31-03-2007 – Day 9 – San Pedro de Atacama

Blogged by Twan as Chile 2007,Education,Human Technology Interaction,Travel — Twan Sat 31 Mar 2007 1:00 pm

The plan was to drive all night and arrive in San Pedro at 9 in the morning. When we woke up at 7 we found out that were never gonna be there at9. Also the chauffeurs didn’t know anything about being there in the morning.

We drove to Calama where we had to pick up our new guide. When we arrived there he was not there yet so we had the opportunity to look around in a huge american look a like mall. We first invaded the toilet with 28 sun burned people, everybody trying to squeeze out some feces. This didn’t work too good but everybody went for brekky/dindin in the food court. Here I ordered in my best spanish some weird hamburger. On the picture it looked ok but in reality my stomach already turned upside down. But accepted the challenge and emptied my plate as soon as possible. After that we walked around a bit more and found a nice coffee bar. After this very good tasting coffee, I went for a more succesful visit to the toilet.

When the new guide arrived we drove to San Pedro de Atacama and found our new accomodation. This place was a bit more primitive than the cabins in La Serena but very cool. At 17.00 we had to gather again to go to the moon valley to see the sunset. We drove there by bus and the guide took us totally unprepared into a very dark, narrow and pointy cave. I hurted my knee pretty bad on a big rock in the middle of the path. But we went on to end up somewhere in the middle of some rock formations to see the sun go down. It was cool to see. We then went to a sand sculpture. The sun was already down so we had to make pictures with a long shutter time.

Then we went back to the hostel where I took a very cold shower and went to bed. I hoped I could have a nice sleep but unfortunately I woke up a lot of times.

30-03-2007 – Day 8 – Penguin Watching + Drive North

Blogged by Twan as Chile 2007,Education,Human Technology Interaction,Travel — Twan Fri 30 Mar 2007 5:08 pm

Some days ago, Rosa came with the idea to go dolphin and penguin watching today. Originally the interested people got picked up by an agancy and dropped off at the cabanas again. Then we found out that almost everybody wanted to go, so we could also arrange the bus to take there and leave north at the end of the day as planned, but then from the penguin watching place.

I got up at 7 to take a shower, pack everything and have breakfast. At 9 we sat in the bus to start driving north to the place where we would get on the boat. It was a nice drive of about 2 hours over very bad roads but finally we got there. We got in 2 small boats to drive to some islands where we would see penguins. We first saw some deals sitting on some rocks and then we saw some penguins. Also pelicans were flying around there a lot. I didn’t bring my camera because I was afraid it would get wet ( good decision ). I could have made some cool shots. But had to safe them till we got back, where I did make some.

We had some good lunch after the boat trip and continued our way further North. Around 22.00 we arrived in Copiapo to have dindin. I had a big pizza which tasted pretty good. At 0.00 we continued our way. I tried to get some sleep.

29-03-2007 – Day 7 – Elqui valley + Observatory

Blogged by Twan as Chile 2007,Education,Human Technology Interaction,Travel — Twan Thu 29 Mar 2007 6:03 pm

I slept pretty tight and got up at 8.30. With the other commission members we wanted to get some breakfast but there was not really a restaurant. We went to the reception and they explained us that we were going to get brekky in our Cabana’s. So we waited a bit and yes, there came a maid with a plate with fruit juice, bread, cheese and ham. We also boiled some water for the always good tasting Nescafe.

At 11.00 we got in the bus for a drive through the Elqui valley. This valley runs from the Andes to La Serena and is a place which is very fertile. A lot of vineyards for both wine and the very nice and strong alcoholic drink Pisco are grown there. The guide told us you can see the difference in the way they grow. For wine, the plants are visible in nice rows and for the pisco they are more like a roof of plants.

We stopped at a very big damn. It was nice to see the huge lake with the mountains on the background and on the other side the big difference in height  We continued our way through the valley and stopped after a while because some people were hungry. I used the opportunity to walk around a bit and shot some pictures. The next stop was the little town called Vicuña. Some got a pretty big appetite. We went to a restaurant and I ordered Lomo with papas fritas. It ended up in a big plate covered in fries with a rather big steak beneath. Completely full we got in the bus again to go to the Capel Pisco Brewery.

A nice lady lady told us everything about pisco. From the kind of grape to the part where the drinks get bottled. The tour was a bit touristic and short but funny to see how that drink that we discovered already back home is made. In the end we got to taste one of the already mixed pisco drinks and we had the possibility to buy some bottles and souvenirs. I went for the most expensive bottle ( 4690 pesos ) which should be more like a brandy instead of the harsh taste we were used to.

Back in the bus we drove to Vicuña again. We had to wait a bit before we could go to the observatory. We sat on a square where a lot of locals were sitting. Some of us got attacked by some stray dogs that wanted to play a bit. Nobody got hurt but it was a bit scary when they started to growl. Then at 17.00 we started driving to the observatory. We got there a bit too early but we could walk around a bit and make some pictures.

Then a guide took us inside and explained us something about star signs, milky ways and the universe. It was a funny guide that told the story on an interesting way. Then we went upstairs to have a look at the telescope. We watched at the sword from orions belt and at Saturn. It was really cool to see it for real through a telescope. We then walked outside and he showed us the southern cross which is only view able from the southern hemisphere. We then could make pictures of the moon through the telescope.

We then drove back to the cabanas. It already got pretty late. Some still wanted something to eat, others including me went to bed to have a nice sleep.

28-03-2007 – Day 6 – Santiago -> La Serena

Blogged by Twan as Chile 2007,Education,Human Technology Interaction,Travel — Twan Wed 28 Mar 2007 8:32 pm

The bus picked us up to drive through the night to La Serena. I was really tired so took my sleeping bag in the bus and got completely in it which was nice and warm. Unfortunately I couldn’t really find a nice position to sleep but after a while I fell a sleep ( to wake up a lot during the night).

At 8 in the morning we arrived at our cabana’s in La Serena. We only had 2 cabana’s for our luggage. We stored our luggage in them and then got on the bus again to go for brekky in the city. With a nescafe and a ham-cheese sandwich our stomach was full again. We then walked to plaza de armas and from there to the Japanese garden. Here I saw my camera was still on 2 stops of underexposure so my photo’s are a bit dark here. But luckily saw it after a while so i could get this one:

After walking around in this nice and tranquilizing Japanese garden we walked to a big mall to do some shopping. It was an american look a like mall with a supermarket with 30 cash registers. Also from every article there was a huge stack displayed in all the racks. We bought some bread and meat for lunch. Then we started walking back to the cabanas. Half way the bus stopped to let us in and we drove back where would eat lunch and go for a swim in the pool, or to the beach. Since our cabana wasn’t cleaned yet we had to wait a bit more for the key.

When we got the key we went to the beach. It was really windy but the sun was shining. I remembered from the time I was in California that it was a tricky situation. The wind makes you feel cold and you don’t put sunscreen because you don’t feel the sun burning. But the sun is really shining so you burn baaaad. I warned some people but they didn’t seem to bother and I could only say ‘Told ya.. ‘ after they looked at their burned body parts.

We gathered for dindin at 8 at a restaurant on the beach. I ordered a nice burger and after that I went to bed for a very nice long sleep.

27-03-2007 – Day 5 – Santiago de Chile

Blogged by Twan as Chile 2007,Education,Human Technology Interaction,Travel — Twan Tue 27 Mar 2007 2:36 pm

After a short night we had brekky at 9.30. Again the air was very grey. We went for our shot of cafeine at the cafe con piernas. Next thing we wanted to do is to go to the pre columbian museum. We walked around in this museum for quite a while. It was amazing to see with what detail people in the early days made statues from wood, clay and copper. The museum was set up very well and everything was also translated in English.

We went to eat some empanadas in the Rapido. Then we wanted to go to a suburb where we could watch some cool houses ( according to the lonely planet) but it started to rain pretty bad so we went for a drink instead. It was an exclusive bar. When the bar got busy we went outside again and found out it still rained. It was also pretty cold so we already went for dindin. We dound a nice restaurant that we invaded with 10 people. I ordered a cow tail stew to do something crazy. Ilona and Suzanne ordered salmon which needed a preparation of 1 hour. This didn’t really matter because we were early anyway. So after a while i received my cow tail stew which was ok but just a bit fatty.

We then went back to the hotel to relax a bit and around 23.00 we got picked up by the bus to go to La Serena.

26-03-2007 – Day 4 – Santiago de Chile

Blogged by Twan as Chile 2007,Education,Human Technology Interaction,Travel — Twan Mon 26 Mar 2007 10:57 am

Today we had a full free day to spend in Santiago. René B and me had brekky around 9. A group wanted to go to a market. We decided to first get some water and then join in. When we got back we saw another group that wanted to get a cafe con piernas (coffee with legs). This is a coffee bar where the coffee is served by women with mini skirts. Pretty funny and completely accepted concept here in Chile. After a very nice and deserved espresso we continued our tour through Santiago. We went to a small hill in Santiago called Santa Lucia. When we were walking up a guard stopped us and wanted us to write our name and passport numbers on a list. After writing down our dutch public transport card numbers we continued our way up. On top we could have a look over Santiago. Lot of cranes and sounds indicating that there was a lot of building going on in Santiago.

After climbing this hill we ended up in a kind of shabby street where we had a cup of incredible bad coffee. We continued our way and saw a kind of covered market. It was a big hall with fruits, meat and other small stuff. In the middle there was a ‘restaurant’. The woman asked us about 50 times if we wanted to eat something. In spite of being a bit stunned by the not so hygienic looks of this market we decided to accept the offer and we sat down. I ordered fish and chips which actually tasted really good. A table next to us was occupied by an old guy who was ( at 12 in the afternoon ) pretty drunk. He fell a sleep after a while which gave me the opportunity to capture him on camera.

Santiago sleeping man

Back on the road after this very cheap lunch we walked a bit more in the direction of the center again. We visited the old train station. The tracks were all gone and on the sides were some restaurants. From here we took the metro to the San Cristobal hill. On top of the hill there is a statue of virgin Mary looking over the city. Before we could start climb the hill we had to walk through a street which had the potential of being a very busy ‘student street’ in the evening. Unfortunately not that much places were open but we found one and had a drink. It was away from heavy traffic in a very peaceful inner court. When we finished our drinks we continued to the hill. After a walk of about 1 hour we reached the top. It was pretty hot but very cloudy. Therefore we couldn’t see that much of the city and the pictures all have a grey sky :(. But it was definitely worth the climb. They made a big open air church on top with benches going up on the hill. When looking down you saw the altar with in the background the city of Santiago.

We took the cable car down and went for another drink in the student street. Then already a bit hungry we went back to the peaceful place to get dindin in a pretty luxurious restaurant. I ordered a piece of salmon in cream sauce with some Arab rice. It was a very very nice meal but not that much so we went for a chocolate cake with a ball of vanilla ice as dessert. With this nice meal we drank a good Chilean wine (first time in Chile) and to finish this experience an espresso. Then back to the hotel.

In the hotel we took a shower and got ready to go back to the student street to party. We ordered a taxi that took us to the street. We were hoping to see a bit more open bars than earlier today but actually.. it looked like a ghost town. We went back to the bar where we had a beer this afternoon and sat upstairs. Suddenly another group of our students walked in the same bar and soon almost the whole study tour group was sitting in that bar.

Some talked to some Chileans about where the party place to be would be. They said something about the Swedish street so we grabbed a taxi and went there. There was some partying going on over there but also a lot of drugs. The music was good and the drinks were almost expensive for us. Around 4 we took a taxi back to the hotel where we went to sleep.

25-03-2007 – Day 3 – Santiago de Chile

Blogged by Twan as Chile 2007,Education,Human Technology Interaction,Travel — Twan Sun 25 Mar 2007 2:55 pm

We decided to have breakfast at 10 because we were going to the museo de Ciencia y Technologia. The breakfast in the hotel consisted of some baked eggs, a bowl of fruit, 2 pieces of fresh baked bread, a bowl of way to sweet cornflakes in warm milk and some cheese with a piece of cake. We asked for a well deserved cup of coffee and unfortunately the waitress served us with an already cooled down nescafe. Nicely said this cup of ‘coffee’ was a terror to the mouth.

All packed with camera and backpack, the whole group walked in the direction of Quinta Normal. On our way we saw some typical Chilean streets.

All the locals were looking at us as if we were (maybe we are?) a group of aliens walking through the city. At the end of the street we saw the entrance of the park. I mounted my 70-300mm zoom lens to try to spy on some people and get some cool portraits.

Ilona and René T arranged a presentation with one of the museum guides. He explained us something about static electricity. It was funny to see a young Chilean guy trying to explain a group of technical uni students in very basic English how you can charge a pvc pipe with static energy.

After the presentation we walked around in the museum. The museum was designed for children but we had fun trying out some stuff anyway. We asked te guide for a nice place to eat and he recommended us a place what is ran by the church. We walked to the big church and found the restaurant. It was a very local place where a lot of people come to have a ( for us very ) cheap lunch. Of course we were the point of attention again. We ordered an empanada and a sandwich. Together this costed around 1500 pesos which is a bit more than 2 euro. We ate our lunch and made some pictures of our lunch place.

We then decided to go to the O’Higgens Parc. Niels read something about horse races that would be there. We went to the metro station at the entrance of the parc. A ticket costs 380 pesos so we bought one. Michiel had a map of the metro system and after about 5 minutes we were standing in the metro. Again closely observed by the locals we continued our way to the park.

When we arrived in the park we saw a lot of people bbqing and relaxing in the huge park. There was some water where you could rent a boat but we walked a bit further. Then some girls started talking to us. Bo, Bastiaan and the René’s used there Spanish to have a conversation. I didn’t understand one word of it but it was funny to see them giggle all the time and the guys trying to say something in Spanish which was actually working out pretty good.

On our way back to the metro we meet another group of our students. They still wanted to go in the park. We decided to go for a beer in one of the local bars. There was one with some music so we walked in. There were some people dancing salsa on the dance floor. A small band was playing some salsa music. We ordered some bottles of brahma (for 1500 pesos) and had a good time looking at the dancing people. Then another group of our students walked in the same bar and after a while 2 more groups. Just by coincidence. Together we had some more beers and the girls got invited to dance with some smooth chilean players. Then also they guys got invited to show off their salsa skills on the dance floor with the local (older) women.

We took the metro back to the city where we went for dindin. Daniel found a nice restaurant in the lonely planet. When we got there it was closed and wandered around without success. Aftera while we found a fast food restaurant where we had a warm grrrrrrringo welcome by a group of about 5, 45 year old women. We ordered some food which was eatable. When we walked out we got a nice goodbye from the women and we went to a disco which Daniel also found in the lonely planet. But also this place was not there anymore. We decided to go back to the hotel to play some poker.

At the top floor of the hotel there was a conference room where we all sat at a nice big table. On the table they placed a glass plate to protect the table but the top was bending down a bit which caused the glass plate to break. We were all a bit shocked and we explained it to the hotel. They gave us a bill of 130 euro and after that I went to bed.

24-03-2007 – Day 2 – Arrival Santiago

Blogged by Twan as Chile 2007,Education,Human Technology Interaction,Travel — Twan Sat 24 Mar 2007 2:48 pm

After some hours of sleep which were not that comfortable, we landed in Santiago de Chile at 8.50 local time. During the flightwe got a piece of paper what we had to fill in. After leaving the plane we queued up for the immigration. Unfortunately everybody got denied because we didn’t fill in the other paper (what other paper??) So we asked for 30 other papers which everybody quickly could fill in so that we could make our first step into Chile!

Someone from the travel agency was waiting for us and brought us to the bus that was our ride to the hotel. The guide started to tell us something about Santiago right away. We planned to do a city tour a bit later on the day, but the guide already wanted to start. Nobody really listened after about 24 hours of traveling so what the guide exactly told, I think is still to be found somewhere in Santiago. The guide stopped at the place with all the soldiers, where there was a change of guards. Then we got on the bus again to discover that this square was only 5 mins away from the hotel.

In the hotel we heard there was only 1 room available, the others needed to be cleaned first. This was disappointing since everybody hoped to have a possibility to get a nice shower or a splash of water in the face. Instead we stored all our luggage in that one room and went back to the bus to start the city tour.

The tour was a nice way to get some first impressions of Santiago and Chile. Since everybody was still a bit handling the fact we actually were in Chile, had a long flight and some hassle at the hotel I think nobody really payed attention.

We stopped at a very touristic kind of market where we could wander around for some time. Me and Daniel got a bit hungry and decided to have a look for some food. Across the street there was a pollo place where we tried to order a sandwich. In the end it seemed that I ordered an addition (only) to Daniels sandwich and we were a bit stunned when we only got one box. But nice experience, Agregado means something to add. ( good to know )

Back in the bus we saw some more of Santiago. One thing that was funny where the many street artists. They juggle in front of a line of waiting cars or run across the street in their outfit which makes you think he walks on his hands.

The bus driver took us to plaza de armas. A big square with a huge cathedral. After walking around for about 30 minutes the bus took us back to the hotel, which was again, only 5 minutes from the square.

Back in the hotel, everybody got their room keys and took a nice refreshing first chilean shower where the water goes down clockwise. Since I never had a look at home I cannot bust or accept the myth of the difference in the northern and southern Hemisphere.

Next we got some water in a shop since it’s better to use bottled water instead of tap water. Then we went for a beer in the city. We got a bottle of Escudo and then we asked for a ‘Schop’. This is a jug of about 0,5L. When we asked for the bill it was 3700 pesos with 6 people. That’s around 6 euro. We were a bit in doubt if it was for 6 people or for 1 so we asked the waiter who laughed a bit since it really was for 6.

In the evening we had an evaluation with the organisation. Some points to keep in mind for the next weeks, but we concluded the first days went pretty good.

At 20.00 we gathered for dindin in an italian restaurant, where we ate till 22.30. Then went back to the hotel and went to bed.

23-03-2007 – Day 1 – Flight to Paris

Blogged by Twan as Chile 2007,Education,Human Technology Interaction,Travel — Twan Fri 23 Mar 2007 2:24 pm

Around 9 o’clock in the morning I woke up, still not really realizing I would be leaving to Chile today. I got up, made some breakfast with a nice espresso and started to make some piles of clothes on my sofa. The piles represented the baggage listing and sometimes I added or subtracted certain items from that list. I tried to take everything I would need, and nothing more (or less). On my small saloon table I made a pile that was gonna be my hand luggage  Next step was to try to fit everything in my backpack and amazingly that worked out pretty good. I even had some space left to pack my small sleeping bag. I thought it maybe could be handy.

At 14.20 I started walking towards the train station of Eindhoven. Gather time was 14.30 and almost everybody was on time. At 15.17 ( we build in some buffer of course ) we jumped on the train that took us directly to Schiphol Airport.

Checking in went pretty smooth as we were allowed to go to an empty group counter from KLM. We got rid of our big luggage and went for some food behind passport control. After the food we had to wait till we could board the plane to Paris at 20.50. During the flight we got a delay of about 20 mins, and in Paris there was a guide that came to help us get to the plane to Santiago on time. This went pretty smooth, the security was pretty strict, but there were not really big problems. We departed around 0.00

Vaccination for DTP, Hepatitis A+B

Blogged by Twan as Chile 2007,Education,Human Technology Interaction,Travel — Twan Fri 9 Mar 2007 6:11 pm

Together with 8 other students, I have been organising a studytrip to Chile. In 2 weeks a group of 26 students and 2 university teachers will go to Chile to travel around for 3 weeks, visit universities and companies. Yesterday we organized the ‘inentingsborrel’. Every thursday afternoon the study organisation Intermate organizes a ‘borrel’ this is an informal gathering where students and teachers can come for a drink and have some snacks. The ‘inentingsborrel’ is a borrel where a travel doctor comes to uni to give all the people going on the trip, the needed vaccinations. For me, that was a nice cocktail against diphteria, tetanus and polio (DTP), Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. No big deal, normally, for people that don’t mind getting injections. For me, it means, a day of stress and knowing that I will faint after the injections. I dunno, something mental. But it’s over, sitting here with a stiff arm and still shiver down my spine when thinking of it.

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