Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
In Spanish moneda means coin. So as it turns out, La Moneda was originally built to serve as a mint (not the breath freshener, the place where coins are made). Coins were produced in the palace from 1814 until 1929.
Somewhere along the way, a president decided La Moneda would be a pretty nice place to live. This was around 1845. I’m a little fuzzy on the details (read: Wikipedia is a little fuzzy on the details) but sometime around 1950, the presidents stopped living in La Moneda. Now they just work there.
I’m sure many people believe September 11th is only a catastrophic moment in American history. Unfortunately they’re wrong. Twenty-eight years before the planes crashed into the Twin Towers (and the Pentagon and the PA field) Chileans experienced their own 9/11. President Salvador Allende died in La Moneda (cause of death unknown) during a military coup d’état on September 11, 1973. Part of La Moneda was destroyed as bombs fell on the palace.
I don’t mean to get all anti-American here, because that’s definitely not my intention. But just so you all know, Allende was a freely elected Chilean President. And the CIA of the US supported the military coup d’état that resulted in the death of a president and Chile subsequently being under control of a military dictatorship until 1990.
Let’s take a breath, shall we?
Okay. Moving on.
In 1981 La Moneda had been restored. However, some scars from the attack were purposefully left behind.
The palace has several beautiful courtyards, salons, and patios all of which I got to see on a private, one-on-one, behind the scenes tour. Try doing that at the White House. I doubt you’ll get very far.
My aunt, Tia Patricia, just so happens to work at La Moneda. She even knows the President (who by the way, I am determined to meet, given my connections). So when she offered to show me around I obviously didn’t hesitate.
One of the first places we went was the Patio de los Cañones.
Here is where flags are on display, commemorating the Chilean (and one Bolivian) miners.
The note written by Jose Ojeda alerting rescuers
that all 33 miners were safe is also on display.
Inside La Moneda we visited several different salons. I’m sure lots of really important things happen there, but my aunt doesn’t speak English so I’m not really sure what goes on there. While wandering around we went to the kitchen (I’m sure that’s not on the real tour) and the chef gave me a glass of soda. Then we went upstairs to the second floor. After my aunt kindly asked the security guard, we were give the okay to look around a little. You should know the second floor is restricted from the public. It’s good to know the people I know.
On our way to the Plaza de la Constitución we stopped in the Presidential Kitchen. We even got to sample meringues. Presidential meringues. (That is definitely not on the real tour.)
Exiting La Moneda I snapped a picture with some guards.
There was a line of people waiting to take their pictures in front of the capsule that rescued the miners. I’m not one to cut lines. But because I was with my super special aunt we were allowed to go to the front of the line. However, the lady who took my picture in front of the capsule managed to only take a picture of me....without the capsule. (That takes talent.) So here's a picture from the other side.
La Capsula FENIX II
After seeing the capsule we made a quick trip to the Presidential Garage. I don’t know if that’s what it’s called. I just made it up. But we got to see the President’s car. I’m not a car person so this part was the least interesting.
Anyway, that about sums up my trip to La Moneda. I think I’m going to go back for the English tour to figure out the significance behind all my pictures.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Two weeks ago I had an interview in a little town called Curicó, located about two hours south of Santiago. I was a little nervous the night before so my mom gave me this invaluable advice:
I had little to worry about because after five minutes, the lady informed me they would be sending me an offer. I couldn’t believe it. I was actually being offered a job….teaching! The only downside was Curicó itself. The town was in the middle of nowhere. Well, more accurately, it was in the middle of other equally small towns. Not exactly the best place for someone my age. So I decided to be gutsy and turn the job down.
Luckily, I have two interviews set up for next week. Both schools are in Santiago. Hopefully one (or both!) will want me, so I can accept an offer and move on with my life. Which at the moment involves planning a trip to the wonderfully beautiful Lake District of Southern Chile. Researching different places to travel to is much more fun than going on interviews. Mainly because you can’t go on an interview in sweatpants.
I've been in Santiago for a few weeks now. And I can't even claim to have seen a fraction of the city yet. But I will admit, that I have been very surprised with what I have found.
I came to Chile adamantly declaring that I would never live in Santiago. No way would I ever stay in such a big city. However once I arrived, I doubt it even took 30 minutes for me to change my mind. It’s not quite as hectic as I imagined it to be.
Just like New York City, Santiago is split up into different areas. The part I’ve been staying in, Las Condes, is very pretty. It's mostly made up of apartment buildings and sky scrapers. Here’s a sampling of some of my favorite buildings so far:
Just kidding about the last one.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
|Well, as it turns out, Mt. Aconcagua is pretty ugly this time of year. So here's a picture of a chicken in a jogging suit instead.|
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tomorrow will make it one month since I have arrived in Argentina. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
1. Good shoes are essential. Wait. I take that back. Great shoes are essential. Just because a worn out pair of Converse are comfortable to walk from your house to the car, doesn’t mean they will be comfortable to walk twenty blocks (uphill...both ways). I’ve already given up wearing flip flops.
2. Don’t ever leave the house without toilet paper. I have yet to see a bathroom in public that actually has toilet paper. I’m not saying I always choose the stalls that are out of paper. I mean they don’t even have dispensers. So like I said, always carry toilet paper. Unless of course that sort of thing doesn't bother you. (Gross.)
3. People are, of course, entitled to their own opinion, but it still may be a stupid opinion. It's okay for someone to share their opinions with you about topics like abortion, gay rights, or divorce, but it is best not to be the one initiating the conversation, especially when you have the feeling that it might create an uncomfortable situation. Sometimes it is best to keep your opinions to yourself. However, once a person begins to spill derogatory comments, then I strongly believe you should stand up for what you believe in.
4. When trapped in car with two children under the age of nine, it pays to play smart. Make sure you pick the appropriate time to introduce them to the most wonderful game of all: The Silent Game. It helps to add in some “oohs” and “aahs” to get them excited about the game. Also, it can’t hurt to offer a special prize to the winner of the game. Guys, I’m talking from experience here. I may hold the record; those two children stayed quiet for 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 53 seconds.
5. Never promise a child a special prize without actually having one. You might forget. They won’t.
I'm sure there will be more to this list. Of course I'll try to impart my little pieces of wisdom as they come.