Floripa! Oh my!

Brazil. You are gorgeous.

So this last week I spent in Florianópolis, Brazil with my study buddy Daniel. Although the weather was so so (it rained a bit), Floripa was fab. I spent a lot of time on the beach making new friends with all the stray dogs (they loved me). We went white water rafting- and our guide was from Chile- so naturally awesome. And of course- we had to make some pepparkakor (gingerbread) for Christmas- which I spent with some interesting construction worker friends of Daniel (haha check the pics).

Also in Brazil I tried some new food:

Acai- frozen berries that are ground up with ice and served with granola and your choice of strawberries, bananas etc. SO Good. Super healthy.

Caldo de Cana- freshly pressed sugar cane juice!

Pão de Queijo- literally Brazilian cheese bread. Mmmm!

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But after a week it was time to head back to Chile. I have about 2 more weeks left, which means a lot of work, but also alot of play! Two of my amazing friends are here visitng me and we are spending New Years in Valpo— although off to a bit of a rocky start in Santiago (we lost our keys to the apartment and well-lets just say we figured out we aren’t 18 anymore), however, we made it!

Happy New Years! Nos vemos en 2011! xoxoxo

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Over and ‘OUT’.

Friends, Amigos, Kompisar…

I’m a bit—- exhausted.

These last couple of weeks have been amazing. I’ve been up and down the coast from Los Molles down to Las Cruces. Here’s a bit of a recap from each place:

Las Cruces–  Although a bit disorganised this place is amazing– and thank god for Elliott- a friend I met through Paulina. Las Cruces is not as developed as the other Caletas I’ve been to…  so Elliot and I had to drive from house to house and track down different members. It was pretty fun, and interesting (standing and yelling ‘Hello’ to a house to see if anyone is home…) to try to find everyone, but in the end it all worked out- 17 interviews! Woop woop!

Montemar– Right in the middle of Reñaca. This Caleta is stationed right under a research centre that is part of the Univeristy of Valparaiso. This is good and well- bad.  The university is expanding and thus building all around this Caleta- there is constant construction and noise- the fishermen don’t seem to enjoy it too much- however the university also does help by bringing resources and hopefully in the future new projects. I really enjoyed being here (I went twice)… and since my friends Paulina and Andres have worked here before it was easy to establish connections and contacts with all the members….

Maitencillo– BY FAR- my favorite place in Chile… thus far. This is the furthest… 3.5 hours… I’ve been from Santiago and probably one of the reasons I liked it so much.  I stayed with a friend of my supervisor- Francisco- his mother rents houses for vacations etc— so obviously- I rented one. Absolutely beautiful- and the beach was just about 2 minutes from the house.  I stayed for the weekend- interviewing for a couple hours the first day with FranciscA- and then she had to go back to Santiago- and I did the rest by myself— 27 in total (I’m a bit proud of myself for that).  The members were so so so friendly, helpful and positive. They truly enjoyed what they did, and felt like part of the community (they have houses right on the beach). The President  is well organized and has established different comissions for different areas from the management area, discipline, social problems etc., and everyone understood the reason for a management area… yay! I spent a good deal of time just hanging out, drinking some wine and eating ceviche (no food poisoning this time) with them. And before I left I went for a walk with my supervisor’s friend  to another beach— check the pictures- there is a house there that is GIGANTIC- and it looks like a Castle.  All in all- great.

Los Molles– Another great place. And also a bit farther from Santiago- about 3.5 hours. Paulina and I went for 1 day and ended up interviewing 17 people. This Caleta is very productive (lots of algae– check the pics) and  like Maitencillo is very well organized. On the way back we decided to hitchhike back to Santiago…. this was interesting. We ended up stopping a pickup-truck – meet our driver- Julius Caesar (I’m not kidding about the name…)… and yes he was going to Santiago- however this also ment a bit of stop in a town called El Melon- where we drank some beer with him, and then about 4 hours later we got safely to Santiago. However, I obviously had to forget my ‘golden’ notebook in this guys car— with all my information, dates, numbers, phone numbers etc., but  thankfully Paulina took his number- so yesterday I met him and got it back. haha. Good one.

Quintay– This Caleta is located about 1.5 hours from Santiago, however down a very very veryyyy windy road (almost got sick). I went with Francisca and Celia- again like Maitencillo and Los Molles- Quintay is very well organized, and has an exceptional president. We ended up interviewing 20 members- during a meeting they were having-  here is how it worked: The president would send out 3 members and we would talk to them, and then they would send out 3 more, etc.,  and this continued until we had talked to everyone. Suuuper fácil.

Algarrobo- 3 days and done! At first a bit difficult to get people to talk to us, but by day 2 and day 3— not a problem. We were also there for a good amount of time just hanging out, helping and watching them bring in a fresh catch of lapa- a benthic resource. Francisca, Celia and I made one bad-ass research team and interviewed about 35 people. (AWESOME).

And well– yes its been a lot of work, but I’ve also managed to hang out with friends and enjoy Chile as well. I’ve met some fantastic people through Martin- my hairdresser- who transformed my hair from- orange,blonde, brunette— to brunette. Thank you.  I’ve been to some new places in Bella Vista (Adri y Ildi— we are going bar hopping)… and last night I went to kickboxing with two friends. Scenario- Me, my friends Thea and Sophie in a class with all guys who do this at least 3 times a week—- here is the place:  http://www.kickboxingchile.cl/instructor.html.

The class involved running for about 20 minutes ( I don’t run), and then doing different punches, jabs, kicks, etc with partners (thank god for padding) and well — today my entire body hurts. It was fun, but I think I’ll stick to yoga.

Entonces- its the weekend por fin! —  Out in Santiago tonight and then  spending some time in El Quisco with my ‘family’ before I leave on Monday for Florianópolis, Brazil! Sooo excited.

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Take care and Much love and God Jul, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad! or whatever else fits.

Besos!