Thursday, February 13, 2014

Around town in Santiago

Despite my extreme exhaustion today, I had things to do, places to go and people to see.
First on the agenda was to get our Autorizacion de Viaje (Travel Authorization) legalized, so that Steve can travel with Joel and not with me. Chile is very strict about one parent leaving the country with a child, so you have to have the non-traveling parent give permission. There were a number of steps to secure this document, which I did in the US, and that were fairly complicated. All that was left was a visit to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Foreign Affairs Ministry) for the final step. This proved to be the easiest part of the whole process: a 5 minute line, and 15 seconds for someone to stamp and sign everything.

On the way, I passed Palacia de La Moneda, (originally the Mint, hence the name), the seat of the President. Michelle Bachelet (who also served 2006-10) will be sworn in on March 11th, replacing outgoing President Sebastian Pinera.

The center of Santiago, where I was walking this morning, has many pedestrian streets. Huerfanos (Orphan Street) is one I walked down, on my way back to where I'm staying.

Huerfanos ends at Cerro Santa Lucia, the park across from my condo. I went back and explored this evening, after things cooled down. It was 90 degrees today, I was so happy!

One entrance (above)-there are many, and most are locked. The one I went in had two guards, asking people to sign in, and write where they were from. I suspect I was the only one from Peoria, IL.

The elevator to the top was closed (left), and I couldn't figure out how to get up top, even though I saw lots of people strolling on the upper paths. I went around the entire hill, with no success, on some lower paths.

Along the way, I saw some young girls filming what looked like a part of a music video (above). Difficult to see in this shot-but it is a nice picture that gives some perspective of this park. It had a magical feel, sort of Alice in Wonderland-esque. When Steve and Joel get here, I think we'll have fun exploring here-hopefully we'll get to the fort at the top, and get to be there when the cannon goes off at noon. I heard it from my condo today, and didn't know what it was-but was a little concerned by the very, VERY loud explosion close by! 

More about the Cerro here:

The highlight of my day was getting to meet and have a nice long chat with the wonderful Yunuen Varela at Fulbright Chile. She has been my contact over this past year, patiently answering all my questions. We found we share a deep interest in children's literature. I'm looking forward to seeing her again!

And now I'm going to eat dinner, pack, and get ready to head to Viña tomorrow. Below, my neighbor, wishing s/he could get out and kill that pigeon on the roof: 

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