Page 2 of ElHarlanski Travel Blog Posts

South America » Chile » Araucanía » Temuco November 3rd 2010

I have made a change from the Atacama desert to the rainy, green South of Chile in the Araucanía region. It is home to the Mapuche, whose medicine and cosmovision are the focus of the final academic excursion for my program. Most of our classes and almuerzas have been in a Ruka, which is a traditional Mapuche house made of a wooden frame and straw, with a fire pit in the center. They are very cozy and warm on misty, rainy days. They are largely a tourist attraction now, and many Mapuche who live in the country hold cultural demonstrations or rent out Rukas to tourists who want to stay for a night or two. Another thing about this region is that it is very rural, and there is a lot of agriculture- wheat, berries, potatoes, ... read more
Students Dancing at Coi-Coi
Football in a cowfield
Halloween: Wonderpants Woman and Mother Nature

South America » Chile » Arica & Parinacota » Arica October 29th 2010

Today was my last morning to wake up in Arica. The alarm on my cell phone went off at 4:30 am and at 5 I was getting on a bus to the airport. My host mom and sister, Camila, left me with the rest of the students in my program at the gate to Campus Saucache and now I am back in the Santiago airport waiting for the second leg of my flight to Temuco. Sitting in this airport is all too familiar after my 14 hour layover in August, but this time I have more friends with me. The skies are also clearer today and I have a fantastic view of the snow-capped Andes that surround Santiago. Flying in to Santiago is incredible, especially in the early morning sun, because the tips of the mountains ... read more
Grumpy Alpaca from Campus Velasquez
My favorite graffiti

South America » Chile » Arica & Parinacota » Arica October 18th 2010

After my trip to Tacna last weekend, I was really content to hang out in Arica and not do too much this weekend. Of course, I have 700 proyectos, ensayos, y tareas that I need to do for my classes in my final two weeks of real school. That's right, two weeks until we take out last trip- Temuco- and then begin our Independent Study Projects (ISPs). I can't believe we are at this point in the program, but I am also really excited to actually do my research now. This week I also had round 2 with the Rotavirus we suspect has been plaguing our group. It is not food poisoning, as the budding epidemiologists on the program have ruled that out. So we are going with evil Rotavirus. But I am all healthy now. ... read more
Super linda!
What you get for living in a tsunami zone
Kayley buried in sand

South America » Peru » Tacna » Tacna October 12th 2010

This weekend my program crossed the northern border of Chile over into Peru. We had some lectures over health in Perú, and a lot of more hands on experience- for example, we went to a program of education and free HIV testing for pregnant women. Even though we were only an hour or so away from Arica, there were some obvious differences in culture and economic status from Chile. Also, the ever-present pancito (bread) was different and, in my gringa opinion, better because it was not the usual hallulla, but something that looked more like croissants or french bread. Peruanos speak slower than Chileans, a relief The center of Tacna, in the area of San Martin- where my hotel was- and Bolognesi, it is obvious that the Peruvian government puts a lot of money into making ... read more
Domingo Mobile Clinic
Niñas feeding pigeons
Pisco Sours :)

South America » Chile » Arica & Parinacota » Arica October 5th 2010

This is the beginning of spring in Chile, or two weeks in, actually. But you can definitely feel that the air is a touch warmer, people go to the beach on the weekends, and I have seen non-gringos wearing flip-flops. Unfortunately the lovely weather came at a time when my classes are kicking into high gear with tests, essays, and various other tarea. This is because, with one month of Chile under my belt, I am halfway through with my classes! That is, I am halfway through with my 3 hour sessions of meandering Spanish in the mornings and 2 hours of lectures over health or research methods in the afternoons. Everything- lectures, readings, homework- is in Spanish, which has forced me to spend a lot of time with my dictionary. Of course it is all ... read more
Puerta de Arica
Monstrous Completo
Monstrous sandwich

This week I went on my first excursion with SIT. On Tuesday we drove up to Putre, a town in the altiplano (high plains) of the Andes. Putre is at 3,500 meters (11,400 ft) above sea level, meaning that there is little oxygen and a high risk of altitude sickness. On our climb up into the Andes, on narrow roads bordered by cliffs or desert gorges, we stopped several times to help our bodies acclimate to the changing environment and lack of oxygen. Our program directors provided us with coca leaves to chew or drink in tea. This reduces the fatigue, nausea and dizziness associated with altitude sickness. With the help of some coca tea, didn't have any problems with the altitude except for a fast heart rate and being out of breath, but this may ... read more
Atacama Desert
Don Severo

South America » Chile » Arica & Parinacota » Arica September 19th 2010

The 18th of September is Chile's independence celebration, and I am lucky enough to be here for the 200th anniversary. The Bicentenario demands a 4 day weekend, with Friday and Monday off, lots of food, friends, family, cueca, and vino! The Chileans are super patriotic and wear their traditional clothes to dance the cueca all day long. It is a highly choreographed dance of flirtation, but you still see college students dancing with their grandmothers and parents and children cueca-ing all over. In the center of town, at Plaza Colon and nearby, there have been concerts, dances, games, street entertainers, and a market all weekend long. My participation in Bicentenario events involved seeing my host sister, Javiera, and her entire colegio perform traditional Chilean dances on Wednesday. On Thursday I learned the cueca in my Spanish ... read more

South America » Chile » Arica & Parinacota » Arica September 12th 2010

On my first day of classes here in Arica I discovered a very special aspect of my campus- Alpacas. On the Velasquez campus of Universidad de Tarapaca, live two adorable alpacas. Who new university in Chile was so awesome? I began classes in Spanish and various aspects of public health last week. Our schedule changes daily, and many of our classes involve trips to the center of town, to clinics, and to areas of Chile with indigenous populations. Our Spanish classes are also culture classes, and we get a Chilean explanation of Chilean culture. Our first day of Spanish we learned how to say useful things like ghetto (flaite) and boring (fome) because Chileans use a lot of slang. Our public health classes focus on the intercultural issues that occur between rural and urban populations in ... read more

South America » Chile » Arica & Parinacota » Arica September 4th 2010

This semester I will be studying public health and spanish in Chile. My program, SIT's Chile: Public Health, Traditional Medicine, and Community Empowerment , is based in Arica, a city less than an hour south of the Peruvian border and near the Bolivian border. It is located at the end of the Azapa valley, in the middle of the Atacama desert. On the west side of Arica are a series of beaches, on the east there is farmland for olives and tomatoes. Arica has 5 universities, including Universidad de Tarapaca, where I will take some of my classes. Arica is also a port city, with a lot of international trade. I landed in Santiago on monday morning at 8 am. Santiago is surrounded by the Andes and during the descent I was able to watch the ... read more

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