Starbucks and Running Partners: Just an Average Day in Viña

Winter is cold in Viña, but perhaps not in the ways one might expect. The temperature rarely drops below the mid-40s, but for some reason the cold seems to seep into one’s bones. There is rarely central heat. Even when heat exists, it is usually just a space heater. My little Airbnb place has one, which makes the space entirely livable (with an added layer of clothing).

Nevertheless, when I first wake up, I make a point to move as quickly as possible to get the blood moving. The best way to do so? Dancing, of course! I usually begin my day with a bit of music and dancing. Then I either go for a run or do a little P90X3. My runs have been wonderful. I love visiting the beach first thing.

On my way home one morning, I saw two dogs in the street (not unusual). The male was feeling particularly “amorous”, but the female was having none of it. She was alternating between turning around to fend him off and trying to run away. Then she spotted me. I think she saw me as her salvation, and began to chase me (and HE began to chase HER).

Now, I’m all about female solidarity. And I’ll certainly help any woman in need (canine or otherwise). But I drew the line as she started jumping up on me from behind as I was running. I finally had to stop, turn around and smack her on the nose – a few times. She eventually got the idea. Her “suitor” had ceased to follow us. Proud of myself for handling the situation so deftly, I finished my run and was happy to return home, wondering perhaps if I should find a new run route.

The next time I run, I follow a similar, though not exact, route. I figure I’m not going to let her scare me away! All is going well, until I notice a spot of brown behind me. She’s back! But this time, she’s following along like a perfect lady. I occasionally forgot she was even back there; she was so well behaved. If I glanced back, I’d see her. At the turnaround point, she was still with me and turned to follow me home.

We stop at a particularly long light. We both wait patiently. She looks up at me expectantly a few times, as if to ask, “Are we going? No, okay. How about now?” I so wanted to take a picture, but was apprehensive she might take this as a sign to jump on me. We finish the run in perfect company. Sometimes she is in front, glancing back to ensure she hasn’t lost me. Sometimes she’s behind me. People look at us as we run by. I’m starting to have fun with my new “running partner”.

I wonder what will happen when I get to the apartment building. She lets me in, but looks at me forlornly as if to ask where I’m going. I finally get to take a picture. (see below) The concierge jokes with me that I have made a friend. She was adorable, and such a great running partner.

Now that I’m warm and the blood is flowing, I continue my routine. I eat, shower, change and head out the door. I try to get in a bit of writing each day. (still writing my book!!) But it is sometimes a bit chilly to sit and write in the apartment. I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I head to Starbucks. Most coffee shops are not necessarily the cozy, inviting places in Chile that they are in the U.S. Starbucks has actual brewed coffee (practically unheard of elsewhere in Chile), plugs for my computer, and it’s warm enough inside to take off my jacket (also somewhat rare here).

Petty theft is fairly common here. I’ve often been warned to keep my purse or bag on me, to wrap the strap around my leg if I am sitting down and never to just hang something on my chair. This feels like common sense in any major city. But I am surprised (somewhat pleasantly) to see an additional bit of security available on the tables at Starbucks.

There are D-clips attached to the undersides of the tables, presumably to hook your bag. Now, these may exist in the U.S. and I just haven’t noticed. But it was intriguing enough for me to snap a couple of pictures. (see below) These certainly won’t stop a determined thief, but it will capture your attention if someone tries to make off with your bag.

Having a coffee and finishing a bit of writing, I feel I’ve been adequately productive for the day. I head off for some other activity – hanging out with my new friends, Spanish practice, apartment hunting, job searching. (or some empanadas – pic of my favorite place below) My days are never empty. Every day is an adventure. Through the whirlwind, I try to remember to take a few minutes to soak it all in, to be grateful for this incredible opportunity and to enjoy this amazing life I’m living. Till next time, abrazos y besos!!IMG_2419

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