So after dropping my bags at the Hostel, I went out for a look around the city. I walked to the Bella Vista barrio, where I was told there are a lot of restaurants and kind of "touristy" things to see. I went past it and up a hill where I found a zoo. Apparently you can also walk all the way to the top (or go up by a funicular, but it was broken at the time) to see a beautiful view of the city. I didn't go all the way, however, and meandered back down towards the shops and food.
I ended up walking into an open air bar with lively music and ordering what might have been the largest beer (a Chilean brew) I've ever seen. I sat down at a small table and was about to do some journaling when a local came over and asked (in Spanish) if I would like to join him and his friends. I said at the beginning of this journey I'd try to be open to anything, so I went on over. Turned out to be a fantastic decision, as even though we had a huge language barrier between us (thank you circus for teaching me how to work these situations!:) we were able to have a great time. They were all students from the local university. I was throwing out Spanish that I didn't even know I knew -- and also learned some words from them. Taught the rugby player how to properly say "a******", learned that bar bathrooms can be just as disgusting in Chile as in the US (but here you can ask the bartender for toilet paper, which one of the girls showed me), and people here really like to drink beer with lemon and salt around the rim (I don't think this is a custom I will partake it much). At one point two street performers playing drums and symbols came close by so we had a great show of a play-off battle. Another guy came by with a giant stuffed gorilla which promptly kissed me on the nose for a tip. This amused my new friends. Then, a different guy came by who shoved nails up his nose... He even had me stick one up it (eeeeeeekkkk!). This was entertaining for me because not once at my time working for the Ringling Bros Circus had I the pleasure of seeing this sort of typical side-show act. But anyway, at least people weren't just begging for money but actually trying to entertain.
After many bottles had been successfully drowned, I was ready to retire. This was at about 8:00pm, and I hadn't eaten since my plane ride breakfast. I said adios to everyone and thanked them for a great first day in Chile, and started heading back to my hostel. I arrived, got my bags, and promptly passed out on my bunk. I had intended to wake up shortly after and attend the BBQ hosted by the hostel, but alas, I must have been more jetlagged then I thought...
It's morning I woke early with a growling stomach. The hostel has free breakfast -- coffee, tea, orange juice, cereal, bread and jam, apples and oranges. Today is an open book, and I haven't decided what I want to do yet. It is about noon now and I think some more exploration and food is in order!