This gallery contains 17 photos.
7:51 pm, 17 June 2017, Santiago
It’s said that when you move to a new country, there’s a honeymoon phase. Everything in the new place is, to you, exciting, different, and often magical. This will, however, at some point, be followed by phase 2: Reality.
My honeymoon phase in Santiago is over.
It began raining here about 2 am on Thursday morning. Rain was slapping against my window so hard it woke me up — I’ve been sleeping fitfully anyway because it’s cold here, which is compounded by a lack of indoor heating except with space heaters. It continued raining for a straight 26 hours! Despite experiencing flooding in the past, and regular rain in their autumn and winter, Santiago’s drainage is very poor, so there’ve been streets flooded. It was also very windy last night, and there were broken branches landing on cars. A friend who lives near Salvador metro station had part of her building’s roof fly off.
Today, Saturday, I slept in and went to have a shower at 11 am. The water was off throughout our apartment. I had been warned this happens sometimes in Santiago during winter, because the sewage system gets overwhelmed. Buildings will be told to shut off water to keep from adding to the problem. If this had been a weekday and I had to work, I’d be going there looking and smelling like an angry cat.
The water’s come back on since, but now the power is off in all the common areas of our building. We still have electricity in our flat (thank God), but my flatmate had to rescue three wet loads of clothes from the common laundry room. She’s hanging laundry off the shower curtain rod, on broom handles laid across the tub, off the curtain rod in our living room, off the backs of the stools at our breakfast bar…!
All that, plus buses with plenty of room sometimes not stopping if they don’t feel like it. And transit fares having THREE rates depending on time of travel, rush hour being TWICE as much as off-peak (what’s called “normal” time is only a bit cheaper than rush). There’s the banks closing at 2 pm every day (including, of course, pay day). I find the drinking culture here is on par with Scotland — that is, more insane than France! Sure, you CAN say no if someone offers you another drink… it’s just not DONE.
Overall, I do still like it here. Except when it rains. And this is proving to be an unusually cold, especially RAINY, autumn.
Or Macao. For various reasons, I was only able to stay one night. NOT ENOUGH. Will be going back. I spent most of my time there giggling because my Spanish allowed me to understand just about ALL the Portuguese I saw!
The wet season has begun in southern China: I’ll try to get a video of the next downpour, but it’ll be difficult without getting my phone soaked.
Last night, my flatmate Joe took me and our fellow foreigner Scott, from Australia, to Woking Street. Anything and everything you could ever want — or at least knock-offs thereof — are available to buy. There were also tons of street vendors, but street meat is…iffy, so we didn’t try any. We DID have pineapple-flavoured soft-serve ice cream in fresh, made-to-order waffle cones from a tiny shop only Joe knew was there.
It rained, a LOT, but it was cool anyway.
These are moon cakes. They are eaten for the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is always on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month of the year, meaning it fell this past Sunday. These were given to me by one of my Chinese co-teachers, Nikki.
Mooncakes are sold in the week leading up to the festival the same way chocolates are at Christmas — in all shapes, varieties, flavours, and price points. FANCY like the ones above, and very simply…frozen, in the same case as the ice cream outside a convenience store.
Happy Moon Cake day!!