IT’S A Girl!!!!!

Posted by Lisa on February 27th, 2006 — Posted in Misc

My roommate from college, Jaime Thomas had a baby girl late this afternoon- Julia Thomas who weighed 7 lbs 10 oz. Jaime did a wonderful job (of course), and now her and Jerry get to enjoy their sweet little girl. I can’t wait to see the new family in September!!
I love you guys and congratulations again!!!


Day 19- Adios Padres

Posted by Lisa on February 23rd, 2006 — Posted in Misc

Today, unfortunately is my parents last day here. We had yummy waffles for breakfast, then went shopping, then played games the rest of the day. Steve took the day off as well to hang out. They hate to be leaving, though they are looking forward to coming back. We’re already starting to plan their next trip and what we will do and visit my dad hopes we go down south and go trout fishing, my mom hopes we go to Machu Picchu, and I hope we do both :). I loved having them here and will miss them and can’t wait for the next visit. Here are a few of my favorite pics from the trip…(most have already been up on the blog)

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Days 13-18

Posted by Lisa on February 23rd, 2006 — Posted in Activities

Sorry that I haven’t updated since Santiago. We’ve been having a wonderful time here. We’ve gone to Coquimbo – the cross and the shops, we’ve been to the beach a couple of days and worked on our tans, we’ve gone out for wonderful dinners, we’ve played with the puppy, we went to a big barbecue at the top of the recinto and had way to much to drink in the sun, we’ve played games, explored the area more, went to the garden shop and bought flowers for the front of the house, went fishing, and just hung out. Here are some pics (though I have been a little lax with my picture taking!, we’ve only managed to take about 700 pictures while my parents were here).

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Days 9-12

Posted by Lisa on February 17th, 2006 — Posted in Travel

Steve was able to take a few days off from work, so we all decided to head down to Santiago via a 6 hour bus trip. All in all the bus ride was nice though it had no air conditioning. We stayed in a wonderful hotel in Las Condes (a section of Santiago) and had a great time exploring our capitol city. We went on a bus tour, took a ride in a cable car, a funicular, a subway and numerous taxis. We had wonderful food, wine and overall great company. My stories are too numerous to tell, so I will just show some pics.

Hotel Montebianco- We recommend it to everyone, great hotel and service!!
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Argentinian cow (restaurant)next to hotel
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City Tour
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Centro Artesaneal “Los Dominicos”-
Shopping of all sorts selling local and national crafts line the winding passageways of this market. It felt like we were shopping for hours. Steve and I had thought we lost our parents but didn’t realize that there was a way back section. We all spent our life savings here, I think.
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Valentines Day dinner-
Steve and I were unable to get reservations at the Thai restaurant and the hotel tried to get us reservations somewhere else, but everything was booked including the restaurant that my parents went to, so can you guess where we ended up?
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San Cristobal
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Mercado Central
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Palacio La Moneda y Centro Cultural-
Underneath the presidential palace where the president works not lives, is a new cultural center with touring exhibits. Lucky for us the Mexico exhibit was here, which Steve is very into and we were able to go. One of the best pieces was an Olmac head. We were not allowed to take any pictures in the exhibits unfortunately.
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Can’t wait to come back!!!!

Day 7- A great day with Steve

Posted by Lisa on February 12th, 2006 — Posted in Activities

On Saturday, after a nice big breakfast of pancakes, eggs and bacon, we headed off for our personal tour of Gemini Observatory. It was a hour and a half drive from La Serena. Driving up to the observatory was a much better experience than Thursday’s drive. Steve actually knew how to use the 4 wheel drive. Once we got up to the observatory, Steve gave us a tour and showed us the telescope and bHROS- his instrument. Gemini observatory is located over 9,00 feet high in the Andes about halfway between the ocean and Argentina. In the distance we saw some snow probably glaciers in the more distant and higher peaks of the mountains in Argentina. Some of our friends from here are actually camping there this weekend. While we were at the top we saw a few young Andean Condors flying around. On the drive down to the bottom, we saw hawks, goats and horses along the mountainside. We then stopped at a papaya stand, had some papaya juice- the papaya trees are located in La Serena, and at this stand they also sell wine from Falernia Vineyard. We bought a bottle of their 2002 Syrah which has won numerous awards here in Chile. We then traveled to Vicuna and stopped at the Capel plant for a pisco tour and tasting. The tour itself was short and in spanish, but we were able to figure out the pisco process. We then went into Vicuna, walked around the artesian shops, tried Copao- which is a type of cactus fruit grown in the Atacama. It tasted like a cross between a kiwi and grapes. Then we stopped for onces and had some pisco sours and empanadas before coming home.

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Day 5

Posted by Lisa on February 11th, 2006 — Posted in Uncategorized

On Thursday we decided to visit the town of Andacollo, where every December 26 more than 100,000 pilgrims overrun the gold and copper mining town located 1,050 meters above sea level to pay homage to the Virgin of Andacollo. I’m sure the signs in town explained her story, but I’m not sure what it is. We visited the 2 churches and the museum which contains tons of gifts given by the pilgrims to the Virgin, including toys, rosary beads, pictures, letters- honestly, some of the weirdest stuff ever. In the end we couldn’t even find the supposed little Virgin figurine that was found in some mine, again another story I don’t know. Afterwards we decided to follow the suggestion in our tour guide book to “take a decent gravel road to the Hurtado Valley, where it’s possible to make a loop to Vicuna and back to La Serena.” Little did we know that it would be a 6 hour drive on nothing more than a goat path over mountains through the Hurtado Valley, over more mountains and into the Elqui Valley. There was never any guard rails, the road had eroded in places and was a mass of sloped hairpin turns. Now many of you know my family so you can just imagine what was going on in the car. My dad yelling at me to “slow down, use a different gear” and I think many “Jesus’s” were being muttered among other things. My mom was in back (who by the way is afraid of heights) muttering nonsensical questions constantly. Then of course, I tried to use 4 wheel drive and a warning light came on in the car “trans temp”, and we couldn’t find the manual and we hadn’t seen anyone in hours. By the way, the manual was in the car, in the drivers side door, but all in spanish, no help there. I was driving and yelling at the both of them. In the end, now that we are home safe and sound, it was a beautiful drive. We started out at 1,050 meters in Andocollo drove through the desert down to sea level then up over some mountains and down into the Hurtado Valley back up some more mountains and finally down into the Elqui Valley. We saw beautiful deserts, valleys, mountains, vineyards, people and animals. The pics from the drive don’t do it justice. I probably wouldn’t do it again, but it’s fun to hear my parents talk about their brush(es) with death!!!

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The views
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Us at the scary parts
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Day 6: Isla Damas, need I say more…

Posted by Lisa on February 10th, 2006 — Posted in Activities

Today, my parents, my friend Joanna, and I went on an all day tour to Isla Damas. I think the pictures say it all. Enjoy!

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Sea Lions
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How many sea lions can you count on the rock? Extra points if you can find a turkey vulture!

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Peruvian Booby (no, not those kinds, the birds)
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Red Legged Cormorants
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Rufous-collared Sparrow
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In addition we saw many gulls, regular cormorants and a sand piper, I think. The fisherman at the docks were busy bringing in their morning catch of mackrel, congrio, and sea weed.
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Crazy fishermen gutting his congrio on the beach
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We all had a wonderful time
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Our trusty boat
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Day 4, the fun continues…

Posted by Lisa on February 8th, 2006 — Posted in Activities

Today was more of a relaxing day then the past few days. My mom and I went down town, walked around, went to the cathedral, a travel agency and had the car washed. At the travel agency we got information on Isla Damas, which has the penguins and we hope to go on Friday. Once we came home, we booked our trip to Santiago. We’re gong to take the bus down and stay for 3 nights, should be fun. After lunch my mom, I and my friend Jaime went to the beach for a couple of hours. My dad opted to stay home with the pup read and watch movies. At the beach, my mom read her book for our book club that was tonight, which we ended up not going to, and Jaime and I relaxed in the sun, read a little, and went swimming in the ocean. The water was cold but very realxing. The beach was packed so we also did a lot of people watching. Tomorrow we plan on hiking in the morning then driving along the coast. Hopefully we’ll have good weather.
(unfortunately, my pics from today are not that good, oh well)
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Day 3 of our vacation…

Posted by Lisa on February 7th, 2006 — Posted in Uncategorized

Today we had a great day, unfortunately Steve had to work so he missed out on some of it. To begin with, we started out at the mall (always a good place to begin), changed some money and then off we went to…

La Feria, the open air market that has the best produce around. We bought tons of fruits and veggies for a total of under $5. My parents seemed to really like it there, especially since the melons were so fresh and reminded them of summer and at the same time CT was in for some snow…
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After the market, we went out to Deli Cafe for a light lunch of sandwiches and coffee…
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We then stopped at home, said hello to Steve and the pup who were on a lunch break, and then headed to Plaza de Armas to the artesian markets and then to 2 of the local museums, the Museo Historico Gabriel Gonzalez Videla and the Museo Arqueologico. Gabriel Gonzalez Videla was from La Serena and was president of Chile from 1946-1952. The museum is located in his old house. It contains extensive personal artifacts of his and his family including some pics from when he came to the US and met with Truman. It also contains some rooms full of paintings from famous chilean artists and also an exhibit containing replicas of chilean coats of arms and armor. The archeological museum contained exhibits on geology and fossils, agricultural origins and early coastal settlements, and regional cultures. It also contained a Maoi from Easter Island that has toured MIlan, Barcelona and France. I can’t wait to go see Easter Island! One of my favorite exhibits had some shrunken heads. How did they do that? I’m sure the plaque next to the exhibit explained it but my spanish is not that good yet.
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After the museums, we came home, my parents relaxed and Leyna and I went hiking. Steve then came home from work, we had some snacks, wine and pisco sours, played set back, then went to Tololo Beach Restaurant for a nice dinner of fresh fish. Now everyone is exhausted and ready for bed.
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I think that we may plan on going to the beach tomorrow. Good night!!!

Don’t you just hate…

Posted by Lisa on February 7th, 2006 — Posted in Uncategorized

When you and your parents are all dressed and ready to go and you let the dog in and she looks like this…
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and then you have to get unchanged, give her a bath in your nice clean bathroom and make the whole house smell like wet dog?