There we were traveling at† .80 Mach - 600 miles an hour literally flying through the air, on our way back from another successful trip to Chile. Itís hard to say what constitutes successful when a trip has so many activities and expectations, but the way we were moved during our short venture south of the equator is a souvenir we can never give away or lose, and must even by itself constitute a successful five days.† Was it only five days it felt like a lifetime? Yet the time went so fast.
Wednesday 4th of December I traveled with KJN Charles Ferraro and Mr. John Zvonek to Chile, via JFK and Ecuador. There were ten of us heading to Chile at various times, master Rocco Tirozzi, Master Paul Carty, Master Peter Antonelli, Mr. Melinton Benavides, Dr. Robert Strange, Mr. Thomas Tambis and Ms. Millette Nùñez. We arrived in Santiago, to a welcoming group clapping and cheering for KJN. Master Tirozzi had arrived before us and already looked at home in his surroundings. Now there were 7 of us in Chile from the US. Mr. Benavides looked as though he never left. The final three were to arrive the next day.† It was a wonderful feeling arriving in Chile again, as if wondering if a memory was a dream, only to find out it was no dream, but a reality to be experienced once more.
Thursday December 5th we had our first day of training in the park. 80 degree heat. It was a far cry from the inches of snow we left in CT. Santiago is really beautiful. We had some spectators in the form of mounted police watching us train.† I wonder if they thought us interesting or crazy to be in heavy doboks training in the heat. We also had a canine visitor who thankfully stayed away from our bags!.†
Back at the Hotel Neruda, which was as hospitable as always, and time for a swim. The pool was lovely. Some of us didnít have a bathing costume, and none of us had the hats! The next event was a return visit to Gatsbys, all the food you can eat, for not a lot of money, which was just as well as Mr. Tambis, couldnít raise the necessary amount singing in the street.† We had the opportunity then to visit one of Master Garcia-Huidobroís classes at the Gym. Here we met still more familiar faces from last year.
The subway system in Santiago, is very prompt. If you miss a train, another will be along in a minute, and so we took another train to Master Garcia-Huidobroís House. Another memory fresh in our taste buds from last year, was the Lemon Chicken cooked by Eduardo, SBN Garcia-Huidobroís father.† We were not to be disappointed. The grill was on, and he was cooking. Millette really enjoyed the chicken.† This was also an opportunity for us to meet Sa Bom Nimís family. Valentina and Tania are an entertainment in themselves.
Friday December 6th 2002, KJN and the Masters went to visit the Ministry of Defense, while we went shopping. Then more training in the park. On the way back from the park we were introduced to American Nuts. So Brazil is not the only place that Nuts come from. Onwards with the culture lesson and empaladas , but first we had to pass the moving statue. Then it was time to Dance- there's always room for desert, there's always time to dance. Cecelia took all the guys and showed them how to dance. Islevy and Maricel did a pretty good job of the same thing. Apparently you shouldn't drink the Margaritas. But that night we all had fun, KJN hit the dance floor and wasn't seen except in a blur for another hour!!!
Saturday December 7th was the day of the Tournament. The energy could be felt as we walked into the tournament hall. The roar of Tang Soo!! nearly lifted the roof. As we walked in we were presented with schools headed by their school name. Little orange belt girls wore orange ties in their hair. It painted a pretty picture. The level of competition was impressive. Some of the white belts really stunned me. Given the number of people there it was bound to be a long day and it was. Mid way through we had a promotion ceremony. Students had traveled 10 hours on a bus, to compete, watch and or receive promotions!!!!! There was a "school" competition, where each school put on a demonstration, these varied in content from sword forms to skits, but the energy was flowing consistantly through each presentation. We finished up with Gup Sparring, Unfortunately, there was not enough time to complete the Dan Sparring. After Midnight we were leaving the Tournament making our way home. I'll never forget the first Chilean Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Tournament.
Sunday December 8th was a day on the beach, again literally, we headed for the beach at 10:00 am. After and hour and a half on the bus we reached the beach. We faced the prospect of more of the delicious chicken, but first what to do on a beach in the late spring/summer at the pacific ocean???? Some decided to go horseback riding. Some were playing soccer. Cecelia and I decided to go for a swim. By the time we were ready to swim, we found another volunteer in Jorge. So the three of us braved the not so warm waters of the south pacific. It was invigorating. Gi Cho Hyung Ill Bo was never so hard though. Then it was time to eat. Our chef/artist had prepared the tables with the Um Yang salads, it was amazing. We trained on the beach, some trained in the sea. We really felt the effects of nature. We rode the bus home and participated in another team building exercise - the sing song. It was difficult at first to cross the language and culture barrier, in order to get every body singing, but a chorus of the Chilean National anthem and "tu vas para Chile" later and we were all in the swing of things... "Every where we go......". One would think that after an exhausting if exhilarating tournament, we would, go home, pack, and rest in preparation for our trip home the next day, but we didn't. Our last meal together in Chile, with our excellent guides Maricel and Islevy. We eventually reached the Hotel at 3:45 am Monday morning.
Monday December 9th 2002, after a refreshing two hours sleep, we met for breakfast on our last day in Chile. Bags packed, ready to head home. One emotional scene at the airport later and There we were traveling at† .80 Mach - 600 miles an hour literally flying through the air, on our way back from another successful trip to Chile.