Las Ultimas Notices Sobre la Vida Chilena: Viajes, Lluvia, Derechos Humanos, y Pura Wea
So, to take a break from my re-posting of Chile-related content in the form of music, pictures, and articles, etc, I figured I’d get a bit more anecdotal and give all of those in my readership, however little you might be, an update on my life in this oh so peculiar country. So, in no particular order, here are some recent events:
-Rains and Hurricanes: As I noted in a previous post, and may have alluded to on various occasions elsewhere outside the parameters of this blog, is rains very, very, very little in Quilpue. But when it does rain, it RAINS; as in, floods of biblical proportions and street-kayaking kind of rain. And because the city isn’t used to water, people literally lose their shit. Cars skidding out of control, metro lines cut off (the other two gringos can attest to this), and some strange bird food, chalk dust-mix thrown around the entrance of local shops. In any case, the weekend was anything but a bore. First, the three of us somehow managed to battle the elements and unite on Friday night at Ashley’s house for some Vino Navegado, a delicious Chilean concoction made with vino tinto, orange peels, brown sugar, and various spices, served hot and ready for those cold rainy days. That Saturday night, I accompanied my host parents to a party out in the countryside of Villa Alemana, which was a 80’s themed costume party (I know, RIGHT?!?!). Playing hits of this gleaming, golden decade of dance music from both the States and Latin America, as well as some salsa-infused Cumbia and Bachata, and accompanied with well-priced pisco sour and Chileans dressed like MJ in thriller, it made for quite the spectacular little rager.
-American Once: As any Gringo wandering around the world is probably aware, many foreigners have a very one-sided and narrow viewpoint of the cuisine that one finds in Gringolandia: McDonald’s this, Burger King that, Fried Kitchen with a chance of Meatballs, etc. Naaaaa Que Ver (a Chilean expression that translates like, ‘you’re nowhere close’). I, for one, am of the belief that au contraire, some of the most unique and tasty cuisine you can get your hands actually lies in our own backyard. It is with this mindset that I set out to prepare a proper, Grade-A, All-American meal for my host parents, and show them how we Gringos do Cheeseburgers. Along with the two gringas, we whipped up some burgers with lettuce, tomato, onion, mushrooms cheese & focaccia bread, pan-fried potatoes, beer, vino tinto, and vanilla ice cream with dolce de leche to top it all off. Needless to say, the result was all smiles and food comas (as well as grease stains; definitely ruined a shirt, but at least it was for a good cause!).
-La Serena & Coquimbo Trek: Alongside another teacher from my school, Yose, I went on a little last-minute trip up North to visit some EOD gringos stationed out of La Serena & Coquimbo. Immediately upon arrival we went to the local watering holes to get the night going. A bit later on, we went to a huge festival at the University, where a pretty gnarly Chilean group, Los Tres, was putting on a free show for the students. The next day while everybody in the town was recovering from the madness the night before (including us), me and Yose met up with Ren and hit the pavement to see some sites. We wandered around La Serena first, spending the majority of this time checking out the Recova flea market. Next we hopped on a micro to the take a lap through nearby Coquimbo. Due to the fact of it being a Sunday, we sort of just meandered around taking pictures: highlights include the Coquimbo port, where we dined on some premium seafood empanadas; Barrio Ingles, a very antique-like neighborhood that looks somewhat like a poor-man’s Valparaiso (but is aesthetically pleasing all the same); as well as an adventurous trek to the Coquimbo Cross, at which point we were rewarded with sweeping views of the city as it extended to the ocean. In planning the trip a few weeks prior, the plan was initially to continue a bit more North to “Valle De Elqui” for some pisco-ing, camping, and stargazing; however, with time not on our side, we decided to keep the asado close to home.
-Trip to Human Rights museum in Santiago: For “Semana de la Historia”, a week of paying tribute and homage to important events in the country’s past, my school spent the week sending groups of students on various trips to museums and places of historical significance throughout Central Chile. Of course, with trips like this, chaperones are required. Lucky for me, I was chosen to be a “chaperone” on the trip to Santiago, to see the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Human Rights. I think I was more excited than the students (I had tried on two prior occasions before to see the latter one, to no avail). The pain and suffering caused at the behest of the Pinochet regime during the 1973 coup d’état, with its ensuing wave of torture, kidnappings, disappearances, and several other forms of human rights violation, still has a lingering presence among most Chileans to this day. Recently, this pain was magnified x1000 when an extremely controversial movie paying homage to the dictator was showed this past weekend in Santiago. This gesture incited hordes of Chileans to take to the street of the capital and protest.
–Saturday Market: Finally made it to the “La Feria”, a sprawling, open-air market all-day, every Saturday out towards the end of town where Quilpue becomes countryside. Produce everywhere; asados and mini-BBQ’s teeming with all sorts of roasted goods; inexpensive clothes strewn over fold up tables; horses carrying said goods to-and-fro between vendors; and a nice, sunny day. Shit’s all good in the neighborhood.
That’s about it for now, check the pics below. Got some things stirring in the cauldron that should be bubbling come next week. Until then!