January 2, 2012: Hotel Prat

I’m really going to miss being able to wander around this beautiful city whenever I like, with no greater effort required than to amble down hilly cobblestone streets with colorful buildings.

Remnants of the New Year.

That is precisely what I did today. I wandered into town to hunt for a few more obstinate gifts, as an excuse to bask in the sunny lovely day. Hace mucho calor! I started out by heading towards Plaza Sotomayor, as I knew there were some useful shops in that direction.

As I passed Plaza Anibal Pinto, I noticed some people walking with their hands over their noses, and soon enough, I felt tear gas’s familiar sting in my own nose. However, my reaction was not, “Augh! Tear gas! The horror!” Instead, my main thought was “Wait, but that makes no sense; it’s not Thursday!” (you may recall that Thursdays are the student protest days). I might have developed a bit of a skewed perspective, that whiffs of tear gas are noteworthy occasions only when they’re not on Thursdays.

I ducked into a bookshop to breathe easier for a few minutes, and then headed back in the direction I’d come from. I poked my nose into a variety of wee shops. In one of them, the clerk invited me to ask a question of an I Ching book; instead of fiddling around with coins or beads, I was to reflect on a question and then flip to a random page of the book. I asked it something general about future stuff, and it answered me something about love and relationships. I told the man that I thought it had answered a different question than what I’d asked, but politely added that it was interesting nonetheless.

Arturo Prat was a great Chilean naval hero. However, I've read too many British things not to be amused when I see so many things named after "prat."

After that, I headed to Plaza Victoria, with the intent of browsing the artisan wares and maybe walking a bit further on. However, I ended up spending at least half an hour chatting with an Argentine artisan, who had a large pile of quartz and a display of macramé necklaces with mineral pendants . He told me that, if I had some time in the next two weeks, I could come back to the plaza and he could show me how to do some stone carving or macramé. As I started to leave, he gave me a tiny piece of quartz, and told me about how it had healing and cleansing powers and whatnot. Then, I also bought a copper and obsidian pendant on a red string, because I always feel a little guilty if people spend a lot of time talking to me and I don’t buy anything. Also, obsidian is a lovely stone, and it reminds me of the volcanic mountains of California.

One thought on “January 2, 2012: Hotel Prat

  1. I like your obsidian.
    The morpheme prat is just plain silly.
    What have you bought me?
    Please stay away from teargas and the people who fire it.
    The IChing guy was a fraud. It doesn’t work that way.

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