Friday, May 30, 2014

Meet My Students

So, now that I've been teaching at PUCV for a while, I thought it long overdue to show you my great students! They kindly consented to let me put pictures of them up online. In the first 4 pictures they are working on a small-group activity in class earlier in the semester. I know it was on a Wednesday, because of the room-I meet with this class 5 times a week, in a different classroom each time. In addition to being really nice, smart people, they are gorgeous too, don't you think?

Last week we went outside so the students could each produce a piece of artwork (they did rubbings, AKA frottage). The unit we are currently working on is based on modern art-we started it with each student selecting an artist to research and write a biography about and do a presentation of their artists. I got a brainstorm while listening to the presentation about Max Ernst, a surrealist artist who developed frottage. I thought the next thing we should do was to do something artistic, and rubbings can allow anyone to do that. There was some resistance at first, because so many of us think we aren't artistically inclined. But most of the students' changed their minds, and found they enjoyed doing this activity. They produced some really great pieces, too-I wish I could show them to you.

 After the art came some writing-each student wrote about her or his piece, then they selected one of their peers' work to write about. Then I got food poisoning, and had to cancel class for two days. We'll continue with this unit next week before moving on to our last one, which will be about the environment.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Parque Nacional la Campana

Last Friday, when Steve's brother Rick was here we went to a national park, La Campana which is about 56 k (38 miles) east of us. We took the Valparaíso Metro from our front door in Viña out to the end of the line in Limache (about 32 k). The Metro is really a light rail for most of its length, so it was quite a nice trip being able to see some of the towns and scenery east of Viña.
Once in Limache we took a colectivo (1,5000 CLP each) out to the park, passing through Olmué. Darwin climbed Campana peak on his second voyage of the HMS Beagle (here's to Hoover, our little beagle back in Peoria!). The park was established in 1967, and was named a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1984.
What I found so interesting about the park were the very distinct micro climates there. Some slopes we climbed (we did not go to the peak, that is an all-day affair) were forested and others were desert-like.

 It was quite cool and damp on the first part of our hike, and we were in the shade for much of the time. I wonder if anything lives in this hollow tree?
 Some interesting stuff that looked like small bamboo, which we saw quite a lot of:
After about an hour of the very chilly, shaded forest, I was happy to move over to the sunny side of the park...

...and head up the hill opposite the forested one, for some warmth. All of us shed layers as we went-the difference in temperature was quite great between the two hillsides.

 This shot shows both the forested and the desert hills we hiked up.
Below, the guys, Joel, Steve and Rick after checking out an old mine (which was sealed just slightly beyond the entrance). The other mine, just around the corner only had a low wooden fence across it. We were good, and did not climb over the fence to investigate, although it could have been done with ease.

On the way home, we walked out of the park, down a long hill, and kept going and going and going...until the micro (below) picked us up after about 30 minutes. It took us all the way back to Limache, where we had a nice lunch before getting back on the Metro.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dia del Patrimonio, part II

I left off yesterday with Joel's purchase of cotton candy. This kept him occupied while we waited in a long line to enter the grounds of the Palacio Presidencial.
 Three Marxs':
 Looking back across the large, circular lawn/helicopter landing area towards the entrance gate. My pictures do not do the gardens justice-they were just lovely!
 In the President's office we found George Washington checking things out:
 I was impressed with the silver ink-well on the desk. I'm glad I don't have to polish it!
 My favorite room...warm, sunny (well, on this day anyway), and with a GREAT view of the entire coast. Here, you can see Valparaíso in the distance:
 Out back, some young folkloric dancers posing for a picture, and one of their admirers:
 Looking down from the Palacio's grounds to Wulff Castle, our next stop:
 I'd seen this apartment building before while walking around Cerro Castillo, but this time I had my camera, so I could get a picture of it as we headed downhill.
These dancers were performing at Wulff Castle, which was once a private residence, and is now the headquarters for the Heritage Unit of the Valparaíso region. They were doing traditional Spanish dances accompanied by Galician gaitas (Spanish bagpipes).

 We finished off our wonderful morning with lunch at the Cap Ducal, which I'd been wanting to go to since I saw it on my second day here. It is designed to look like a ship that has pulled up to shore. We enjoyed the food as well as the local residents outside our window.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Dia del Patrimonio, part I

Chile's Dia del Patrimonio (Heritage Day) gives people the chance to visit museums for free, enjoy parks and even get into buildings that are not usually open to the public. Lucky for us, several of these buildings are right in our neighborhood! So yesterday, May 25th, on a beautiful SUNNY Sunday, Steve, Joel, Rick and I went up Cerro Castillo to visit the Brunet Castle and the Presidential Palace.

Brunet Castle

Building began in 1923, and was finished in 1929-Brunet, who commissioned the house, sold it right before it was done and moved to the US. I wish I knew why, because this place is really lovely, and I sure would like to live there!
In 1974 it was given to the Carabineros of Chile (the national police force), and is used by the Valparaíso sector of this force for events. I'm curious as to why this building was given to the police, a year after the coup in 1973, in which the Carabineros this force is known for being above board and fair: people who think they can bribe a police officer here will end up being arrested. But the force did participate in the overthrow of Allende and were a part of the repression during the dictatorship, which ended in 1990.

 There were several life-size cut-outs of historical uniforms of the different armed forces as well as early Carabinero uniforms that preceded the modern force.

 The municipal band warms up:
 We didn't stay for the band, since they were supposed to start at 10:30, but the above picture was taken at 10:40. Instead, we went and stood in a long line for the Presidential Palace, right down the street. We spotted a cotton candy vendor, selling his wares from a foot-operated centrifuge. Joel was interested.
 Another satisfied customer:
 And did you know that cotton candy was invented by a dentist named William Morrison?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Casa de las Guaguas

One of my favorite words in Chilean Spanish is guagua (pronounced wa-wa), the word for baby. Down the street and around the corner is Beautiful Baby, a 'house of babies' that sells everything you need for your little bundle of joy. When we lived in Calexico CA quite a few years back, one of our favorite store signs was Marteli's for Babies and Furniture. Bebelindo sells furniture for sure, but it does not seem to sell babies.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

To market to market to buy a fat bunch of flowers

Anyone want to guess how much last week's feria shopping cost?

A large bunch of flowers, 12 eggs, 1 coconut, 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) avocado, 1/3 kilo pickles, 3 summer squash, 3 leeks, 6 artichokes, 1 1/2 kilos pears, 1 kilo tomatoes, 1 1/4 kilos bananas
$9,800 CLP (yes, the same symbol we use in the US is used here for money) = $17.79 US
In the US, the flowers would be about $15.00 (here they are under 4 dollars).

I made a great potato leek soup (which will be repeated next week I think); the artichokes went into a yummy chunky tomato sauce last night. The coconut was a gift for my colleague Monica, who is pregnant and craving them. Everything except some pears and two avocados, a few pickles (and the flowers) have been eaten.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Celebrating Batalla de Iquiuqe

A Mid-Week Holiday

Today is a national holiday, so I got to stay home and write a blog post! (And do some grading later, of course). Rather than have me try to explain the Battle of Iquiqui, here is the link to Wikipedia's entry:

Welcome to Viña, Uncle Rick!

Steve's eldest brother arrived yesterday, and the two of them got right down to business: Watching a Cardinal's game, and drinking beer:
We are not sure, but we think Rick brought the rain. It started yesterday evening, and got quite heavy off and on through the night. Here's a picture from this morning, of a newly washed Alvarez street:

 Paws in the Street Dog

I have been wondering what the dogs do, when the rainy season arrives. Paws in the Street Dog (see previous post for why this dog is named), who lives outside our building takes advantage of the bus shelter:
 We also gave it (not sure of gender, haven't looked yet) some bread for its breakfast in bed:

A Walk Down to the Beach

So we headed down to show Uncle Rick the coast, taking advantage of a break in the rain. Here is a typical parking spot, on the wide sidewalk. Since there really is no place to park in front of businesses and apartments along Alvarez, this is the solution when you are dropping off or picking up something.

We had a dog entourage on the way to the beach. These guys started following us because I made sympathetic noises at them, and Rick started dropping pieces of a roll he'd reserved from his breakfast at the hotel. They stayed with us all the way to the beach, and we picked up several more on the way. A couple dropped out, 2 more joined in, and we had a nice escort of 6 dogs for the kilometer or so walk. 
Nearing the beach, they spotted another dog and chased it rather aggressively, and we thought we'd seen the last of them. Not so: they reappeared and continued following on our way to the Viña Flower Clock. Steve got some pictures of them at the clock, which will appear on his blog soon.
Dogs here don't seem to like motorcycles-this pack rushed out into the street to chase two motorcycle policemen (we've seen this before). They also went after a military guy, dressed in fatigues, when we were down by the clock. He ended up kicking at them, and another man ran up and yelled at the dogs. I'd never seen dogs do this to anyone before (other than the dog that jumped up on me, and nipped at me on Easter Island one morning). And lest you think this is because they don't like the police, this isn't the case-the first 4 dogs to join us on our walk had been hunkered down around a police office who was stationed on a corner on Alvarez.

Down by the Water

The sky and surf were just beautiful today. Too bad my little camera didn't capture the group of  about 20 people in wet suits, who were swimming very far out into the rough water.