Tuesday, May 8, 2012


After a long first day and very little sleep, we were not too excited to wake up and eat breakfast at 6:30am so we could leave the hotel at 7:30am. But we were able to sleep on the two hour long tour bus ride because our agenda for the day was a visit and tour of Santiago, Chile's capital city. Upon arriving in Santiago we went to La Bolsa de Comercio de Santiago, or the Santiago Stock Exchange. Even though I'm not a business major, learning about the stock exchange and visiting the trading floor was very interesting. We took a few pictures and then left, preparing for our tour of Santiago from Javier. 

Alli, Allison, and Carly at the Santiago Stock Exchange

The highlights of the tour of Santiago included visiting a beautiful cathedral, going to a Chilean history museum, and taking pictures of the Chilean white house, La Moneda. Javier explained the story of Salvador Allende's fall from power, before which he had been living in this white house. After the tour we ate lunch at a fish market. Even though the portion sizes were huge, the salmon I ordered was delicious, and we were serenaded by guitar players while we were eating.

After lunch we went to another incline which led to what felt like the hundredth set of steps we have climbed since arriving in Chile. At the top of the steps was an enormous statue of the Virgin Mary. Chile is about 90% Roman Catholic, and the remaining percent is almost entirely other Christian religions. Javier explained to us that there is weekly mass at this shrine for the Virgin Mary. We took a lot of pictures because there was a great view of the entire city from the top of the massive hill. I was surprised, however, at the amount of smog in Santiago. It was very obvious from such a high elevation, and it made it very difficult to pick out details from the city below and the mountains in the distance.

We love our group pictures! A slight chunk of the view of Santiago is on the right.

After we finished our tour of Santiago we hopped on the tour bus and slept again for the long ride back to Valparaíso. We went to the University for our second dance class - this time we learned the basics of reggaeton! Reggaeton is much more relaxed and involves less technique than the salsa that we learned yesterday, but it was just as much fun. We've all been exhausted from the nonstop moving and busy agenda, but I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity. I've loved getting to know everyone in our group; being together all day, every day has allowed us to bond constantly. During dinner we commented on how it feels like we've known each other for forever. I can't wait for new adventures every day; tomorrow we take on a few more lectures at the University, a visit to the Chilean company LAN, and another salsa dancing class!

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