Thursday, July 28, 2005

Whoops (2)

Also overlooked having a blog for the last ten days or so. Will make up for it, eventually. Don't despair, i'm still around.
No, make that: Despair, i'm still around.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Overlooked by everyone especially myself, this blog turned two years old last thursday. Happy birthday to it.

Bìo Bìo

Yesterday an old man in the street offered to sell me a katana sword.

This meant i could only be in Bìo Bìo, one of the world's most amazing flea markets. It occurs every sunday in the Franklin area of santiago, and the things you can find, see or eat there are impossible to enumerate. Among the things i saw for sale, on exposition or walking about yesterday were antique stoves, "ger-man" brand tools, a litfiba cd, an assortment of nintendos, 1930s german currency (i.e. fünf millionen mark), a cosplayer, saxophones made out of bamboo sticks, authentic horse saddles, spurs and leather whips, puppies and a life-sized cardboard cutout of Raffaella Carrà.

For the record, Pablo Neruda once found the masthead of a seventeenth century french armada ship here, which he purchased for close to nothing and is now exposed in the poet's Isla Negra historical home/museum.

The prices are of course often quite good, arbitrarily chosen and obligatorily negotiable. For example, my parents purchased what to an early identification seems to be a 1920s-built mandolin for 30.000 pesos, roughly around 42-43 euros. Original cds, often still factory sealed (which is what i tend to hunt for when in the neighbourhood) go for something between 3000 and 5000.

I also saw some nice cd/mp3 players. "New" cd players usually go for around 10.000 pesos, so i asked the salesman for prices. In these cases, my tactic is to fake interest for a similar object, and then pretend to be resorting to the one i actually wanted as a slight disappointment, so the theatrical discussions involved usually bring the price down a bit. This time, it was not the case:
Me(pointing at newish-looking cd player): "how much for that?"
Salesman: "30 thousand."
Me(pointing at visibly older and scraggier-looking cd player): "and for that one?"
Salesman: "40 thousand."
Me(finally pointing at the mp3/cd player i was originally interested in): "what about that one?"
Salesman: "I don't want to have business with you. Go away."
Me: "Ok." (Exits)

Was fun.

Meanwhile, two or three months ago...

Me: I love tea. You know another thing that's great about tea? When it's reeeeally hot and reality sort of starts to fade around the top of it.
Her: Robin, that's not reality, it's-
Me: It's not reality? COOL!
Her: Ro...(sighs) Oh, forget it.

Friday, July 15, 2005

A cool thing about chile is the weather report. You get reports for Antartica and easter island. Antartica had -4/-6 degrees celsius this morning, so now you know. Thought it would be colder. Actually, i suspect it's wrong.
It's also getting colder around here. The first week we always had nice weather, yesterday it rained and the temperature went down. Right now i'm wearing my coat and my fingers are freezing.

There, that covers the first question people always ask me since i got here. The other one is: what time is it here?
Answer: half past one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Movies watched since reaching Chile 7 days ago:

Goodbye Lenin
New York Stories
Twelve Monkeys

If i'm not forgetting anything.
I also saw a spanish movie on the plane, despite large amounts of overweight people blocking my view by standing in the aisle. I forget the title. It had Carmen Maura in it (don't they all?) and wasn't very good anyway.
Oh, and Six Days Seven Nights on cable some mornings ago, just because Harrison Ford was in it and i didn't feel like leaving the house not to mention the bed. You don't want to see that.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Passing by.

Day three in santiago, i wake up at five o'clock in the morning. I turn the tv on and find that the movie Brazil is just starting, so i watch it all. Couldn't have been more poignant, the day after the london bombings. The rest of the day feels like that movie.
I'm in Chile.
Afternoon, after lunchtime. I'm in Plaza Brasil, where the Antonio Carlos Jobim monument is and all the students hang out after school or between classes. I've just bought myself a beer and am looking for a bench to sit down and enjoy it. A large green Carabineros truck is patrolling the park, making sure these youngsters don't try anything antisocial. It blocks my path and i nervously make myself aside. The truck stops, the young police officer driving it smiles at me signalling me to go ahead, i surprise myself smiling back.
I reach a comfortable bench, start drinking. Halfway through i realize i'm right in front of the Victor Jara Foundation building.
I finish my beer, walk towards the used bookstores one block down. Some teenage schoolgirls are blowing bubbles on the corner of the street, and seeing them makes me smile for the first time since i'm here.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Landing on Santiago

Airplane, nighttime.
Guy to my left, window seat, nice guy. Argentinian, on his way back to Mendoza.

-Oh, you can see civilization already!
-No, that's Chile.

Guy to my right, across the aisle. Chilean. Complete moron.

Him: What's that?
Outside the window, a city is clearly visible from above, its bright red and orange lights glimmering in the dark.
Me: Oh, that? It's a volcano.
Him: Cool!

Addendum: during take-off and landing, use of electronic equipment is forbidden. So no listening to tapes. Instead, excruciatingly mediocre covers of pop classics(Close To Me by The Cure, Bob Marley's Is This Love, Bowie's China Girl, etc.) are inflicted on poor defenceless travellers. The perpetrators: a band going by the name of "popchill". What to do: Go back in time, track down parents, kill them.

Monday, July 04, 2005

In a day of general grumpiness, here's what actually managed to make me laugh.
(From: Madrox #1, David and Raimondi, Marvel Comics 2005)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Proof of time spent productively

Since i passed my second-to-final exam last monday i've just been busy. So busy. Oh how busy.
I also got a new minesweeper high score:

There, now you can see exactly how busy i've been.