Desierto norte de Chile

Friday, December 28, 2007

Not your everyday bus stop. . .

This is the TranSantiago bus stop on Blanco Encalada Avenue, just across from the meteorology building. Evidently the engineering students have been having fun over their summer holidays!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A powerful read

If you're looking for a motivating Christian read today, go for the 20-yr-old talk given by Tony Campolo at the 1987 Urbana convention. It'll be worth your time.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Un poco excursión a Valparaiso! (A small excursion to Valparaiso)

Here are a few photos of our trip to Valparaiso, where I went this past Saturday with some friends from my spanish language school (Escuela Bellavista).

Our bus to Valpo. Round-trip cost about US$15.

My bus-mate Cristina, from Brasil.

The outskirts of Santiago. Looks pretty suburban to me.

About 15 mins west of Santiago, on the autopista (highway).

The last set of mountains before the tunnel (which puts you pretty much on the way to the coast).


A huge street market on Saturdays.

At the museum, with part of the city & port behind me.

Our group: 3 Brasilians and 1 each from Holland, Germany, China, and USA.

The museum, which was the guy's house. I admit my cultural ignorance here, but I had never heard of this guy before. But he lived recently and seemed to be connected to important / famous people in Chile's history. Maybe it's like visiting an eccentric home in Hollywood and getting a veritable who's who in the descriptions of the contents (like "Carey Grant sat here when he came to visit Lucille Ball ...")

A view of Valparaiso.

Valpo had lots of colorful flowers, which is in contrast to Santiago where we get more sun but dont have as many flowers.

Pablo Neruda was the guy's name (at this museum).

Isabella eating a cactus.

In addition to it's famous museum, Valpo is also known for its collection of steep hills, colorfully painted homes, and murals on the sides of walls/buildings.

An interesting fire hydrant. Of course the dogs still use it.

I wonder if this thing still works?

One of the wall murals.

More flowers.

Me and Daniella & Isabella (both of Brasil).

Our lunch spot. For US$10 we had a 5-course meal overlooking the city & the port. I had tuna salad, rice & broiled fish, grilled potatoes, and an excellent dessert!

Pisco sour, the Chilean way (not to be confused with the Peruvian Pisco, which is different). I actually didn't like this drink and gave it to Ana.

The other side of Valpo (behind me). This was our view at lunch.

Mmmmm. Dessert!

Valpo is Chile's main port.

Beneath the Arc.

Monday, December 24, 2007

¡ Feliz Navidad !

Hello from Santiago, where Christmas in summer is in full swing and the people are finishing up their shopping. I've been busy myself this past week, settling into my new apartment (which means many trips to the local stores to buy things like pots/pans, trash cans, cleaning supplies, bowls, etc.) and taking spanish classes. My classes at Escuela Bellavista are finished ($289 for two weeks).

Here are a few highlights of the past week:
- Last Sunday at church, I was treated to a great solo rendition of the spanish version of "O Holy Night". Mike & Charles will fondly remember St. James's Betsy Reid, who annually belts it out for our congregation in Greenville, NC. Well, different language, different country, but same result! I laughed to myself throughout the song, remembering how Mike, Charles, & I so enjoyed Mrs. Reid's hitting the high notes. This guy (okay, a guy) also belted it with mucho gusto!

- Boomer Sooner in Santiago? It's common to see second-hand tshirts here (some of them have interesting english phrases ... I'll make a collection and post them one day), but walking down the main street, Alameda, last week I saw a young chilean guy wearing what looked to be a new (it was bright crimson) "Oklahoma Football" shirt. Very strange indeed! And it occurred before I saw my alma mater, UNC, on any clothing. Of course the NYY - New York Yankees - are to be found everywhere.

- On a related note, yesterday I saw a young chilean guy wearing a Baylor t-shirt. What's with the Big 12 schools??

- Wed. night I joined some of my spanish class friends for dinner in Bellavista. Our group was quite international: one Chilean, 5 brasilians, a guy from Holland, and me. We had a very nice time, and I enjoyed a plate of what I'd describe as stewed beef (without the veggies, just the big piece of meat) and french fries. Mmmmmm!

- Thu. night I made spaghetti and invited a friend from work over to eat before we went to a bar to watch Round 1 of the local futbol championship (futbol = soccer). I so much enjoy hosting people, and I enjoy eating, so what better way to make a new friend than to host someone for dinner? It might have been a little strange / over-the-top, but I probably have that reputation, too.

- Friday was GREAT! Our school organized a visit from one of the local charities, Shine a Light, (for lack of a better word) that works with underprivileged youth in the outskirts of Santiago. We had gifts, games, and an overall a great time. I played soccer with some of the boys, and while we were eating ice cream, we played "Rock paper scissors", which is definitely international (they immediatley knew how to play). What fun!!

- Saturday I joined a group from the school on an excursion to Valparaiso, the nearest coastal city (1.5 hrs by bus). Valpo is an incredibly distinct town ... with many hills and narrow, winding streets, and a strong bohemian presence. I would say it's the most "hippy" city in Chile. Our tram back to the bus station was delayed for about 30 mins by a travelling troupe of street performers, who were dressed somewhat like 1800s USA settlers and dancing in the street. It might have been more interesting, but I was exhausted and just wanted to get back to my bus terminal.

- On Sunday I visited a street market, a "Feria," where I bought some fruits at pretty good prices. It was neat being probably the only gringo in the area --- and one of the vendors asked me why I was there (& if I worked in Santiago).

I'll post some of the photos from Valparaiso once I can get my camera battery charged.

Merry Christmas from Chile!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Highlights from the weekend

This weekend was exciting: a football match and a (small) earthquake! Here are some photos, and even a few movies.

The view from my new apartment, looking southeast to the mountains. Buena vista, eh?

One of the University of Chile buildings, viewed from the balcony of my new apartment (looking southwest).

Now some photos from the football match.

Our "Galeria" seats beginning to fill up.

The other team, "Colo Colo", and their seats across the stadium from us.

It was a great afternoon for a soccer game!

The Colo Colo fans were really into it! The "San Cristobal" (Christopher Columbus) hill is just behind them ... with all the communication towers on top.

Our section is now getting full. Notice the Chilean flag flying above the scoreboard.

Colo Colo's team begins to enter the stadium, and their fans go crazy.


The security was tight at this game...

But I still had fun!

Let the game begin!

A free kick by Colo Colo (in WHITE), and defending in BLUE is La U (the team of my spanish teacher and whose end-zone we were sitting).

A tranquil first half ... for the most part.

Yikes!! A fight! Notice the riot police coming to cover the referees.

The fight resulted in a red card for one of the La U players... which made it pretty easy for Colo Colo to score the first goal in the second half (about the 55th minute).

Our fans were not dismayed; rather, we sought to cheer on La U with greater passion.

Of course, a few of the younger fans decided to begin destroying the stadium and throwing it on the field. Can you see the literally hundreds of small concrete chunks littering this corner of the stadium?

I dont know if the police were helping or hurting ... because as often as not, they were the target of the debris. And by standing next to the field, the field accumulated debris perhaps meant for them.

Our team, "La U", entering the field.

The rowdy scene just before the end (suspension) of the match.

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