Interesting weather we had here in the holidays. On Tuesday it rained tonnes - well tonnes for the Atacama desert, the driest desert in the world. But because it rained in Copiapó, and the further inland and the higher altitude one goes, the colder it gets, about 100kms inland from us it snowed!
Road, desert, snow
This wasn't just a light dusting of snow, this was brown desert that had been replaced by white - it stretched on for kilometres with the small mountains of the desert in the background. There were a lot of other people there who had come to see the snow. It was something I never expected to see during my time in Chile - snow, and in the desert!
The huge amount of snow, everything was white and blue
Snow means snowmen, so I started to build a snowman on the bonnet of the jeep. When my family realised what I was doing, they helped by sticking some sticks in his neck to support his head better. We drove for about 40kms with Otto the Snowman on the bonnet, but due to some purposeful sharp breaking on my host dad's part (despite our protests) Otto unfortunately died at about 3pm on Tuesday afternoon.
Host sisters and I with Otto
NZ represent! (AFS top, Icebreaker thermal and Canterbury pants!)
From Wednesday evening to Saturday evening I spent at the beach in Caldera, which is one hour away from Copiapó, where my host family has a little beach bach. It was only my host sister (the one who's 16) and I. We packed our bags on Wednesday, took a colectivo downtown to get to the bus/taxi station. We got off and as we arrived at the station, the driver of the bus was calling out 'anyone else for Caldera?' So we ran to the bus. Because it was really full I ended up sitting next to an old man and my sister further at the back of the bus. But as people got out along the way, there was a seat next to her where I could sit. We arrived in Caldera and took another colectivo to the beach house, which is at another little beach about 15 mins walk away (it was cold and we had bags, and it was dark). There was a bit of cleaning to do - sweeping away the termite dust and cleaning the toilet, as the last people to stay there were my host dad, uncle, granddad and brother, and men do not think to put chlorox in the toilet bowl . . . - anyway, my host sister's boyfriend arrived while we were making pasta for supper. After supper we went to another beach house, where Rafa (host sis's boyfriend) was staying with a friend (Sebastian). There were a few of the friends of Rafa and Seba there - Ramón and Luis (Lucho/Tata), and Patricio (Pato). So we played cards for a few hours.
The next day was a lazy day - we all got together at Lucho's house to have lunch, which was prepared mainly by the guys, Rafa and Seba. An entrée of tomato, avocado and sardines, and a main of rice and a sausage. In Chile they prepare the rice differently too, first they chop up carrot into small pieces, and maybe a capsicum or peas, cook the carrot and other veges for a bit in oil, then add rice and water, then let it cook slowly in the pot on top of a toaster frier (which I have only seen in Chile). After lunch we watched a movie (well Seba, Lucho and I watched a movie while host sis and Rafa watched House). Then went to buy supplies for a barbecue later that night.
The real men cooking
The barbecue meant buying meat, sausages and an onion (to clean the grill thing), oh, and fanta and beer (as long as you look old enough, shops will sell alcohol to underage people). And just to stop anyone reading this from having a heart attack, it was one bottle of one litre between six people, with plenty of food. We are responsible teenagers. The barbecue was cleaned my rubbing the onion against the grill plate while the fire was going underneath (this is a proper artesional barbecue, with fire, not with gas.) Someone is in charge of the meat and it gets taken off the barbecue at various stages of rare-ness, cut into bite sized pieces. It's not like in NZ when once everything is cooked everyone starts to eat, here we get fed gradually. So we ate and played cards and had a good time.
I bought some NZ sweet 'Kiwi poo'/Choc raisins to have before the barbecue
The next day (Friday) we had lunch at Seba's beach house - rice and hamburger meat with a salad that I made. It was funny how my host sis had originally planned to come to the beach for one night (Wednesday) and we ended up leaving on Saturday! On Friday night we watched some of House, then we went back to our house because my host brother had arrived, I made a supper of rice and sausages for us while my host sis and boyfriend went for a walk.
Outside the beach house:
Saturday was a lazy day, we didn't really have any food for breakfast until someone bought bread. This time we all had lunch at my host family's beach house - oysters, pasta and sausages. It was a great lunch. Since we had stayed so late, Seba's dad drove us all back home, as we was coming anyway to pick up Seba and Rafa.
On Sunday, the last day of the holidays, I spent the morning cleaning and tidying my part of the room, not to say it was untidy but I wanted to have a good sort through my stuff. We went to a chinese restaurant for lunch, then afterwards I walked the dogs, and started to sort through all the emails I had missed while I was away! And now the holidays are over . . . These have definitely been great holidays!