It has been a few weeks since our last post, due primarily to the fact that we have settled into a rather comfortable – yet perhaps less noteworthy – routine: language studies interspersed with empanadas and piscolas.
However, so as to not lose the interest of our active readership (all 14 of you), we thought we’d provide an update with a few of the current headlines coming out of Chile.
1) There was a 6.5 magnitude earthquake yesterday. However, since it wasn’t a 7.5 or 8, and therefore only a ‘temblor’ not a ‘terremoto’, it was barely a blip on the news radar. No, we didn’t feel it.
2) HidroAysen dam project. The government has recently approved the development of 5 large hydroelectric plants along two pristine rivers in Patagonia, resulting in demonstrations, complete with tear gas and water cannons. Jeff, although keen on joining the demonstrations in Valparaiso to rally behind the cause (and to see what tear-gas feels like) instead went hiking with Aggie in a nearby national park.
3) Air quality in Santiago has degraded to “Pre Emergency Alert” levels, necessitating the closing of 874 factories, limitations on the numbers of vehicles circulating within the city, and the canceling of school Phys Ed classes. Link to story. I’d obviously hate to see what a full “Emergency” level constitutes.
4) Authorities have exhumed the remains of former president Salvador Allende to reconfirm his manner of death: did he in fact commit suicide (with a gun given to him by Fidel Castro, interestingly) or was he killed by those associated with the Pinochet regime? In addition, the death of Nobel-prize winning poet Pablo Neruda, just 12 days after the death of Allende, is also being investigated. Link to story. CSI Chile!
Other notes, observations, and the obvious:
- The Pacific is freeeeezing.
- Turns out our landlord has a Michigan Executive MBA. It’s a tiny rental property in an area full of tiny rental properties…. really? Moreover, he and his wife took off to the Canary Islands for a month, gave us their car, and discounted our rent simply to watch the property and feed the cats. Éxito!
- Intensive language school is a bit like the basic premise of Billy Madison (minus the clowns and the ‘family-empire’ bit, of course.)
- Nature’s television: waves! I could watch for hours… click here for the 30-second version.
- Walmart is here but it’s called Lider (which means ‘leader’). It somehow manages to seem even more enormous and appalling than in the States.
- Mullets, faux-hawks, and acid-washed jeans, although not ubiquitous, certainly seem to be more accepted.
- Haven’t seen Chilean Sea Bass on the menu.
- “Completos sin palta no son completos!” Chile celebrates National Day of the Completo.