Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More pictures, other ramblings

I love this picture.
Never question my ability to eat a boatload of sushi.
Navy men painting a boat, how silly! Marty sure does love drinkin'.

A church in Cerro Florida below La Sebastiana, the stairway that leads to nothing in La Sebastiana, colorful row houses, and the dangerous antics of street performers at a red light.

Pan Batido, the tie that binds us all is food. Lots of other street art around. If you see the signature kitty, it's Charquipunk. Otherwise, it's one of his many buddies.

On our street art walk, we came across a gallery of puppets. ^ This mural is dedicated to women and features at least three artists.

Wonder what we were looking at. I don't remember.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Adios, Chile!

I spent the last day and a half getting back to the US from Chile. Fortunately, that means I am much more relaxed. Unfortunately, that means anything I write about Chile will be in past tense, but I will make an attempt to write a little more about some of my experiences there in order for this to be useful to others and to get any errant tidbits out of my head. I will also post more of my best photos over the next few days.

Sadly, the impressive bottle of red wine I bought at the vineyard was broken on the way to the states. This means all my clothes from that bag are a lovely shade of burgundy and smell of wine and earth. I'm pretty crestfallen over it because I thought I had done a really good job of packing. I guess I could have saved the one pair of white socks turned purple, but instead I threw them away in disgust. I should probably just be happy all three bottles didn't break, but I've never been so good at that "glass half full" thing. Did it have to be my favorite?

On the topic of my learning experience in Chile (other than pack your wine better next time), I think I learned quite a lot of Spanish. It was disorienting at first for me to be in the Atlanta airport, and on my flight from Atlanta I accidentally tried to speak Spanish to the flight attendant. She just looked at me funny when I thanked her for my cracker with "gracias" and moved on. Is it possible that I have become less fluent in English? It was a common joke that our syntax was slowly shifting while we were in Chile, but I really do feel a tiny bit dumber. Oh well, I guess I can give up a little fluency in English to have a stronger hold on Spanish if so. My biggest goal in this relatively short study abroad program was not to "master" Spanish, or any crazy idea like that. It was simply to become accustomed to speaking even when it is uncomfortable, and even when I know a sentence isn't perfect and I might get laughed at. I am happy to say I broke that barrier, and therefore I got what I needed out of it. Thankfully my host family spoke next to no English, except for my sister who provided emergency translation when absolutely necessary. I started to feel like a toddler, being only able to express my most basic and immediate needs: "No sugar please, my tea is fine without it. No, really. Really, I don't drink my tea with sugar. Seriously." and "No thanks, I like my food without sugar sprinkled on the top. No, really, it tastes good with no sugar. Very tasty." were about the most expressive sorts of conversations I could muster. Conversations about politics were mostly brief and involved lots of hand gestures and confused moments of silence.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Reñaca, Concon

That Neruda fish pops up all over the place. I have no explanation.
That is a castle-y house that is either made out of the rock or was made to look like it is.
Flowering aloe plants and a little area off the highway where people climb down to fish.
Host parents enjoying the view. Sílvia y Manolo.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mushrooms in my toes

First off, I never get athlete's foot. Maybe once when I was younger before I learned that you have to dry your feet out once in a while. It's a lesson you learn quickly, and being that Utah is a desert, it doesn't happen all the time. However, I have gained a case of it here because A: as you can imagine it's quite humid next to the ocean, and B: it's way too cold to take socks off for even a minute. So, I was hoping it would just go away but it's become irritating and painful enough that I finally had to try to make a move to get it taken care of.
I go to the farmacia and quickly discover that anything even remotely resembling a medicine is behind the counter. This, for some reason, includes chapstick. (That's probably more of a theft deterrant than anything else, but it illustrates my point nicely.) So I ask for 'cream for the toes, for um, pain in the skin'... and the girl looks at me and says "pico?" and I look at her like "what in the world is pico?" and then she tries a new word, "hongos?". I had been wondering if I should throw that word in there since I knew that was the word for mushroom, but I was afraid there was a much more technical term for fungus and I would be laughed at. Hey, sometimes you learn something new the hard way.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Isla Negra, Casablanca

We went on an excursion today to Emiliana, a 100% organic vineyard. It was a lot of fun; beautiful scenery, delicious wine, good company. The vineyard keeps lots of chickens around to eat insects, and they plant flowers to distract the rest. There isn't much of a problem with fungus on the crops here in Chile, so there's little chance of a blight. Perfect for organic, but they said since nobody in Chile much cares about organic they export 95% or so of what they make. The soil has to be cleaned for 5 - 7 years before qualifying as organic. It really made me realize that if grapes take so much soil into themselves, and then the product comes out as a concentration of that soil that you can actually taste, if you use pesticides and chemicals on the grapes you are guaranteed to be drinking concentrated chemicals. That sort of creeped me out, so I especially had to get at least one or two bottles.

There is a blend of 6 different reds among their selections: it's called Coyam, a Mapuche word for "group of oaks". It contains Syrah, Carmenére, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, and Malbec. I had to grab that. It's unique but so smooth! I also got a white (I love a good white, but usually they're too sweet or bitter for me) but it is a Chardonnay/Marsanne/Viognier, which was really tasty and not bitter, but not too sweet. Sorry I'm not up on all the wino terminology to be more specific!
There was also one wine we didn't have the opportunity to sample that sounded amazing. They call it "biodynamic" process, and they basically use hydroponics and advanced growing theory to make these organic superplants, and I really stopped listening there because my mind was boggled. It would be lovely to drink I'm sure, but it was quite out of my budget.

Isla Negra was gorgeous. Neruda's house is right above the beach, and the way the waves crash against the black rock is perfect. Perfect! His bedroom has such a lovely view, it must have been so romantic. It's easy to imagine that he did a lot of his work looking out over the sea, since so much of his imagery really fits this place. It was a really odd little museum, and I have to wonder- if the Pinochet regime raided and destroyed at least some portion of the house, how in the world they salvaged things. I stood right where he stood in his living room, according to a photo. For some reason that made me feel like pretty cool beans indeed.
I soon realized that drinking at least 4 glasses of wine before lunch is a bad idea, and am now recovering from a headache. As a result, I am not going out tonight and instead am sitting around drinking liquids to stave off any further damage. Will post pics later!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Street art

This WEST is pretty unbelievable. Love those birds.

Such odd imagery. I really like that one.
Funny little red dude.

Oh hey! Look! It's a bouy, with marine mammals on it!

Oh hay guise.