Well I’m back to talk about Day 3 of the study tour that I’m currently on with Loyola’s MBA program. After recapping today’s events in my head, I figured the ideal theme for Day 3 is parallelism (which you will see below!)
We’re a group of 28 individuals and today we broke off into different groups to go on different excursions before the experiential component of our trip officially begins. Some chose to go to a ski resort, others elected to participate in a 10 KM hike, while I along with 11 others decided to go on a city bike tour. It wasn’t physically aggressive but it was definitely enough to get the blood flowing and feel you got a nice little workout in.
One of our first stops on the bike tour was Pablo Neruda’s house. Neruda was a popular poet in Chile and won a Nobel Prize in Literature. Outside his house, there was an ampitheater-esque seating arrangement where my friends and I sat there listening to our amazing tour guide talking about Neruda’s influence on Chilean culture. Some of his works were displayed right outside his house (not gonna lie – Google translate would have been hella helpful!) From there, we travelled to this bustling indoor market with a plethora of vendors selling fruits, veggies meats, fish, cheeses, household products – you name it. Sunday is a really popular shopping day and you saw lots of locals carrying huge carts with large bags with substantial amounts of groceries. We took a quick break at the market and this delicious sweet tea, barley, and peach drink. Yeah, it sounds like an odd combination, but honestly it tastes delicious!
In between stops, our tour guide also informed us about the different hotspots in the area. He mentioned a couple of neighborhoods which had some great nightlife. There was a street that separates the “old” and “modern” neighboorhoods – meaning the older one wasn’t as “glam” and more affordble, while the newly developed neighboorhood had more European inflence with modern discotheques and bars, ergo slightly pricier.
After the bike tour, we made a quick round through an art museum which had amazing contemporary photography to look at. By the way, museums in Chile on Sundays tend to be free :). Move forward a few hours after a nice trek through an outdoor shopping market, exhilirating ride on their well-developed metro system, and siesta to offset the excitement from the previous nights’ festivities, we headed on over to our dinner with Loyola MBA alums.
The restaurant was surrounded by beautiful greenery and a breathtaking view of the Santiago. Inside it got even bettter with the serenity of a fountain dead center of the ballroom. Highlight of the evening was having the pleasure of sitting at the same table as Andre Sougarret, the brains behind the mine rescue back in October. Andre is actually an alum of the Loyola’s MBA program that was once held in Chile (betcha didn’t know that…bam!) Quality conversation with good company along with delicious red and white wine were flowing all night along. The last two hours were spent singing karaoke to Abba, Journey, the Beatles, and my personal fave Johnny Cash.
Now, how does this all tie into the theme for today? Plain and simple. Despite being a continent away experiencing a different culture, I kept thinking about the PARALLELS Santiago shares with Baltimore. Riding through the city and looking at all the beautiful architecture made me feel like at home and think about the beautiful edifices we have in our city. Neruda’ influence on Chile made me think about Poe’s influece on Baltimore and the legacy he left behind. Hearing about neighborhood disparities made me think about Baltimore where in one instance you can be in a well-developed neighborhood surrounded by patrons and the next block or two an older development with minimal foot traffic. Going into the museum, a part of me felt like I was in the Walters Art Museum touring one of the many special exhibits they host throughout the year. Dinner tonight, proved once again that pride in one’s country and city can be a motivating force for the betterment, which is the passion (along with many others) I share for Baltimore.
Yes, it is true, as states and nations we have physical borders, but honestly we are a globalized world where the lines of national distinction are slowly blurring. I am a continent away with different people, language, etc, but regardless I feel Baltimore is still with me. Anyways, that’s all I got for now….stay tuned for Day 4!
For now, this is Ankur…