Wednesday, January 12, 2011


just starting our 7th day here in Santiago.  in case you were wondering, we made our flight in Bogota; in fact, we got off our plane and waited while they cleaned it and then got right back on. no security check, no changing terminals. so that was convenient. we got in very early in the morning, but had no troubles there, either. our hosts/landlords marcello and jim are very cool and very nice.  they're also involved in the restoration of this historic neighborhood, and are working with a university, from whom they received a large grant, developing strategies for preservation as well as cataloging items of historical and cultural significance.  it's all really cool and means that we got to look at over a dozen walking tours they've put together on the computer, and we're the first to be given the opportunity to walk them.

the first few days we just stayed around the neighborhood. we're very close to plaza brasil and plaza yungay, the latter of which is where in the early days of the city the merchants set up their private residences; later on the chilean aristocracy moved in as well, and there were architectural races, of a sort, to see who could create the most unique and interesting palaces.  there's a lot of cool buildings here.

we've only eaten out a couple times, but every time the food has been fantastic. there's a great place around the corner where their house special pisco sours include fresh minced green chilis.  the smell is really interesting, and you get the chili on the tongue when you drink, but the pisco and lemon kill any afterburn you might expect, so it's just a really good, complexly flavored drink.

yesterday we took the bus downtown to plaza armas and walked around a bit. we climbed santa lucia, a hill nearby with a fort on top.  later we made our way to an artisan market, where they have all kinds of cool craftwork: wood and stone carvings, clothing, leather goods, lapis lazuli jewelry, musical instruments, etc.  nora got a skirt/dress that she's thrilled about, but i have to be honest i think i'm even more excited about my purchase: a leather messenger bag.  i've been looking for a suitable one for over three years now, and i think i finally found one i'm satisfied with.  all in all, a successful day.

nora's classes start tomorrow, and the classes i teach have been moved to a new format, so there's a lot of work for me to do getting ready before they start on sunday, so the next few days may not be as exciting.  still, this is a great city, and we're in a wonderful part of it if you like walking around and taking in the ambiance--which we do.

oh, one last note to all of you in the northern hemisphere reading this: it's hot here. thankfully, there's a constant breeze and wind blowing through, but even then it's quite warm. nora got a sunburn on her nose yesterday. those of you back home who just got snow dumped on them, enjoy it while it lasts, but here's to hoping it doesn't last too long.

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