Today was Kermess at Nido. It took a a lot of talking to convince N to go to the school. He likes it fine when he's there, but the anticipation is difficult for him, so having to go on a Saturday was not a popular idea.
Kermess at Nido, at least, is like a cross between the international food evening at Preston Street, and the Summer Fair. Except it's a whole lot bigger (a whole lot). There were food stalls from lots of the countries represented in the student population (but no British one!). And bouncy castles and raffles and an entertainment stage with dancing, singing (some of which sounded like the high school's rock band).
We had to buy tickets to spend as cash - they came in denomiations of 100, 200 and 500 pesos, and you used them to buy food, pay for activities, etc. The only problem was that neither Bill nor I could get any cash out of any machines beforehand, so we could only buy $15,000. We managed to buy lunch, and milkshakes and ice cream. And for the boys to go on a couple bouncy castles and a train ride.
We ran into people we knew, which is really nice for a place we've lived in for less than 2 weeks! There are very many people here that either Bill or both of us know, that it doesn't feel totally foreign. Not to mention running into people that we've just met. Both boys saw kids from their classes (they have had a whole 2 days at school so far!).
The weather was great, of course, it always is, as far as we can tell. We also ran into the estate agent who has shown us the house we want - his wife is the Headmaster's secretary. We were talking to another astronomer, who also turned out to be a client of the estate agent at the time. Santiago might be a huge city, but it seems that our part of it will be quite small. Which is good.
After we left Nido, we went to Jumbo, the big supermercado. Bill and the boys stayed in the car while I dashed in to get something for tea. BIG MISTAKE. My credit and debit cards had failed to work in the cash machines in the morning. They also failed to work in the supermarket. I had to go and get Bill and the boys from the car, and then Bill's card failed as well. We assumed that we would have to starve, but the manager got out the old fashioned credit card machine and the carbon slip and did it that way. She then had to phone up for authorisation. Which obviously worked. Then she asked Bill for ID. Oops. Some Chilean government department has our passports while we wait for our RUTs. Still, we have photocopies. So he went back to the car to get it. Except it was in his other bag. Luckily the nice manager accepted his driver's lisence as an ID. Phew.
It wasn't just tonight's tea that was in the shooping bags - I had managed to find fresh milk! This is something of a miracle - it's the first time since we arrived that we had seen it - almost all the milk is UHT. So, it would have been heartbreaking to have had to leave that behind in the shop. Never mind the food for tea, the milk was the most important thing in the basket!
We came back to the flat and I immediately checked my online banking. For starters my credit card had disappeared from my list of accounts, which gave me a bit of a fright. So, thanks to skype I was able to phone the RBS credit card people, and make them believe that I really am in Chile and it really *is* me spending all that money. Then they very kindly put me through to someone who could deal with my RBS debit card. So, my plastic should be working again. Will find out tomorrow.
Bill then phoned up about his credit card, but the CS agent insisted that his card was fine. Hmmm. Didn't seem like that to us. We'll see if it works tomorrow.
My halifax debit card doesn't work here at all. Which is a bit annoying, since I can't phone them up, becasue I can't remember my phone banking pwd!
Other than that, we watched a bit of spanish language children's telly, had our tea - we bought potatoes for the first time today, and while expensive (out of season) they were really nice! We had cherries though, and they weren't expensive. And the asparagus? And the avocados? I won't tell you. It will make you envious. Very envious indeed.