What is interesting as I am about to embark on the second part of my journey, is that I might actually miss the semi-rural vibe of the Huapi barrio in Linares. Despite the trash-laden streets and graffitied buildings, everyone here absolutely loves it. They always talk down upon the “cuicos”, or rich people, of Santiago and Las Condes, the neighborhood where I will be staying. They have distain for the city life, and even if they had the chance to move there I would confidently estimate that the majority of them would stay in Linares. Everyone here loves the campo, the countryside, the fresh foods on sale at every street corner, and the excellent display of stars every night. The families are very down to earth and hospitable and attentive to all my needs. I enjoyed experiencing the mountains, the colorful houses and a truly authentic display of unadulterated Chilean culture.
I spent the last ten days living with a local family in Huapi walking back and forth to school at the parroquia, the neighborhood church. I got the chance to see an exposition of traditional Chilean dances, most notably the cueca at a folkloric “peña” fiesta. I went hiking in the mountains several times outside Rabones. I baked lemon pie and taught my host mom how to make banana bread. I went to Chilean tourist destinations (as opposed to American or European priorities) and was able to see local crin, or horse hair, artisans in Rari and relax in the natural thermal springs of Panmavida.
Despite the lukewarm showers and complete lack of internet, I can confidently say that I enjoyed my time in Linares.
After all, YOLO. You Only Linares Once.