Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our Chilean family picnic day

Just one of many things we did on a great weekend!
This weekend was fantastic. We had tons of plans with different people - heck, I'll even say with friends. We saw Santiago and we got out of the city. And on top of that, the weather is getting better and better every day. We will post about a few different things we did this weekend. First up is our Chilean family picnic.

A little background: At La Bici Verde, I am usually there on the same shift as a cool guy named Martin. He and I get along really well. His English is pretty good, so we can have good conversations, and he is patient and helpful when I speak in Spanish. We talk a lot about music, and compare life in our two countries. Also, because he is studying tourism, he loves to tell me about all the places I should go in Chile, and has suggested that we go together.

This week, we finally made firm plans, and we decided that on Saturday we would go to a nearby national park called Yerba Loca. Based on our planning, I thought that Caroline and I would meet up with him and his girlfriend and then we would drive together. That turned out to be true, but what I didn't realize is that we would also be joined by his mom, dad, brother (who also interns at Bici Verde), sister and nephew! And so, at 11am on Saturday we found ourselves heading out on a family picnic with our very own Chilean family.
Here we are with Martin and his little nephew Rafael
The whole day was a ton of fun, and the family could not have been friendlier and more welcoming. Though it was a warm day in the city, it was cold and overcast in the mountains. But no worries, they had brought tons of extra jackets, scarves, and even fleece pants! Caroline was happy to put them to use and stay warm:
It's sort of hard to see, but she is also wearing giant purple fleece pants :)
They were also very prepared to make a great picnic meal. We didn't feel like moochers since we had brought veggie burgers and some other things for ourselves and to share, but these guys really knew how to have a family barbeque (which is called asado here). We tried a new dessert: cut up apples and pears topped with papaya syrup. Muy rico! (literally means very rich, but rico is the standard thing to say for "delicious" when you have good food)

While we were preparing the food, we got all the usual questions that we always get: what are you each doing here? where do you live in Chile? How long have you been here and how long are you staying? etc. We also got a question that is always a little tricky: Why on earth did you guys choose Chile? It seems like Chileans are still not used to having a lot of foreigners visit, and they seem to have a little inferiority complex about the appeal of their country. So when we get that question we always try to say how we knew Chile would be so great, and fortunately it's proving to be true!

After the cook-out, we did a very small amount of hiking and exploring, but because it was kind of chilly we didn't do much. We did go check out the river. The colors were beautiful and very vibrant, because of the copper mines nearby. In the pictures you can see how the rocks are very red and the river water is very green or bluish.
I'm not sure, but I am guessing that the green water color comes from oxidized copper
We also played cards with Martin and his girlfriend, which was fun and now I learned the names of the suits and some useful words when playing cards. Martin and his girlfriend trash-talked a lot during the game, which was a little unfair because we don't know how to trash talk back in Spanish :(

There's probably more to tell, but you can just view the slideshow below to see the rest. It was a very fun day overall, and I think they must have had fun with us too, because they invited us for Christmas!

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