Thursday, December 18, 2008

Only a few days

So on Sunday I fly back to the US for about 2 weeks. I am really excited to see everybody. Actually, it really doesnt feel like that I am have been gone that long. I think it is because of all those 2 week audits that I used to go on.

On a random note, just a few minutes ago, Chile just had a small earthquake in Santiago. I was teaching a class on the 13th floor of a building, it wasnt that serious, the blinds hitting the windows was the extent of the shake. I dont know, it could be worst in a different part of Chile...

So tomorrow, it is my last day of class for about 5 weeks! Not bad for a part time job. So after I return to Chile in January, me and 4 other friends are going on a road trip to the south of Chile and Argentina! I am really excited, one of the main points of the trip is to camp and hike at Torres Del Paine in Patagonia....its pretty much at the end of the world, about 1500 miles south of me. We are still in the planning stages, but we might also swing up to Buenos Aires for a few days but that is undecided because of the amount of time that it takes to get there by bus (its about a 22 hour bus ride). I would rather go to BA another time, since its only about a 2 hour flight from Santiago, but we will see what the group wants to do.

We will be taking buses all the way down there, and stopping at different places in the South of Chile. We will try to camp as much as we can, and the rest we will probably stay at hostels, so hopefully it will be a cheaper trip. The problem about Torres Del Paine is that it is located in a place where there are no roads directly leading to it, so we will have to take a flight from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas. Here is an idea were were might be going:

Santiago is the first pin and Torres Del Paine is the second pin. Should be a grand adventure!

I can almost taste the Pizza Hut lunch buffet.......

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


So we had a 3 day weekend here because of some holiday (who knows). Because we always take advantage of the long weekend, a few of us took a trip to Talcá, a town about 3 hours from Santiago. We left on Saturday in the afternoon, and got there about 8PM. The thing is we never reserved a place to stay for the night! The place we wanted to stay was full, so we just asked a taxi driver and he took us to a nice hostel. The next morning, we left for our original destination...a cabin in the mountains. We found out about this place from other friends. Basically, this guy lives in 1 cabin and rents out the other. Its really cool and peaceful. But in order to get there, we had to take a public bus for about 2 hours (imagine going down a country road and stopping when somebody is at the side of the road). So we got there on Sunday afternoon, did a nice 3 hour hike, cooked dinner and relaxed. Monday was more of the same, hiking and relaxing, and then we took the bus back to the city at 5PM that day. After 2 bus rides and a train ride, I was back at my place by 11PM...

Here are some pics....

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Photo Website

I am now the proud owner of the following website!

Check it out!

Off to enjoy my 3 day weekend!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Thanksgiving didnt have the same feeling down here..Actually, I probably would have forgetten about it, since its just a regular day. But, I ended celebrating it a little bit differently (with Malaysian food). So yesterday, I went to shoot a cooking show hosted by the Malaysian ambassador at his house. It quite the posh experience. After shooting the event, we got to eat the food and I actually met the ambassadors to Thailand and Malaysia (Not Bad Eugene, eh?). They were quite nice and friendly. Me and another writer from the Santimes ended up talking to the Ambassador for a long time too. At the end of the event, the Ambassdors driver actually dropped us off at the bus station (its not everyday that somebody gets out of a Mercedes and waits for a bus after that). It was a good time, and I got to meet some good contacts. See my photo blog for the pics.....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Blog

Hey gang, Ive launched a new blog dedicated specifically to my photography (so I down overload this site). Here is the link. Feel free to provide feedback on my photos!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I hate the dog outside

So there is a guard dog that lives below me and lets just say that he does his job. Always barking, its very bothersome........Que lata...The problem is when it gets warmer outside and I have to leave my windows open. Man, I am never going to sleep!

Good week. So, since I moved into my place, there has always been a TV in the room, but I turned it on and it didnt work, and that was the end of it. But, 2 months later, I found out that all I needed to do was to plug the cable which was behind the bed for 40 channels of cable! Why didnt I think of that before! I am trying to watch TV very day and learn something..

Tuesday, I shot another protest, this one a lot smaller, but very interesting. It was about the potential building of Dams in the south of Chile. Here is the article for the paper with my photos:

Written by Benjamin Witte
Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Protestors want Patagonia to be dam free
Photo by Kyle Weaver

Several hundred demonstrators gathered outside of Endesa’s Santiago headquarters Wednesday evening to protest the Spanish-Italian electricity company’s plans to build a huge hydroelectric complex in Chilean Patagonia.

Accompanied by a musicians and a troupe of colorful costumed dancers, the demonstrators crowded around the building’s entrance carrying signs that read “Protect Patagonia” and “Let’s Get Chile’s Water Back.”

“I think there are different ways to produce energy and in this case, although it would be relatively clean energy, I don’t think flooding Patagonia is the best option,” Fernando, a natural resources engineering student, told the Patagonia Times.

Endesa, working in collaboration with Chilean energy company Colbún, plans to build five massive dams in far southern Chile’s Region XI: three along the Pascua River and two along the Baker. Together the dams – which have an estimated price tag of US$3.2 billion – would add some 2,750 MW of electricity to Chile’s strained central grid. Chile’s current overall generating capacity is approximately 13,000 MW.

The project is currently being evaluated by Chilean environmental authorities, which must approve the plan before construction can begin.

Dancers added a festive flare to Wendesday's protest outside of Endesa's Santiago office
Photo by Kyle Weaver

Backers say it will go a long way toward meeting the country’s growing appetite for electricity, estimated to increase by some 6 percent annually. Patagonia’s glacier-fed rivers, furthermore, represent clean and efficient energy sources, Endesa and Colbún insist. And, because the water is located right here in Chile, it is not – unlike imported oil and natural gas – subject to uncertain price and supply variations.

The project’s many opponents, on the other hand, say the dams will devastate the Baker and Pascua Rivers and open up Chilean Patagonia – considered one of the world’s last pristine wilderness areas – to further industrial exploitation. Of equal concern, they say, are plans by Canadian-owned Transelec to build a 2,300 kilometer power line, potentially the world’s longest, to transport the electricity from Region XI to energy hungry central Chile. The estimated US$1.6 billion transmission line, critics warn, would mean clear cutting countless acres of wilderness land and promises to leave a lasting scar across southern Chile’s unique landscape.

“Even though there are other ways to produce energy, (Endesa and Colbún) choose what’s cheapest for them and most harmful for us,” said Angelo, a Greenpeace volunteer. “There’s wind and solar energy. Also tidal and geothermic energy. In they end those options require a bit more investment, but it has to be done. In Spain they’re already doing it, because the laws require it. Here, companies do what they want.”

By Benjamin Witte ( patagoniatimes@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pics from Protest

Here are some of the pics that I took from Tuesdays protest.........

(A shot from the stage. They let photographers take turns up there)

(A drummer)

(A little encounter between cops and a protester)

(These guys dont take no for a answer)

(Someone important)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hello All

I know its been a while, since I have had a update. But sometimes, you just get too busy. I swear that I have no time around here. The funny thing is that, I dont know where all my times goes. I mean, I only work part time! But, between my job, my photography, studying Spanish, playing guitar and hanging out with my friends, time does add up.

The weather is really starting to get nice and hot. Time is really flying and I always forget that its Novemember because of the weather here. Its probably between 70 and 80 degrees, but the nights cool down a lot.

My weekend was good, Friday we played Poker again, and I ended up going head to head for first place, but it got too late and we ended up splitting the pot (not bad about 20 bucks each). But it beats losing!

Saturday night it was my good friend Will`s going away party. He is moving to the far south of Chile. I am bummer because he is a good friend of mine. Its something you have to get used to in this line of work. People dont stay here forever, maybe 6 months, a year, etc. We had a BBQ on top of one of the cerros here. It ended up getting dark and we actually missed the last bus down the mountain! We ended up walking down the thing, it took us maybe a hour, but the view of the lights of the city was really cool.....

I have really been doing more photo work at the newspaper and Revolver (its the sister radio station). Last week, I did 2 photo reviews of restuarants in Santiago. Sometimes, we get free food and sometimes we dont. Another thing, I have been covering more is protests. There was a big protest today, and I got some great pictures of it. I will post them later (I have to edit them first!). People down here really know how to protest and everyday there is something else going on. In my opinion, its something that people from the US have forgotten to do....

Here are some photos that I have taken lately......

(La Moneda)

(Neat Car)

(Old Argentina Embassy)

So the story with this old Embassy is that some land developer owns the property and wants to tear it down to build Condos. The problem is that its considered a cultural landmark and he cant tear it down. So it just rots away.....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

El Domingo

The 3 day weekend has come to a end. I have been so busy and its been go go go all week! We didnt have to work Friday because for some random reason, Chile gets Halloween as a national holiday (its strange considering only about 30% of people here actually celebrate it!)

Friday was great, a couple of us decided to get up early (I mean we had to meet at 10:45AM) and go tour a vineyard about 20KM or so away. To get there we took a train and then at the train stop took a taxi the rest of the way. The Vineyard was beatiful, it was voted the best vineyard in Chile for 2008, so that is why we decided to go there. We got there at about 12:30, had a excellent lunch, with some steaks and several bottles of wine and then at 3:30 went on the tour. It was reasonably priced, it was about 40 dollars per person. Here are some pics:

Friday night, I went to a halloween party which was thrown by one of my friends. But, a few of us had planned to go hiking in the mountains on Saturday, so we didnt stay out too late. Being hungover on a hike is the worst! We went to a area which was about a hour drive from the city called Yerba Loca, it was amazing! Originally, we were going to rent 2 cars, but my friends was able to borrow cars from people. The funny thing is that one of the cars was a Computer repair van! It was the worst thing to take up a mountain. Right after, we parked the car at the trailhead, a bunch of steam started coming out of the hood! At that point, we couldnt do much, so we just left a note and headed up the mountain.....(We fixed it for the ride home)

(our trail for about 20 percent of the time)

(seeking shelter from the storm)

(A good profile for Field and Stream or something...)


(The van that broke down)

(My friends Will and Karlee)

The park kinda reminded me of Colorado landscapes. Our original goal was to make it to the Glacier at the top of the mountain, but it turns out that is a 14 hour hike, a little much to do in one day. The trail was really messy and muddy as well, becuase of Spring runoff. A lot of times our trail was a stream! At first, the weather was beatiful, but about a hour before we were going to turn back, we hit a huge rain/hail storm and had to chill underneath a rock for a bit, until that slowed down..A awesome hike.......

Monday, October 27, 2008


Only 3 more days left of this week, thats right, Chile gets Halloween off for some random reason. We are trying to get a group of people together to go hiking on Friday in the mountains, so we will see how that works out.

Weekend was good. Saturday we went on a hike in some of the hills around the city, in order to get there we had to walk through some really bad slums, not something I wouldnt recommend it for the out of town traveller. But, its a side of the city, which everybody needs to see. I will try to post some pics later.....

The home life is still interesting. The mother literally sleeps all day. Literally. But it sucks for the kid, because he is bored and wants to play and do things. Or he comes to me saying he is hungry...Its strange, I think the mother is depressed, but who knows...

Last weekend, me and another friend went to a part of town called b.o.b.o, it is a huge flee market, where people sell anything. Its quite the sight to see, tons of venders set out with blankets on the street with random junk for sale. Somebody was even selling the old floppy disks from the 80s. Why would anybody need those? People were also sellling puppies out of a box on the street, and I wonder why their are sooo many dogs on the street?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Pic

Here is a pic of my street when I exit my apartment. I have a lot of classes in the building on the left of the picture (with arrow). On the right side of the picture (with the an arrow), the yellow building, is actually where my school is located at. So the walk is nothing.....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pics and Videos from the Football game

These pics and videos dont really show the true enviroment of the game, but its pretty close....

Start of the game

End of Game

More celebration


Me and my bud Will

Me and my friends Jon and Will

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chile 1, Argentina 0

So last night I attended the football match between Argentina and Chile. We got there at about 5PM because we wanted a good seat (the game didnt start until about 8PM). The stadium is very old and run down (a stadium like that would never fly in the US), and its the same place where countless people were killed after the 73 coop. Its a weird thought to think that as you walk through the halls. Its easy to ask the question, because of the history, why hasnt the place been torn down? Well, the answer is a lot deep than that. But anyway, the experience was very awesome. They dont have consession stands, just a few people selling homemade stuff with a few strung up light blubs hanging over head. About 7:30, the place was full. I read today that there were about 75,000 people there. Argentina had a small fan base, but there were lots of riot police there to protect them.
But the experience is something that I will never forgot, people are sooo loud, chanting, jumping and shouting dirty sayings. Pretty much anything goes, people were lighting flares and fireworks in the stadium. Every once and awhile, a large boom or bottle rocket would go off in the sky. Madness in a good way. I love live football, I think it is the best thing to watch live.

But the best reason why is that it is a lifetime experience is because Chile actually beat Argentina! This has never happened in history! Never! So, you can imagine the enviroment when the final whistle was blown or when the only goal was scored. I cant even describe how cool it was. After the game, we got some dinner at a bar a little bit away from the stadium, and even hours after the game was over, people were still driving through the streets, beeping their horns and holding flags outside their cars....Amazing!

Movies and pics to come later.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bored at work

So me and another teacher found a wesbite where we can play chess online. I dont even like chess that much, but it passes the time when we are just sitting at the school with nothing else to do. We just sit at 2 computers and play each other. Haha. Weekend was good, just went to a few random parties and bars. Our time changed as well, so now we are a hour ahead of US Eastern standard time. I always forget that everything is backward here. So I cant use that catchy saying ("fall back").

While I was waiting for a friend in one of the metro stations on Friday night, a huge fight broke out. It was very small at first just 2 people and the security guards tried to break it up, but soon after 15 more people decided to get involved in the situation. This is where the security guards stepped away and let the people fight. It was pretty crazy!

I also got my internet working again, I had to buy a USB wireless adapter, which kinda stinks, but oh well...

Weather is still getting warmer outside which is nice. Hopefully, the weather is nice for tomorrow, because me and a few coworkers have tickets to see the Chile vs Argentina football match which is a qualifier for the world cup. I am really excited to go. I just have to make sure that I wear the right colors to the game and dont get beat up by a bunch of punks! People take is seriously here, a friend of a friend got their window busted in their car because they had a Eqcuador flag in their car (Chile lost to them on Sunday...)

One more random tidbit, so tonight I was playing some video games with the kid and we were playing this game called Panda, but it was exactly like Mario (even had all the same secret levels and everything!) Crazyness................

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Midweek update

After reading the news, I am really glad that I am not working in the financial market right now. Yikes!! Weekend was good, both days I went to friends houses and hung out had a few drinks or had a BBQ. It was very nice. I also spent a lot of time studying Spanish as well. The living situation is going well (at least I think so), the family is nice and they want me to learn more to properly understand them. I actually havent had Spanish class in a few weeks because my schedule has been busy. But, I kinda have a Spanish class every night.

On Saturday, I went clothes shopping with a friend. The majority of middle class people here do their shopping on the street in the clothing district. It reminds me of the clothing district in LA, where there are lots of small shops with one of a kind clothes. Its kinda neat to see all the different stuff. A very lively situation indeed. But, in general, lots of things are sold by people on the street. Clothes, jewerly, watches, sunglasses, cds, movies, etc. These people sell their goods on blankets, I knew the reason why, but had never seen it happen. The reason why that the goods are on blankets is so that they can make a fast getaway if the cops coming walking around. Well, I saw a bunch of people pack up shop really quick, and sure enough, about 3 or 4 blocks down the street a few cops were on motorcycles. I guess they have lookouts who watch, and all the vendors look out for each other, so they are long gone before the cops are even close. Its a pretty impressive site to see actually.......

The cool thing about this week is I actually got a job as a photographer at a newspaper! Ok, its not all that is seems, but it still is pretty neat. My friend, who works at the newspaper and the radiostation which is owned by the newspaper, hooked me up with the gig. Its a online newspaper and its called The Santiago Times ( and its the only English newspaper in Chile. Its not paid (bummer), but I will probably spend a few hours a week there, doing a few things. The idea is we get advanced notice about the stories which will be posted later and try to get photos to go along with the story. We will do this in two ways, one, go taking photos or use stock photos. Using stock photos is boring, but because we cant get live photos for all stories, we have to use stock ones. But, I will also get press passes to go to concerts in Chile and shoot! So this side gig might be a lot of work, but I think that it will be worth it........

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pics of the departmento

My Room

View of the living room

The view from the balconey

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I would rather be on the beach.....

So from last Wednesday afternoon to Sunday Night, I was away on holiday in Pichilemu (a popular surf town). We were celebrating Chiles independence day. It is a big deal here, people celebrate it for the entire week pretty much, everybody puts the flag on their cars, their houses, etc. Its a very neat thing to experience. Anyway, on Wednesday night, we arrived to the cabins that we had rented (there were 9 of us, mostly teachers). The cabins were fine, pretty basic, but they were about 2 blocks from the ocean. So for the next 4 days, we would relax on the beach, cook a huge BBQ and hang out every night. It was a blast and really relaxing. The weather was nice, it was cold, I just had to wear a jacket on the beach, but at least it was sunny. One night, we brought a bunch of wood down to the beach and had a fire. We also tried to sleep on the beach for the night around the fire, but it got too cold because we only had like 3 blankets for 5 people and ended up going back to the cabins at about 3AM. One night, we also went to a Fonda, which is typical celebration about this time. Its basically a large barn like structure with a dirt floor, haybales and a live band. The night that we went was packed, probably several hundred people were there. We got there by bus and the bus terminal was really busy about 20 buses were leaving so, you can imagine the amount of crazyness going on around there. The bus system is pretty good here, its pretty easy to get to cities. Its pretty cheap too, about 10 dollars a way (ok for a 3 hour ride) Here are some pics: