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 (www.santiagotimes.cl) 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:













Thursday, September 11, 2008

September, 11 has a different meaning down here

Ok, so over the last few weeks, I have been hearing from various teachers and students about today. So for those who dont know, today is a major day in Chilean history. Today in 1973, the old government ran by Salvador Allende was overthrown by General Pinochet (with US Money) Allende committed sucide in the palace while it was being bombed by the amy. While Pinochet was in power, today was a "national holiday", but after he left office (pending human rights violations), the title for today was removed.

But in the last several years, Santiago has seen a lot of violence in the downtown areas and in some of the poorer neighborhoods. In the past, protestors clash with police. So, its a big deal. Businesses close early, classes are cancelled, buses and trains change times that they run and people go home to their homes to escape the protests and possible violence. (For example today, 2:30 was latest that I could have Spanish class because the school was closing early). I was actually out later that I should have been, I had dinner with a friend til about 8:30. But walking home was weird, nobody was on the streets. (Sometimes, the power goes out too, because the power company waits til tomorrow to fix the problems). I have also heard to avoid the National Stadium area tonight (this is where countless people were held captive and killed after the coup in 73). The stadium is pretty close to me and I can heard the helicopers flying around it. Strange...But I am interested to read the newspapers tomorrow....

Here is a link to find out more: 73 coup

Week has been good, I have been in the football mood lately. World Cup Football action is happening here. Chile beat Columbia yesterday 4-0. I couldnt go to the game because I had class in the nighttime. But, its still a great experience to be in the city (I knew when Chile scored because I could hear the horns beeping outside). I watched Sundays match too (Chile played terrible and lost to Brazil 3-0). I hope to buy tickets for Chile vs. Argentina on Oct 15th. They are quite expensive, about $100. But, its not everyday that I can buy see a Cup Qualifier game and a team like Argentina in South America. So, I will put up the bucks!

I also got my carnet (ID card), which is a big step for me, its means that I am legal in the country and have a card to prove it! Its not the greatest picture though........

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday..........

Once again, the weekend is over. But, it was a good weekend. Friday after work, I went to another teachers house and played poker (we do it about once a month), it was a good game and I won! Not a bad pot, about 30 Luca or 60 bucks! I think that puts me ahead in earnings for Chile. After the poker game, we just went to a few bars and ended the night. Saturday was fun too, ended up hanging out with a bunch of people and having another huge jam session, it was awesome. I mean we probably played for 2 hours, but probably for only about 5 minutes all of us were together....

We also bought bus tickets for Chiles independence day. Its a really big deal here and already people are getting set up (I see people practicing the national dance in office buildings after work and lots of cars have mini chiliean flags on them). Anyway, about 10 of us are getting a cabin in a town called Pichimu about 3 hours away. Its suppose to be a really cool beach town. Here is the link for where it is on the map:

Location

I am excited because we get a few days off work. We will probably leave Wednesday afternoon the 17th and come back on Sunday. Even cooler is that Saturday night is my birthday!

Saturday night was fun too, more just hanging out and playing card games. I taught everybody how to play the finger cup game (I think only 3 other people know of that game that read the blog. Anyone remember a certain trip to Milwaukee?), which was a huge sucess. Today is more chill, just studying Spanish and playing guitar........

Monday, September 1, 2008

New Place in 2 weeks!

So I made a deposit on a new place today. Its not that huge of a investment only about 40 bucks...hehe. But, I chose the place that I looked at yesterday. The best part is that it is really close to work! I mean I can actually see my work building from my new apartment awesome right? Its a little more expensive, but it will turn out to be cheaper because I dont have to pay commuting costs and I probably will gain about 2 hours a day saved from commuting time. When I have long times in between classes, I hate wasting my time just hanging out at the school but I hate wasting 1.5 hours just to come home between class. Now, I wont have to worry about that any more. The only hard part was telling my roomates...Here is the kicker..because of the situation, I have to move out anyway in a 1.5 months right? But, because the new apartment didnt want to hold the place vacant for 1.5 months, I had to take it now, which means I wont pay them(my current roomates) the 1.5 months worth of rent. Because they only have a month left in the place, its unlikely that another person will take my spot, so that means that they are out about 400 bucks. I know it sucks for them (I mean I dont want to screw them over, because they have really been good to me), but hey it sucks for me. I mean they told me that I had to find a new place in a few months right after I had only been there for 30 days. I would have never moved into a place where I had move out in 3 months. So I told one of the roommates, who didnt take it that great, which leaves one more to tell. Should be interesting.....