November 17, 2011: Saintly ladies

I’ve stumbled across a curious way Chile has affected my brain. I’ve been thinking about Vague Future Things, for which I might need to go visit and evaluate new cities in the U.S. This process could involve unfamiliar airports and unknown public transportation systems, as well as intimidating crowds of people. Normally this prospect would fill me with terror, but when I considered it recently, I instead thought, “But I would navigate these cities… in English? Well, that’s easy, almost effortless!” I guess throwing oneself headlong into overwhelming new situations does have its benefits.

Today was M.’s last day with our Spanish class, and we shared muffins in celebration. We also did more interactive activities with the subjunctive, including a rousing game of Subjunctive Dominos. Meanwhile, in the plaza, another protest formed — this time, mostly composed of professors and teachers, instead of students — which provided a background rhythm for our lessons. Our teacher even taught us one of the protestors’ chants, a call-and-response: “Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le! Viva Chile!”

Many flags.

Startlingly, I went to lunch with classmates, this time to a small seafood restaurant hung with decorative nautical nets. This meal didn’t just come with free drinks: it was bookended by them, with a tiny pisco sour to start and a shot of amaretto for afters. I ordered the paila marina (Chilean seafood soup), which was too strongly-flavored for my preference; I pawned it off on classmate J. I also had another ensalada chilena (tomatoes and onions); that compensated for the soup, and will definitely be a recipe that I’ll adopt once I’m back home.

Tiny pisco sour.

On the way home, I wandered through the Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes, which had a gallery set up with various art installations. Here are two things I liked.

A Pablo Neruda poster! (Amidst posters of other Chilean cultural notables.)
A whole row of saintly ladies, fully as tall as me.

I spent the evening listening to Indian/Bollywood music, as is only appropriate when you’re in Chile.

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