Monday, April 28, 2014

6th time's the charm

I got my cédula! Whoo Hoo!  When I went in on Friday, it was there much to my amazement. It took slightly under 2 months with 2 sets of paperwork, fingerprints, photos (along with 3 trips to the International police) and I finally have my id card. Chilean bureaucracy at its finest...

Later that day, when I picked up our mail (bills really) at the front desk, I found a form stating that Joel needs to go redo his paperwork. There was no date on it, no stamp, so I'm at a loss as to how it got mailed here. I am choosing to ignore this message, because it is possible it had been in our mail box for a while, and might refer to the original mess up with the paperwork.

We are going to Easter Island today, more properly Rapa Nui. Since we will not be taking our computers, you'll have to sit tight for another blog post until the 2nd or 3rd.

If you can't make it to Rapa Nui, you can pick up the following, right in Peoria at Sheridan Nursery. My wonderful chiropractor, Dr. Clark took this picture last week and sent it to me. I think the ones on the island are a little bigger. And more durable.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sick Day

So, I seem to have caught something from one of my students, or from someone in the colectivos I take to and from work. It is fall here now, and there have been a lot of colds and other viruses going around. Our wifi is not working in the apartment, so I'm back down in the lobby of our building to connect. We think there has been a mix-up with the bill. Bills come to the apartment, and are in the property manager's name. I've checked, and there is no internet maybe the bill went to her house. And now she is out of the country for 2 weeks, so we can't find out what is happening.

But won't need our wifi because we'll be gone for a week to fabulous Easter Island with Steve's parents, who arrived safely yesterday. We figured, heck, we are in Chile, why not take that 5 hour flight out to see the place? And when my in-laws decided to come celebrate Steve's 50th birthday (May 3rd), we thought it might be nice for all of us to go together.

Thought I'd put in a few pictures I haven't posted, for your viewing pleasure.

 This one says "Will you accept this imbecile to be your future husband?"  I wonder if the answer was yes?

 Joel leaving school last week. We had several very nice warm days:

 Right after the fires started in Valpo, we noticed a lot of brush had been cleared along a retaining wall we walk past on the way to and from school. We are not sure if this was general clean-up, or a result of a higher level of concern because of the dry conditions. But 12 days later, the pile is still there, and growing. It seems that people are dumping all kinds of stuff in it, including ceramic floor tiles, a suit case, general trash and other yard waste. A few days ago Joel and I saw a guy dragging a huge bundle of dead wood down Agua Santa. We guessed he was heading to the pile-and we were right. Hopefully THIS doesn't go up in flames!

Last week I went to Santiago with Sarah since I didn't have any classes (because the students wanted to help in Valpo). So we did a little exploring of markets and such. This was a chili stall, where I bought some merkén, a Mapuche spice that is made from a particular smoked, dried pepper. Sometimes other things are added, like salt or coriander.
Of course I had to say hi to a market cat.

This one didn't say hello, it seemed like it was pretty happy hanging out on this used clothes display:
Sarah saw these guys selling potatoes, and wondered if she could take their picture. They loved the idea, and had her come stand with them. She has one of me on her camera, that I hope to get from her later.

The one really crappy thing that happened was when someone grabbed Sarah's necklace and ran off with it. This was not at the market pictured above, but near the Central Mercado, where we'd eaten lunch on Saturday. She was really lucky not to have been badly hurt, since the necklace was pretty thick. It wasn't gold, so the thief didn't get anything of value, but it was a really bad experience. No one did anything to try to stop the guy-Sarah started chasing him, but stopped when she felt her necklace. Turned out it had broke, and she had about half of it left. By then, there was nothing we could do, as the guy was long gone into the crowd.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Food, glorious food!

Just so you know, Steve is not the only one who makes food around here. You'll have noticed some very yummy looking creations he's put on his blog or has tweeted. We get our produce, and sometimes eggs from the feria (the biweekly produce market). Because Steve's mom and dad are coming in tomorrow, we won't be able to go to the Wednesday market. I really love going to traditional food markets, but don't often get the chance here because of my work schedule. So Steve has done most of the gathering, and today, he went to the Mercado Central which is in a permanent building, and is open daily. Same vibe as the feria, only indoors, and fewer merchants. Still beats the Santa Isabela (we don't go to Lider, since it is really Walmart in disguise.)

Steve mopped, vacuumed and did laundry today, in addition to getting some veggies and chicken. He left mid-afternoon for Santiago (he's spending the night so he's at the airport early tomorrow) so I did the sanitizing of the food. An important step in food safety that I learned in the Peace Corps.

First you wash in soapy water, then you soak in a weak bleach solution for 5 to 10 minutes. Eggs get washed and scrubbed, but not soaked. Stuff that you peel gets washed, including avocados. Isn't it interesting how the eggs were wrapped in newspaper? They all got home crack-free.

Here's dinner: Poached, shredded chicken, mixed with a little onion, green summer squash and mayo, the condiment that keeps Chile running.

I don't think I've mentioned the fondness folks here have for plastic bags. Even when we go shopping with reusable bags, or take plastic with us, we get more. Each item is placed in a bag, and sometimes smaller bags are put in bigger bags. Today Steve bought the food you see pictured above. The 5 bags it came home in will get put with all the other bags under the counter. I may have to get aggressive about reusing these things, it really is pretty horrible how many there are. They may even be breeding under there...

Oh, and a bit of shopping etiquette I may have mentioned before. When you are in a grocery store (but not a feria or small mom and pop corner store), you need to tip the person bagging up your food. (Even if you do manage to get them to use your reusable bags). These kids work for tips only and the tip doesn't need to be big, 50-200 CLP (about 10-40 cents), depending on how much they bag. A great way to get rid of those pesky smaller coins, and the old 100 pieces. But we keep all our new 100 CPLs for laundry!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

La Serena is indeed, serena!

So, back to La Serena:

La Recova

The day after we arrived, once I had the chance to recover from my late dinner, I was free in the morning so we walked over to La Recova, the touristy market a few blocks from our hostel. The present market was opened in 1981, after an older structure was damaged by fire in the 60s and merchants worked out of a warehouse for 16 years or so. The fire-damaged market was not the original, there have been several over the years, dating all the way back to the 1600s when the town was founded.

At any rate, the current market specializes in touristy stuff on the ground floor, with some restaurants and other shops (hair salons, other specialty stores) up top. I found it to be mostly more of the same old same old that is available in the other tourist-oriented markets I've been to so far. For those of you planing a trip, I did see that lapis is a bit less expensive here, as were some textiles. The really big deal here is all things papaya, except for fresh papaya! Apparently the papaya here is a certain type the does well candied, dried, jarred, juiced and turned into syrup, but isn't good eaten fresh.

In the afternoon, I had lunch with Professora Nidia on campus, and then went and did a presentation in her class that went very well. Afterwards, I met a number of other professors for tea, and we discussed some of the differences between our universities. Great students, lovely school, and warm professors!

Tour of La Serena

On Friday the 11th we had a lovely tour of La Serena, hosted by Julio and Hugo, another Chilean Fulbrigher who spent time in the US. Joel enjoyed some exercise equipment:

I enjoyed the view over to Coquimbo, the port town that is about 10 minutes away from La Serena:
I believe Steve has some pictures on his blog that include both Julio and Hugo, that Joel took, using Steven's camera.

Part of our tour included going up the hill to campus, so that Steve, Joel and Sarah could appreciate the great view from up there. I was intrigued with what a group of students were doing:
Turns out there were 1st year architecture students, displaying their weekly assignment. Each week, they are required to do 50 sketch around town, to help them develop an understanding of perspective, and how drawings of buildings fill space. 

Friday night workshops

Friday evening, I went back to campus to present two more workshops, in Professoras Marian and Claudia's classes. Once again, I really enjoyed working with the students, and was treated so kindly by everyone. There was even a break with coffee, tea, juice and cake served between the two classes. It seems there are always coffee breaks for this Friday evening class, but because I was there, we had cake instead of cookies.

And to continue on the food theme, Marian and Claudia took me out for a late and very yummy dinner after class. We've already started talking about the possibility of me coming back for some more workshops in June, and I'd love to come-I had a great time.

Elqui Valley Tour

I'll let Steve tell you all about the excellent tour we took of the Elqui Valley on April 11th. (Remember, his blog link is on the left). I did get this shot of Steve in a little bakery we went to, in a tiny village. He is adding our info to that of all the other visitors who have stopped there:

The Hostel

A quick word about where we stayed. Our hostel, Terra Diguita, was beautiful, and fairly quiet except for the church bells that rang at about 7:40, 7:50 and 8 a.m. each day (but oddly not on Sunday). I did find the place to be COLD as other visitors reported. And while the garden was beautiful, going down stairs and over uneven surfaces at night to go to the bathroom (no, not in the GARDEN!), was not much fun.
Joel and I did enjoy Unsa, the hostel cat very much:

On the Road Again

And a few picts from the journey home. Since we were in the better section of the bus, we got a meal. Honestly, it was kind of gross:
But we ate it anyway:
Such a nice trip! I hope I do have the chance to go back in June.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Santiago or bust

On my way to Santiago this morning for  a long weekend with my friend Sarah. The guys say they'll miss me, but I suspect it is going to be a baseball kind of weekend for them. Oh, and maybe Cosmos. Great show, I hope all of you are watching Neil Degrasse Tyson's remake of the Sagan classic.

A couple of pictures to tide you over:

Some pretty flowers

Sarah and Joel:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Going north to La Serena

A welcome invitation

I was asked to go to La Serena by a Chilean Fulbrighter, Sr. Julio Del Transito Parada Pizarro, about a month ago, to present some workshops in classes there. I was particularly excited by this, not only for the chance to talk with other professors to see how they do things, but also because this was the area I'd wanted to go to visit in Chile. The Coquimbo and Elqui Valleys are known for their beauty, pisco production, star gazing, and as we were to discover, papaya and hippie types.

Steve and Joel, at the beginning of the trip, before we 
all got overheated. Luckily, Tur-Bus does provide 
roadside assistance. We stopped for about 20 minutes
at one point, for a service guy who arrived in his Tur-Bus
van to fix the AC.

A little store, somewhere on the trip...A 7 hour trip, by the way. 
But our extra special "cama" (bed) seats were great. They did not
recline all the way into a bed position, but there were quite nice, and at
three across in the downstairs of our double decker bus, very roomy.

                                                      A rather suggestive underwear shop. Adds and posters are just as sexually charged here as they are in the US.              

The views during the trip were just spectacular. I really enjoyed it, and didn't find things to be particularly tiresome. Poor Joel did, and I think it got to Steve too, after a while. When I wasn't busy looking out the window,  I had my knitting, kindle, and papers to grade. 

Steve and I agreed that much of the scenery reminded us of the southwest. There were places that looked very much like New Mexico, Arizona and west Texas.
When we arrived, Sr. Julio was at the bus station to take us to our hostel. That evening, Sra. Sandra, and her husband, Sr. Elvis arrived to take me out to a wonderful dinner, at a very elegant hotel. 9 p.m. is VERY late for me to eat, and I was tired from the trip, and actually felt a little ill, so I did not eat much. I did take a doggy bag back to the hostel. And NO, I did not feed that wonderful swordfish to a street dog-Steve and Joel got to eat it the next day.

Back to work

Since we are off of school all week here at PUCV, I´m working to catch up but plan on going to Santiago tomorrow for a couple of days with Sarah, my teacher/artist friend I met here. More on La Serena later, but I must get back to work!

Fire Update

As to the fire, ONEMI reported last night 12,500 are homeless, 2,900 homes destroyed, with 1,200 people in shelters. The police and navy are removing debris, the army is coordinating supplies and other logistics, and the air force is in charge of shelters (I think I have that right). I heard from one of my students, who had to evacuate, that she, her family and home are all safe, but that they went to Santiago to stay with a cousin. The woman who has the cafeteria contract at Joel´s school is ok, but her parents lost their house. 
!Fuerza Valpo!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Valparaíso Fire Update

Today the weather is much better for fighting fires: cool and misty, with little wind. The fires are under control, with many having been extinguished, or simply burnt out. Even so, one official was quoted as saying it could take 20 days before everything is out.

The latest report from, posted last night stated that 2,300 homes were lost, 15 people have died and approximately 11,000 have been evacuated. The students on my campus voted to cancel classes for this entire week, in order to help in the relief efforts.

For me, this seems very unusual, coming from the US, where relief is first organized before people are allowed to move into an effected area. Here, everyone jumps in right away, rushing to the scene to help.
There are massive drives to collect food, toiletries, school supplies, diapers etc. Every organization is collecting things, all apartments, neighborhoods and schools. People are getting together to assist the firefighters as well. For instance, the family of one of my colleagues is making food tomorrow to deliver to the firefighters. I am hoping to help, but we STILL need to get Steve and Joel´s cedulas fixed, and that must be done tomorrow.

Here is a link from, which has a map of where there are, or have been fires in Valpo:

Monday, April 14, 2014

A dry country

I have been quite busy this past week, and thus, no posts. I'll start with a post about what is going on right now with the fire in Valpo, then I'll catch up with a later entry about our trip to La Serena.

Last Tuesday, April 8th the day before we left on our trip, we saw this from our apartment:
It was a brush fire to the east of us, which was quickly contained. Last January Valpo had a big fire which burned a lot of houses, but that was nothing like what started over this past weekend. As of this morning, over 2000 houses burned and 12 people are dead. We live several miles from the fire(s), and we can see the smoke in Viña del Mar where we live. There is not much chance of this coming our way due to the prevailing winds, terrain and construction differences between our area and where the fire is located. My university is closed today-the main campus in Valpo is being used as a staging area for food collection. I do not work there, my campus is in Viña, but all campuses are closed.

Chile has been suffering from a drought for the past 5 years, and as a result trees and other vegetation are dead, dying or very dry. Combine this with high wind, close packed wood and plaster houses, steep hills, no fire hydrants and you have a disaster. Everyone is praying that this year will, indeed, be an El Niño year. Indications are it will be a strong one, which will bring lots of rain which is desperately needed.

For the best information on this, and other extreme events in Chile, you should go to, the web page for Chile's national disaster agency (similar to FEMA in the US). This is the place I go for earthquake updates, and the like. If you use Google Chrome as your web browser, you can click on the translate button for a fair translation.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Give me your fleas!

Fleas are a problem here. Steve and I have discussed how we've had to wash and fumigate everything twice in the apartment in previous posts. Now we just spray once a week with specially formulated Raid for pulgas. So you would think I'd discourage the type of behavior you see below. Except that poor Joel is having cat withdrawal. So now we go visit "Isis Light" as we call this friendly girl (after our cat Isis at home), once a week. Joel then comes home and removes all his clothes so they can be washed.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Cédula Purgatory

As I lay in bed this morning, summoning up the will to throw back the covers and let cold air in, the bed began to rock gently. I think the earthquake gods were warning me of a rough day to come. (This particular quake was about 260 k NW of us, and was a 5.4).

I planned on spending the day on a few errands, but the bulk of it was intended for some intensive prep work for the 3 lectures I've been invited to do next week at the University of La Serena. I suggested to Steve we stop and retrieve our cédulas, which we'd spent hours on over a month ago. What's a cédula you ask? It is an identity card. Here's a visual for you. No, ours are not in this bunch.

A Little Background

Up until March of this year, if a tourist entered Chile,  s/he paid a big fat "reciprocity fee." Citizens of certain countries paid, because Chileans needed to pay to enter those countries. Well, since that fee was 160 each, we opted for the route of getting special visas which were free to Fulbrighters and their families. This turned out to be a lot of work, from the 6 hours I spent one Saturday last year scanning and uploading documents to going to the Chilean Consulate in January to formalize things in person. But, the added bonus of this visa was we would not have to leave the county after 3 months in order to come back in to renew as tourists had to. I didn't fancy a long, long bus ride over the Andes in winter to Argentina to renew the regular tourist visas. I thought all my visa work was time consuming, foolish, foolish me. Read on, sweet reader, read on.

And then...

The US added Chile to the visa waiver program, and the damn reciprocity fee was dropped. March 1st. Just days after we entered the country. Oh, and now you can renew the 3 month tourist visa in Chile for 100 bucks, I've heard (please, if you are traveling to Chile and reading this CHECK to find out what applies to you, as requirements change!) so no more going over to Argentina for a re-entry renewal anymore either.

So, you bored yet?

Back to today. We'd taken all required docs to the Civil Registry office at the end of February. Steve and I were able to turn our stuff in, get our fingers scanned etc., but Joel and I had to come back another day. Turned out he needed a set of my documents because he is considered my dependent. Blah, blah, blah. Fast forward to today. We arrive at the Civil Registry office should read Steve's blog for what transpired next. Remember, his link is to the left. After leaving very, very frustrated, I briefly contemplated not doing anything. This was a passing fancy-no way did I want to show up at the airport without required documents.

On to the International Police

Where I found the office I wanted was closed for lunch. It takes about 20-30 minutes to get there, so you can imagine my frustration. I felt like crying, but I didn't. I decided to shake it off-I mean, it was a beautiful, warm sunny day, I know that people get through these hoops all the time...On the way back to the metro, I stopped at a corner store to get some of the photo copies I needed (multiple copies of various pages of my passport). I vented a bit to the nice lady making my copies. She then refused to let me pay, saying she wanted me to have a good impression of Chile. Then I DID get tears in my eyes!

Home and back

Eventually I went home, did a little work, then made the trip back to the PDI. Everything was fixed for free! I actually suspect that the police had screwed this up, something about Steve's and Joel's document dates of entry having to match my dates because they are my official dependents...even though they didn't enter the country with me. Such a mystery this is.

On my way back, I tried to stop by the corner store again, because I'd gotten a small gift for the Nice Xerox Lady, but it was closed. Hopped a bus, started home and WHAM! An SUV hit us. Don't worry no one was hurt. Seriously, at this point I was cracking up. What a crazy day!
The vehicles pulled over. We waited a bit. Gestures were made, phones came out. Everyone got off the bus when they saw another micro pull up about 1/2 a block away. I stood on the sidewalk and watched, since no way did I want to try to smash onto the other very full bus with the rest of the passengers. Suddenly, the driver of my bus waved his passengers to return, everyone ran back from bus number two, we boarded again and even sat in our original seats.

So for those of you imagining that my life is full of adventures here, you are right! Just not the kind of adventures you think. I now have to cancel class Monday morning and return to the Civil Registry again. Wish me luck, I apparently do need it!

oh, and just as I was about to post this, we got a really good shake-I checked the Chile seismology site (ONEMI), and it was listed as a V on the intensity scale. (Moderate, not damage). Not Richter scale up yet, but I'm guessing about a 5.6 or so.


It was a 5.8 according to ONEMI, centered about and hour and 15 minutes away. USGS said 5.4, but I tend to go with Chile's reporting service. They are closer, and presumably more accurate

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Iquique Earthquake and Tsunami Alert, April 1 2014

Thank you to everyone who has asked about how we are doing after hearing about the very strong earthquake 99 kilometers off the coast of northern Chile last night. It registered as 8.2, and was felt over a wide area, including in La Paz, Bolivia. We did not feel it, as we are 1,740 kilometres, or 1, 081 miles away.
Screen shot form USGS, showing the 36 quakes that have happened in the last 24 hours near Iquique:
The first we knew about this was around 9:20 p.m. or so, when we heard an unusual number of fire and police sirens and public announcements out on the street. I said to Steve "Hey, there is something going on", and he checked out the window, but couldn't see anything. We figured there was some sort of ruckus on Alvarez, the street we live on. At the same time, I went online to check my email once more before shutting down before bed, and saw several alerts from the USGS earthquake and tsunami alert service I subscribe to.

When we saw how big the quake was, and that a tsunami warning had been issued, I sent an email which some of you got, letting you know we were fine. At the same time, the inter-building phone rang, and we were told to go to the 25th floor, where there is a roof deck. So we got Joel up, I grabbed our emergency bag, a blanket and my computer, and off we went. It was a beautiful night, clear and fairly warm, as we gathered with other folks from lower floors to wait and see what would happen.

After watching the view and activity on the street for a while, I went down to the 15th floor where Tim, another Fulbrighter and his girlfriend Melanie live. They invited us in, and we spend about 45 minutes with them, watching reports and looking online to find out what was going on. We went back downstairs around 10:30 when it became clear that the tsunami was very small in our area, and was confined to the beach.

We are about 10 blocks away from the ocean, and Alvarez slopes up to where our building is (Alvarez, 132, if you want to google map it) Our place is on the 4th floor, which is actually above where water can reach. I believed I discussed my reasons for choosing this area in a previous post: It is close to Joel's school and at the very edge of the inundation zone, where water levels would reach about a 3 feet if there were a large tsunami.

Classes were suspended for today everywhere along the coast, including my university and Joel's school. This may seem strange, as the threat of a tsunami is over. But from what I understand, this was done soon after the warnings, when people were ordered to evacuate. At that point, not much was known as to the size of the tsunami, so better to simply cancel and wait and see.

So this morning, we went off the the fish dock, as we'd planned, with Joel in tow. We suspected the local fishermen would not have been out, since they fish at night and bring their catch in early in the morning. This did prove to be the case, everything was very quiet at Portales today. There was one merchant open, and we bought some of the fish that is trucked in daily from other places. The highlight of the trip was taking the fish heads and guts after our fish were cleaned for us, and feeding them to the sea lions that were in the ocean under the dock. I've heard that on a typical day, barrels of fish guts go over the edge of the pier. No wonder the sea lions hang out there! Take a look at Steve's blog link later, as he got some pictures of the mini feeding frenzy we created.

So, all in all, the whole country is breathing a huge sigh of relief. If the quake had been about 30 miles closer, we would have been dealing with a terrible tragedy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Colectivo Etiquette

I will admit, the public transportation system here intimidated me at first. Not the metro systems in Santiago or the much smaller one that runs through Valpo and Viña. They are like subway systems in many other cities I've visited. What made me nervous was figuring out how to take the micros and colectivos.

If you look directly behind Joel's head, you'll see a colectivo. This is a shared taxi with a fixed route, and along with micos (small buses, as for example the orange one above), are my primary means of transportation here in town. 

What you need to know:
1. There are no route maps. This is what was intimidating to me at first. How the heck was I to figure this out??? What you should do is ask someone where you work what number you should take. You also need to ask where to get the car, since the route is fixed.

Route numbers are on the thingy clamped on top of the car. I take numbers 31, 33 or 119 from the corner of Traslaviaña and Alvarez, which is 2 blocks from my apartment. I have no idea where these numbers originate, or where they end up. All I know is all three go by the feria, through town, then up the hill and past the front gates of my campus.

2. Stick out you hand to get the driver's attention. I've noticed several styles for this gesture: some use a very assertive index finger high in the air, some point straight out towards the street. Colectivo drivers are alert-they compete with each other for passengers, so if there is space, they will flash their lights and stop. Sometimes they are going so fast they stop beyond you, so you may have to jog over to the car.

3. The front seat is the best seat. The seat belt always works in the front seat, even in the older, creaky cars I've been in. And it is really a good idea to use one if at all possible. Seat belts in the back are generally buried under the cushion, or you can't get to them if you are in the middle or the last person in. It can be a tight fit in back with 3 people, and hands digging around near bottoms would be a serious breech of etiquette.

4. Close the door fast and greet the driver. Everyone says buenas dias/tardes (or buen dia here in Chile), hola, etc. Be polite!

5. State your destination, then hand the driver your money. I often hold off on the money bit until we've come to a stop light. Currently, it costs 500 CPL for me to go up to campus, about a 10 minute ride, but coming home I'm sometimes charged more for some reason. And no, not because I'm a gringa. At a certain point, I reach another "zone," explained one driver. So sometimes I get off 2 blocks sooner, to keep the price the same. 

6. Hold on! Time is money, so drivers specialize in quick starts, fast stops, pedal to the metal on straight aways and very sharp, jerky turns. It also helps to use those core muscles, so you won't fall onto the person beside you. I also find that keeping my eyes closed helps too. I'm serious, I really do this.

7. Remind the driver as you near your destination that you want to get out by saying aqui por favor. He (I've never seen a female chofer) will pull over, often at a bus stop. 

8. ALWAYS exit from the back seat on the right hand side of the car. I got out on the left once, and got yelled at. No wonder: drivers do not want another colectivo to whip by and take that door off. Of course, this means everyone in the back has to get out if someone on the far left is exiting.

9. Remember to say gracias señor upon exiting.

And if you are on foot, NEVER cross against the light, even if you see people here doing it. Drivers with the right of way simply do not slow down.  This goes for micros and regular taxis too. I've not seen someone hit, but things have gotten close sometimes. Colectivo drivers obey red lights and stop signs, but they will rocket away as soon as a light turns green. You do not want to get in their way!