The healthcare management firm that I work for has begun an international presence. To that end, my colleague, Jim, had recruited five of us from various disciplines in healthcare management to accompany him to Santiago, Chile to do an assessment of an enterprise there, and write a management report. Loving travel, I was only too eager to go. I represented hospital administration while my other colleagues were from the professions of Nursing, Management Engineering, Finance, and Strategic Planning.
We flew to Santiago, arriving in early June, their winter, of course. As we drove in from the airport we could see white-capped mountains that surround Santiago and it was drizzling. Actually, almost the whole time we were there, it drizzled!
We were greeted with a reception, and the next day were treated to a tour of the city, driving past many historic and governmental buildings including their Cathedral, which was reflected in a modern building.
That weekend some of them took us to Valparaiso, Chile’s major port.
There was a warship in the port (their only one, we were told) which one of the interpreters said not to photograph. However, one of our hosts insisted I should photograph it if I wanted, in spite of a rather repressive government. We also visited Vina del Mar, their resort city, but, of course, the weather was not conducive to ‘beach time.’
We spent several evenings with our hosts. On one occasion our leader, Jim, asked me to host a dinner for all of the women involved. There were three on our team, and three on their team, plus we had three young women interpreters as not all of the Chileanos could speak English. When I was perusing the menu to order, since I wasn’t familiar with many of the Spanish words describing the various dishes, I chose what the woman sitting next to me had ordered. It was a filet of beef (I got that much) but with something else, unknown to me. When it arrived the ‘something else’ seemed to be mushrooms in a sauce. I tried one—no, it wasn’t a mushroom. So I turned to the interpreter sitting next to me and asked her what they were. She said, “I believe you call them testicles!”
After a very full schedule and burning some midnight oil, we had out report roughed out and were ready to return home. Jim was going elsewhere and his flight was leaving earlier than ours. Unfortunately bad weather cancelled our flight so we had to spend another day. We used the time to further explore downtown Santiago, and also made another trip up the funicular to Cerro San Cristobal.
On the way to the airport when the sun finally came out we could see the result in the mountains of the precipitation that we had had all week. The mountains were now completely covered with snow, and would probably have made good skiing for the Santiagoans.
We all really enjoyed our time in Chile and the cordiality of our hosts.