Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Money and our Scenery

As you can see, the Chileans have very colorful money.  The exchange rate is about $650 Chilean pesos to the dollar so a $20,000 bill is worth about $30.  The $5000, $2000, and $1000 also have a clear picture in polymer "paper" on the right side.  The money seems to be in great condition, too!

Their coins come in $500, $100, $50, $10, and $1 (which is worth about 1/10th of our penny).  There are 2 different coins for the $100 peso coin.

We were driving down to Iquique on Saturday and stopped at a plateau up in Alto Hospicio that overlooks Iquique.  
We took a panorama picture so you can see the entire city all at once.

Here are parts of Iquique from up above in Alto Hospicio.


When we see this statue of Christ and the flag of Chile we know we're almost home!
The road you see is our return drive.  The road down to Iquique is just above the green area, which we have no idea what it is.  That's a TON of grass for this area!  We're thinking it may be a soccer field.  We see basketball courts all over the place and very few soccer fields.

While up at this lookout area we saw several hang gliders getting ready to take off down to Iquique.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Beautiful Arturo Prat Plaza in Iquique

We found this beautiful plaza with this lovely clock tower in Iquique on our preparation day today. Each week we discover another beautiful part of the city.

Notice the clear blue, cloudless skies.  Once the marine layer of low clouds burns off in the morning, that's usually it for the day and we have gorgeous skies to enjoy for the rest of the day.

Earthquake Damaged Buildings

As of today we've moved out of our church building so repair work can begin from the damage sustained by the 8.2 earthquake they had last April.  The next day they had a 7.8 one as well.  Our building was damaged more than the other building in Alto Hospicio but it, too, will be repaired once our building's repairs are complete.  Starting on Sunday, all 4 branches will meet in the other building for about 4 months then all 4 branches will meet in our building and the repair work will begin on the other building.  They think it will take 8 months total for all the repairs.

The top part of the steeple fell off.  Our home is about a block to the left of the building.

There are cracks everywhere in the building as well as ceiling tiles gone.  The worst place for that is the chapel.

This is the ceiling in the chapel.

It will be interesting to watch how the repairs proceed.  We're sure they'll do a wonderful job and look forward to seeing it when completed!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Our new zone

We had zone meeting today and took a picture of the zone at the end of the meeting.  What a great group of elders we're serving with!!!

Front row:  Elders Anderson/ID, Anderson/ID (no kidding!), Maki/WI, Balmeceda/Peru&Chile, Los Lawson/CO
Back row:  Elders Herrera/Chile, Gonzalez/CO, Childs/CA, Ruano/Guatemala, Preston/CA, Pineda/Panama, Contreras/Columbia, Aquino/Argentina, Funaro/UT, Modawell/MI, Said/Brazil, and Olsen/UT

I asked Elder Ruano today what he plans on doing during the colder winter months if he's wearing a sweater now.  He replied:  I'll double up and wear two!!  He wasn't complaining, just explaining.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Iquique and the road to Alto Hospicio

Alto Hospicio is about 1800' above Iquique, a little tourist city on the coast.

Do you know what I love about this picture?  That's REAL grass!!  And it actually looks healthy and beautiful.  It's right next to the beach.

A beautiful view of the city from the road to Alto Hospicio.

 Hang gliding is very popular and it's a perfect ride from Alto Hospicio down to Iquique.

The most we've seen have been 8 hang gliders at once.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Our Home in Alto Hospicio!

This is our home in Alto Hospicio.  They call them condos and ours is the one on the right, surrounded by the fence.  The car, a new Chevy Cruze, is what we are renting from the Church/mission.  Many people are adding fences and cementing around their place.  We're grateful that's all done for us.  As we're new here it's appropriate that our home is green.  

To the right of the water bottle is our little washing machine.  It's a small kitchen but sufficient.

For now we have boxes as our curtains but today we found out who has the curtains and plan on getting them and hopefully get them hemmed and up this week.  The staircase is very narrow but we're managing fine.

We're comfortable with our office, etc.  We're grateful to be here and getting settled, getting to know the members and doing what we can to help.  The people are wonderful!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

On Friday, January 30th we drove up to Alto Hospicio, our assigned area.  The drive up was extremely interesting as we drove along the coast, passing the Tropic of Capricorn.  We saw a few cactus growing up on the hills/mountains but there was truly nothing growing along the road.  There was just dirt and more dirt.

We passed a golf course so had to stop and take a picture.  The "greens" were nothing more than the dirt blackened.

The ocean is beautiful and felt wonderful as well!!