Henson Phan plays with Luna who is the “pet therapist” at Hospital de Dia.
After spending the day in Talca and visiting a psych hospital; I have much respect for these psychiatric nurses who are taking care of these people.
Our first visit involved an inpatient psych facility that housed A LOT of patients. We were supposed to arrive at the location at 9 a.m., but ended up being there at 8:30 a.m. I learned that it was rude in Chilean culture to arrive early, but the staff welcomed us with open arms. A security guard welcomed us by opening the gate that led to the facility. After coming inside the gate, we were welcomed by 3 or 4 patients who were getting some fresh air. All of these patients were most likely above the age of 60, but they all shook our hands and gave us kisses on the cheek. The first thought was “I am in a psych facility. You aren’t supposed to touch the patients; we were told not to in America,” but these patients were so kind that I didn’t feel an ounce of danger. Besides, kissing on the cheek is a way of greeting here so its not like they’re intending to invade personal space.
I’m not going to lie, even though its only been a few days, I do miss my American burgers. We went to a small ice cream shop that reminded me of Friendly’s. They also had “normal food,” but their focus was ice cream. I had a cheeseburger with bacon. I know I can’t really expect for the burger to taste the same as an American burger, but it still tasted alright. I still want to try authentic Chilean food, but many of the places that we know of so far cater to tourists, so it’s not surprising to see hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs (garnished with avocados) and other foods that you would expect in the U.S.
One word. Stair-master. Had we known that we would walk so much, we would have brought more shoes.
The view from Chile of the snow covered Andes Mountains.
We then went to the zoo (TONS OF STAIRS) and saw everything from elephants to penguins to a poor sick cheetah and sleeping kangaroos. By that point we were exhausted, hot and dehydrated, so we headed back to the hotel for a shower and a nap. For dinner we had a traditional Chilean meal with delicious food and service.