Dad told me that there are earthquakes in Chile every now and then. Well, RJE and I were in our room playing a few days ago when Mom came in and said, "Did you feel the earthquake?" I hadn't heard or felt anything, but Mom said that there was a rumble and a little shaking.
We have been enjoying lúcuma ice cream and pineapple popsicles (lúcuma is a fruit; If you want to learn more about it, click here). There are ice cream ads everywhere in Chile, and RJE is always asking for ice cream every time she sees one, which is every five minutes.
During our stay in the south of Chile in Lican Ray, my parents liked a nearby town (Villarrica) so much, that they were thinking we might stay the year there instead of in Santiago. They found an old, huge house across the road from a plaza, near Lake Villarica, near a hospital, a police station, and a nice school. The backyard even had a palta tree in it! But we ended up coming back to Santiago.
On our last night in Lican Ray, I looked out at the volcano. It was a very clear night, with a full moon. And the volcano was smoking! Dad said it was nothing. It would only erupt if it started smoking a lot. The next morning, it looked like this:
To get back to Santiago, we took another bus (this time a day bus). At one of the stops, we went to the station's public bathroom, and we had to pay to get in. In many South American countries, it seems you have to pay to be able to go to a public bathroom. So, if you don't have any money, you CAN'T go! Dad bought four bathroom tokens (called fichas, pronounced feechahs) that look like this:
Each ficha cost about 25 cents of a dollar. I decided to skip the bathroom so I could keep mine as a souvenir.
The bus was REALLY hot, and you couldn't open any windows (and no air conditioning). Right in the middle of a road that had no shade at all, there was a big BOOM! The back tire exploded right under my Dad's foot! We had to drive on a blasted tire until we got to a mechanic's place. When the man took out the damaged tire, it had a huge hole in it, with strips of rubber coming out of it. RJE picked one of the strips from the ground and used it to make this nice bracelet:
We reached smoky, smoggy, and noisy Santiago at night, and had to take the metro home from downtown. Now, we are really ready to start Spanish and school lessons.
I have started playing my flute about 20 minutes a day, too, teaching myself new notes out of the book. We also checked out a music school for piano lessons (too expensive), and RJE and I might take tennis lessons so we can get to know some other kids. To study some Chilean history, we plan to visit a few museums soon.
Everyone in Chile must have an ID card, including RJE and me. So we went to a government office with many people working at desks with cameras and computers. One man called us over, and I sat down first. He took my picture, then my thumbprint, and next my signature (I had to sign on a plastic screen, and my signature appeared, next to my photo, on the computer's screen). Finally, he dipped all my fingers (both hands) in ink and printed them on a piece of paper. Then he did the same to RJE. Our brand-new ID cards will be ready for pick-up this week.
Oh, by the way: Happy New Year!
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The RatSoap™ Project is a work in progress, 2006-2007