A day at the beach, well sort of......

Trip Start Aug 11, 2005
Trip End May 22, 2006

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

March 11 - Viña del Mar
Originally, Tamalyn and I had thought of spending two days here in Valparaiso and then heading to Viña del Mar, about 10 km away, for two days. Just as our Spanish teacher Jesus had suggested, our host Enso suggested that we might be better off going to Viña del Mar as day trips. He said that it was so easy it was to get back and forth. All we had to do was cross the street and pick up the #1 bus which would take us directly to Viña. In addition, moving over to Viña for a couple of days made us a bit nervous as we didn't want to risk giving up our tower room here in Valpo and getting a crappy room in Viña.
We quickly decided to stay in Valparaiso the whole time. We chatted about going to Viña del Mar on Monday, the 13th. Our host put the kibosh on that. He said that the new Chilean president's inauguration was happening in Valparaiso today and Valpo would be swamped. If we didn't want to get caught in the crowds, we might as well head to Viña del Mar today.
We hopped on a microbus across the street from our guesthouse. For the equivalent of 75 cents each, we were taken all the way to Viña del Mar and dropped off right in the center of the sea side town. We walked around the downtown part for a few minutes, before we decided to head towards the beach area. Along the way, we stopped at a little street side café for lunch.
As has been our typical lunch here in Chile, we each had an empanada. To use a phrase that our Spanish teacher taught us: They are bueno, bonita, y barato. This translates to: Good, pretty and cheap. He told us that this was a common saying for wine. At the time we wondered if it was used for women. He gasped and laughed, no never.
Today, we decided to splurge for lunch and have a couple of Escudo's as well. Escudo is one of the two most popular beers here in Chile. To our mild surprise, the bottles of Escudo we accompanied by a beer glass with a logo for the other most popular beer in Chile, Cristal. When I saw the glass, I knew that I had to try to get one for my beer glass collection featuring glasses of different kinds of beers from around the world. This is not to be confused with my Hard Rock beer glass collection. Silly I know, but I guess we all have to collect some things.
As we ate lunch, Tamalyn and I practiced how I could say "I have a beer glass collection. Could I buy a Cristal glass?" all in Spanish. At one point, we even asked the people sitting at the table next to us if a glass is a feminine word or a masculine word, as this would have an impact on the pronouns that would be used to properly phrase the question. Tamalyn thought it was a masculine word, but I thought it was a feminine word. To my shock and dismay, Tamalyn was right. (Obviously, she wasn't shocked or dismayed!)
When the waitress came by to bus the table, I politely asked her to come closer. There was no need for me to shout my question. "Tengo una colleccion de vasos de cervecza. Por favor, puedo comprar un vaso de Cristal?" Wow, I managed to get it out so she could understand easily. She said she would have to ask her boss. Imagine our dismay when she walked to the table next to us where the people who we asked the all important gender question were sitting! One couple apparently owned the café! Luckily for us (maybe she took pity on a couple of tourists who would spend thirty minutes trying to phrase a question that should have taken a few seconds) he said that we could have one for 1000 Chilean Pesos, the equivalent of about $2.50 Cad.
The people at the owner's table then asked us a few questions in Spanish. We caught most of the words, but here and there they had to use some broken English to get their point across. Using our newly honed Spanish skills, we tried to converse in Spanish. They appeared to be touched that we could communicate at all in Spanish. The waitress came back with a clean and new Cristal glass and the bill. Wow, I didn't even have to say "La cuenta, por favor." (the bill, please). We left for the beach with my new beer glass safely stowed in our day bag.
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