While our families continue to claim that every passing day is the “coldest of the year,” at least we Americans have found a way to keep warm. The last few days have been a lot of fun, both in terms of team-building among the EAP kids and an exploration into Chilean nightlife (or afternoon-life, if you start early enough).
The first thing that we had to realize was that culture built around not having an infrastructural 2 am cutoff point. There is no obvious limit, time-wise, to the sale of alcohol, so bars and clubs (discoteca, or “disco,” is a common word for a dance club), stay open basically until the owners decide to close them. The same goes for parties, which are known to last until the sun comes up.
Friday night, after getting back from Algarrobo, was our first exposure to this. Annette, a student in the EAP program, knew one of the year-long students from California, who had already been here 6 months, and she was throwing a party. We decided to go, both to meet and greet other students, but also to hang out and hopefully get to know Chileans. She was scheduled to come by around nine, so around 7:30 I decided to go out and use the internet at a cafe until then.
Or so I thought. I stopped by my apartment to drop off a few things, and saw my neighbor standing outside his door. When I came out a few minutes later, there he was, and we started talking (in Spanish, claro). Turns out he’s a student at La Chile studying econ, I think, and he and his roommate invited me in. We hung out and talked for a few minutes, and then he invited me to a party on the La Chile campus for all of the students, who had just finished their classes. I had time to kill before I had to go, so… hell yeah! Pablo, as he is called, was very nice, introducing me to all of his friends as his neighbor, the Gringo, and they all made me feel very welcome. I only stayed a little while before we headed out, but he said to call if I needed anything, and I’m surely going to take him up on that, at least to find the best places in town, before too long.
The party was a lot of fun, if extremely tiring. There were a ton of Americans and Chileans, and English and Spanish could be heard from every corner of the apartment, often in odd combinations of Spanglish. My Spanish performed fairly well for most of the night, although it did especially better talking to Americans, and failed a few times when speaking to Chileans.
The next night was just as interesting, as a group of students decided to go out to a bar near Plaza Nunoa, … getting kicked out of the internet cafe. Updates coming soon! Ciao!