Sunday, September 12, 2004

a week in review

this coming week looks to be lazy. i only have one class that meets on monday and wednesday since the other universities i am studying at have a week of vacation for the fiestas patrias. in theory, i could have talked to the professor and skipped class to travel, but there's a complication: our first exam is on wednesday. so much for a week of freedom and traveling. but it's no big deal - there'll be time to travel later.

let's see, this past week . . . i went to the two large cemeteries here - the catholic one and the general one. very interesting to see the difference between the two, and how it they are different from the cemeteries i'm used to - there were a lot more mausoleums that i'm used to seeing. in the general cemetery there is also a big wall with the names of all the disappeared persons from the time of the dictatorship. today, in fact, there's a number of marches going there - historical note: army General Pinochet, along with the leaders of the navy, air force, and police, overthrew the democratically elected communist/socialist government of Salvador Allende on 9/11/1973.

on wednesday i saw underground, a pretty crazy movie. yay cheap art theaters. the movie was mostly in german, i think, but maybe i'm wrong. it was directed by a yugoslavian (well, what is now bosnia) and set in belgrade, starting during WWII and continuing. definitely worth seeing, and should be available in the u.s. at a video store.

thursday i went to the top of cerro san cristobal, a big hill in downtown santiago that is a park - there's also a zoo there. from the top, you can see all of santiago in its smoggy glory. due to said glory, i didn't take any fotos - i'll wait for a clear day and then give it a shot. the city is really quite large, but seems to fit nicely inside the basin created by the mountains. after coming down from the hill, i was sitting in a park with a friend and got to have my first experience with caribineros (chilean police - since chile doesn't follow the federalist model of government, there's only two police forces in the country, both national: caribineros, just regular police, and investigarors, who do detective-like things). the caribinero came up to us and asked us for identification - not because we were doing anything or looked suspicious, but just because. "a routine check" he said. if we refused, aparently he could take us to the police station and hold us under suspicion due to refusal to identify ourselves. crazy. needless to say, we gave him our identities and therefore had no problem. my friend seemed to think that chilean law now says you don't have to identify yourself like this, but my family says otherwise (as did the program coordinators in orientation). there was a case in the supreme court about similar situation in the us.

alright, it's a beautiful day. time to go outside.

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