In the afternoon, I met with, Pam, the wife of David’s boss. Together we took off walking. She is leaving to go back to Canada and needed to buy a couple of presents for the grandchildren. We walked toward Bellavista as there is a craft market there. She got a cute leather pocketbook for her granddaughter and a toy train carved from wood for her grandson. We were near Santa Lucia park and since she had never been there, we walked over there and all around the park.

From the park, we spotted another craft market across the street and decided to go through that. It was on our way there, we met Alfredo Schmidt! (He is Chilean, but his grandfather was German!!) He was passing out pamphlets near the park exit and when Pam said “No thank you” in English, he had to know where we were from. When I told him, America…he said “I am sorry, but Chileans don’t like Bush”!!! That was the first political thing I have heard since being down here. I had expected to hear so much more.

Anyway, Alfredo was very nice and funny. He wanted to know all about Canada – Montreal and Quebec and how they want to separate from the rest of Canada, how many people spoke French, he wanted to know about ice fishing, Canadian politics – the Canadian Prime Minister was here over the weekend, I guess. As we were leaving, he asked for a donation to his cause which was a school for Down Syndrome children. I pulled out about $2.00 worth and he asked for more! So, I gave him another $4.00.

As a thank you for our donations, he gave us cute little pins in the shape of the flutes they play down here. We later saw the pins in the craft market for about 20 cents….much cheaper than what we had paid for the donation, but we both agreed meeting Alfredo was priceless!

Our walk today was 14 miles. My butt was dragging as I headed back to the apartment. Last night, Rick – David’s boss – invited David and me to dinner. Down here, the dinner hour starts at 8:00 PM or later. It was a pleasant evening. There was anothe couple as well…Alan, who David works with and his wife Mary.

David and I tried many things that we hadn’t had before. Sea Urchins….David liked them, I didn’t care for them. They have a very strong taste. Carmenere Wine, which has a very interesting history. The grape was brought to Chile from France in the late 1800s. The vineyards had been selling the wine from this grape as Merlot, but DNA testing in the early 90s showed that it was a different grape and hence, the “new” wine. My main entree was “Easter Island” Tuna. I am not certain if the tuna was actually caught off Easter Island, but it was good. My dessert was papaya and prickly pear fruit…somehow, it was sweeten…too sweet, but it was good. David had something that was pure sugar…it suited him fine!

So, after that meal, I will need to walk much today! I am headed to pay for my Spanish classes and then to the art museum!

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