Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yay, my kahla lilies are blooming

Just one of the perks of living in Santiago. It's winter and look at my kahla lilies blooming outside. This is impossible in Minnesota.

Falta la foto de Minnesota con un metro de nieve. Lamentablemente no tengo una en forma digital. Here's where I should have a photo of Minnesota in winter:
But I don't. Here's a link of Minnesota in winter, however. Yeah it's pretty. But it gets pretty dull after six months.

My friend Katha gave these to me a few years ago when she moved back to Berlin. The plant had two small stems with two small leaves. I broke one stem in the micro ride from her place in Playa Ancha to my place in the port. I thought the plant was a goner. A couple weeks later, I moved to a much cuico-er part of Valpo and nursed the plant back to health on my balcony for a year. The view from there was absolutely delightful. It received sunlight all afternoon.

and when we moved to Santiago a couple years ago, the kahla began to bloom like crazy. Above you can enjoy a photo of the first three flowers of the season.

The photo of Valpo can also be titled "why I miss Valpo".

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

blogger world map

I thought of something that should exist. It probably already does, as do lots of things that occur to me. Comes with living in a world with 6 billion other human beings, I guess. Anyway, the thing I thought of is that there should be a map on the internet and bloggers who blog about places, (like Chile for example) should all be classified together, perhaps by nationality. So if I wanted to read a blog about Iran, I could go to this map and click on Iran, and then I could have the choice of what nationality I wanted the writer to be - Iraní, Spanish, from the States, Chilean, Russian, etc. So as to read about lots of different places from lots of different perspectives in different languages. Anyone know of an internet site like this?

Monday, August 11, 2008

100 things I like about Chile

  1. My boy, obvio.
  2. Mis amigos chilenos and my expat friends, also obvio.
  3. Transantiago. Yes, I hear your groans. It's not perfect, but I like it. So ha! Coming from a small town in the States, public transportation is pretty much magical to me and always will be. I prefer not owning a car. But in most parts of the States you are pretty much obligated to own a car if you want to get anywhere. I remember before Transantiago started, I used to think how under-utilized the metro was. (Be careful what you think about.) Coming home from capoeira class, I was often the only one in the car. Now, the metro is quite saturated during peak hours, but I can wait for the second or third train if necessary. Plus now the trains are more frequent in general. On my way home from capoeira now there are generally 20 people in the car with me. And I obviously don't speak for everyone when I say I like Transantiago. There are probably people who have more problems commuting now, but I think it works pretty well. I've used public transport in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida a couple times. What a freaking joke, pain-in-the-ass frustration. To get from one end of Ft. Lauderdale to the other (where I needed to go) would have taken me 4-5 hours on bus, transferring 4 times, for a total of 5 buses. I ended up taking a taxi at the bus terminal, upon getting off the third bus and finding out I had at least two more buses to take to get there. So yeah, Transantiago is pretty good, even (especially) compared to lots of US cities. Though, I must say, Boulder and Denver, Colorado have pretty good public transport. But doesn't the exception just prove the rule? And should Boulder even count? Afterall, it's just that "small city north off Denver nestled between the Rockies and reality." So, yay for Transantiago.
  4. The minimarkets. (Convenience stores.) They are everywhere and their prices aren't that expensive. In fact, one near my house sells fruits and vegetables for cheaper than the supermarkets.
  5. The asado, (and of course the famous choripan). Ñami. The barbecue is the Chilean carrete par excellence. So eat, drink and be merry.
  6. The TESL market. It's divine y totalmente inagotable. Two words: zero competition.
  7. Hahaha, this one might offend the Chileans: Peruvian restaurants (like Ají Seco) and Peruvian picadas (check out the photo of the ceviche from Alpamayo). (I do like Chilean cuisine as well.)
  8. That the woman doesn't take the man's last name. K lata tomar el apellido del marío!!!! This has never been something that appeals to me in the most remote way. I'll stick with my surname, thank you very much.
  9. Inti-illimani
  10. Valparaíso
  11. El barrio puerto, La Matriz, la Plaza Echaurren, Café Journal (de Valpo), Sethmacher, la Bandera Azul, Pagano y Exodo (especially on weeknights) me está dando nostalgia, que paja.
  12. Los cerros de Valpo. La "O", who knows what this micro is called now...
  13. Café Vinilo
  14. Cerro Alegre, obvio.
  15. Los baños turcos (especially de Valpo)
  16. El Muelle Barón, The Deck
  17. Sonora Barón
  18. Conmoción
  19. Sopaipillas
  20. Cazuela
  21. Empanadas
  22. Chorrillanas y borgoña, los Jota Cruz de Santiago y Valpo
  23. Ritual - los ponce con fruta que liquadan para los clientes
  24. Plaza Aníbal Pinto
  25. Capoeira Sul da Bahia
  26. Capoeira Muzenza
  27. envases retornables
  28. un local en cerro alegre cerca de pza San Luis que tiene un cine pequeño. Abrió como en 2005, pero se me escapa el nombre.
  29. El Danubio Azul ojala viviera allá para frequentarlo más a menudo
  30. Seafood in Con-Con
  31. Maitencillo
  32. Pichilemu
  33. La Carretera Austral
  34. Puyuhuapi Fjord
  35. Las toninas
  36. Bariloche hahaha, just joshing with you. How 'bout Lago Todos los Santos, instead? I recommend the lakes crossings. If you have a Chilean or Argentian carnet, it's a third of the price, and go from one travel agency to the other until they offer lo que te corresponde. The dudes in Argentina tried to charge me 3x the price. I went to 3 different travel agencies because I didn't trust the guys who were trying to sell me the ticket at full price and they had me convinced that I didn't get the "Chilean/Argentinian price", because although I had a Chilean carné, that didn't count. When I finally bought the Lakes crossing ticket, I went to a fourth agency and the lady there was the only one who was honest with me and she gave me the Chilean/Argentinian discount. This was in Bariloche.
  37. La biblioteca de Santiago
  38. El museo pre-colombino
  39. My neighbors, although I don't know them very well, the ones I do know a bit, I get along with, and find to be good people.
  40. Colo-Colo, ja!
  41. Hacienda Los Lingues outside of San Fernando, best hotel I've ever stayed at in my life, and perhaps the best hotel I will ever stay in. It boasts being the oldest business in South America and one of the 15 oldest businesses in the world. I'm no historian, but sure, why not? If you have the money, I recommend staying there the weekend, especially in the summer. They have this gorgeous outdoor pool for guests exclusive use. This place is in the book A Thousand Places to See Before You Die.
  42. el almuerzo, I like that it's generally a three-plate meal
  43. el dieciocho
  44. la cueca
  45. los feriados Católicos!!! - you know those days we get off that no one really knows why, something to do with Catholicism
  46. La Ramada de Viña
  47. Chancho en Piedra
  48. Victor Jara
  49. Chilean writers
  50. Chilean black humor
  51. Chileans love to joke about who you look like. For example, as an AFS student here 10 years ago, my classmates said I looked like Lili Peréz. I just did a google search for images and I see what they mean. At first I found this custom random and somewhat annoying because they were always comparing friends to famous people and it seemed a bit exagerated to me. But I've gotten used to it. And to be honest, this trait has gotten funnier over the years. Several months back there was this chicana girl, Georgina, working here with Movistar. So she was a colleague of my boyfriend. The day I met her, Vuko invited me to the Bar Unión in Nueva York Street to have un sandwich de carne mechada (te lo encargo! y bogoña) with a few of his colleagues, including Georgina and Cristian (who I've known for a few years). We were conversing and suddenly Georgina said, "Don't you think Cristian looks like Mr. Rogers?" I burst out laughing, because He DOES!! That is the single most hilarious comparison anybody has ever made using the typical so-and-so looks like so-and-so Chilean joke format. (This may be as much a Latin American thing as a Chilean thing.)
  52. el Coa
  53. el Chilensis
  54. los mil tambores
  55. Spelling in Spanish, it's spelled just as it's pronounced. What a novelty!
  56. the weather
  57. the fruit: chirimoyas, lucumas, the export apples, oranges, strawberries, avocados, tomatos
  58. my chirimoyo trees - they're pretty young, 2 years old maybe, but they smell like chirimoya fruit...sometimes known as a "custard apple" in British English. I agree with Mark Twain that the chirimoya "is the most delicious fruit known to man".
  59. Patronato
  60. la vega
  61. cochayuyo - although I have yet to cook with it, it's very healthy, with lots of iodine and it's abundant here. Plus it's fun to say chochayuyo
  62. Chilean wine
  63. the olives, oh my lord, the best olives I've ever eaten in my life I had while carreteando at this Ariquen dude's apartment like four years ago. They were the size of golf balls and incredibly tasty.
  64. yoga a luka
  65. el premium - it's a vegetarian completo that they sell on a street off of Pio Nono (Bellavista), although I think it is more widely available now. It's also known as a "completo falso" because it doesn't have a hot dog. El premium comes with tomatoes, palta, melted cheese, Chilean green beans, mayo, and I can't remember what else. But it is tasty.
  66. Portillo, Valle Nevado, etc.
  67. la Universidad Católica de Valpo
  68. tomar once
  69. los hervidores eléctricos y termos - a tradition I will probably use the rest of my life to make tea, turkish coffee (not nescafé), etc.
  70. the "cariño latino" and the social courtesies like greeting each other with a kiss on the cheek. I even feel like the carretes are more "acogedor", as long as you arrive before everyone is trashed, and probably even if you arrive after this point... I get the impression here that there are less "loners" than in the States, because Chilean culture, to an extent, has a way of including everyone...but perhaps the cost of this is the extreme pressure to conform...I noticed a lack of loners in high school here. Granted smaller class sizes probably make it more difficult to be a loner. My high school class here had like 20 people, whereas in the States we were 357 in my class. In fact, does a class of 350 even exist in Chile? Probably not.
  71. el hecho de que los chilenos no se compliquen por las weas insignificantes...Chileans don't get their panties in a bunch over the little things..."pero, no te compliquis"
  72. the "Chilean yes" -- sometimes
  73. Chilean un-pc-ness. To an extent. I had my first experience of total un-political correctness in Spain for carnival 2002. Carnival is a time where you are supposed to do everything you won't be able to do during lent (and the rest of the year). In Ourense, Spain February 2002, the two costumes that the men were dressed up in were: transvestite ones and terrorist ones (six months after 9/11). Those terrorist outfits consisted of the typical white robes lots of Arabs wear and machine guns. One hundred percent un-pc, but there's something relieving about acknowledging a taboo. I think US culture goes waaaay too far to be pc. I think pc-ness is good in that it shows courtesy towards people different from you. But I think US culture takes pc-ness to the extreme that it just becomes another mask. Because the homophobic who refrains from making comments about homosexuals still hates them. And so it becomes a subject that can't even be breached. And there is where it goes too far......So, after that long introduction, I have begun to tener cariño toward the fact that here the world outside of Latin America is made up of four races: chinos, turcos, negros and gringos. And closer to home the nationalities actually get mentioned: argentinos, bolivianos, venezolanos, peruanos, colombianos, mexicanos, etc. I find this sort of endearing...and absolutely un-p.c. which makes it hilarious...
  74. ritoque, la ciudad mansa volá
  75. The number of architects here. I met like one architect during the 22 years I lived in the States, whereas here half my friends are architects or graphic designers. It's a Chilean thing or something. I enjoy perusing this website that has to do with architecture and social housing. super interesting. (And the planteamiento del problema is really smart, explaing the economics of long-term planning when developing social housing, not a common type of planning here in Chile.)
  76. On that note: Short-term planning - for some things. (Like parties.) I like how I mostly don't plan at all in advance here. It's cuts down on stress a ton and it makes me enjoy the present moment way more. I may plan a couple outings with friends a few weeks in advance, because it's nice to have something to look forward to, and it also assures people will be available. But it's nice to not be totally committed. I like to have a bit of flexibility. Too few commitments sometimes mean no one is available when I want to see people, and too many just becomes a bit too stressful, trying to pack it all in. A nice balance of committments and flexibility is the key for me.
  77. The fact that people live with their parents until they are 25 or 30. I love it. After I graduated from the U, I moved back in with my folks for a couple years to save money. I may be the only person I know in the States who did that. I could have afforded to live on my own, but I wouldn't have saved nearly as much money. Plus I get along well with my folks and we took turns cooking dinner and walking the dogs. It worked out well for all of us. If I'd had a boyfriend at this point in my life, I probably would have lived with him, but I didn't have one, so there you go. Apparently I was waiting for a Chilean man.
  78. The curfew I had in high school here. My curfew in high school in the States was midnight...definitely a strict one, in the way curfews go. And then I came to Chile for a semester in 11th grade, and my curfew was 8am. hahahaha. Apparently my host mom wanted to be sure her daughter and I were still alive the next day. I was soo excited, although I must say, we never partied til 8am. We were home usually between 3am and 5am, if my memory serves me. I changed host families half-way through my stay and my second set of host parents gave me a more reasonable curfew of 3am.
  79. The fact there is not this constant push to be productive every second of the day, like in the States. I learned to indulge in my unproductiveness when I studied abroad in Spain. Here it's a bit different, but they definitely don't have that push to be productive at every second of the day. Granted I do work and study, play capoeira, hang out with friends, cook a lot, etc. But I try to simplify things often especially when short for time, which Chileans are excellent at. They are incredible improvisers always looking for the short cut. I love this about them (in lots of cases). It has its down side too, I don't negate that.
  80. I've always been on "Latin time". And that works sooo much better in Latin America.
  81. waxing my legs, armpits and bikini line costs $12. Ja! This is a significant advantage to living here, because I'm a hairy beast. hahahaaha
to be continued...