Monday, June 30, 2014

Go Dog Go!

The dogs one sees on the streets of Chile really do stand out to those of us from places that keep our stray animals out of sight. I thought I'd do one more dog post, to introduce you to a few new pooches, and revisit some of the many dogs I've seen. I'll start with my first dog picture, taken from the bus as I pulled into Viña back in February. I have since walked past many pet food stores, and all have large, open bins of food. I'm amazed that dogs and cats on the street don't just come jump into the bins and start eating.
Dogs in Chile sometimes seem to function as "greeters." Maybe they just want some human companionship? Here's one at the artisan fair I went to in Quinta Vergara park early in my stay. Another walked with us in Valpo one day for about 10 blocks, from the Metro to a park.
But none of the greeter dogs was more memorable then the one that met us on the platform of El Salto metro station, then walked with us to the Botanical garden.
This was a little over 3 kilometers (see map below), and took us about an hour. What a dedicated dog!
And then there was that walk with Uncle Rick, when we had an entire entourage with us down the length of Alvarez, all the way to the beach.

Joel and Steve's first Street dog, on their first day in Santiago. Ah, it was nice and warm then!
The Wizard of Oz dog(s), down the street from Joel's school. It, along with its twin, kept an eye on everyone who passed by, via their little cut-out above the green garage-door gate. I just saw both of them today, on my way up to St. Paul's for the last time, to drop some things off at the school for the next Fulbrighter's children who will be attending there next semester.

One of the few smaller dogs we saw regularly. I think this one belonged to a shop owner.
Of course, not all dogs (or cats) that we encountered roamed the street. Many people keep dogs for guard duty, or simply because they love their pets. This friendly puppy wanted us to give it some attention, so Joel obliged.
The art of begging.
Remember this mural? Watch out for the CIA, kiltro!
Right outside our building, the bus stop dogs on a sunny day, soaking up some rays.

Joel and friend.
Santa Lucia, my favorite park in Santiago had its share of canine visitors. The one below was the fattest dog I've seen just about anywhere. When it got up, it waddled! The others were encountered all over the park, including at the top of a very high lookout point that required going up about 140 stairs.

How to stay dry in the rain? Hang out on a bus stop bench. People waiting that morning for the bus just left this one alone.
Dogs really DO use the crosswalks here. I'd heard about it, read about it, and saw it on multiple occasions:
Another look at Paws-in-the-Street dog, one of our favorites who lives right outside our apartment:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

¡Bravo, La Roja!

Despite tremendous fan enthusiasm, including this vendor at the Avenida Argentina market in Valpo on Saturday...
...we are all very sad in Chile because Brazil won the knock-out round of the World Cup. But what a game! The score was tied at 1-1, and so 2 15 minute over-time periods were played. For those of you who do not follow futbol, this means 120 minutes (plus some extra time for game delays) of play. Can you imagine running in the heat for that long? With no change in the score, the game was decided with penalty kicks...and Brazil got one more than Chile.
It was really great while it lasted, and so much fun to be here to celebrate the wins.

Art, Art and more Valpariaiso Art

I've shared some of the terrific murals you can find in Valpo, but not enough. This is one of the things that makes the city so interesting: You never know what is around the corner! So here are some more, from Cerro Alegre (Happy Hill).
This mural was down a tiny little passage way, and was HUGE!

Perhaps an artist in training did this?
 I went around a corner, and saw the little floating person tucked into a corner. Later, when going down the hill via a set of loooong steps, I found what else? An ascensor:

Notice the metal siding- many of the older buildings in Valparaíso have this type of corrugated siding. Some, like this one, have been kept in really good shape. There was a little store on the first floor, and apartments above.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A great party!

After our last day of classes, my advanced English students came over to the apartment in the evening, and had a party for me. While I knew they were going to do this, I didn't know how sneaky they had been, with their "innocent" questions over the last couple of weeks. I remember someone asking me my favorite kind of cake, and the place I got it. Or the day when everyone was in class and someone said "hey, let's take a class picture!" I asked for the picture, but it wasn't emailed to me...because my students had plans.
 Paola and Maryorie:
 Genoveva and Raúl, two of my most serious students:
 Vania, Daniela, Felipe M. and Ignacio:
 Valeria, who took most of the pictures, and Connie, who everyone said was the party master-mind:
One of the best things about traveling-well, more than traveling, having the chance to live in different places is the people you meet. The worst thing is leaving them. I tend to get pretty emotional about good-byes, so this last week of classes has been hard for me. I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to work with my two groups of students, and feel very close to them. So the distance that will be between us seems very difficult indeed. But we live in wonderful times: we can Skype, send emails and there is always the chance of meeting again. I fully expect I WILL be lucky enough to see these great people again.
In addition to bringing all the food (and my cake!), the students gave me a framed enlargement of the picture they took. They also gave me a souvenir book with Wulff Castle on the front, and each wrote something to me in it. I had to wait until after everyone left to read it, because I didn't want to embarrass myself. As it was, I was pretty teary-eyed, even behind my smiles.
Felipe M., Ignacio and Angie:           Daniela, Felipe M., Ignacio, Angie and Valeria:
(Thanks, Angie, for your personal gift!)
 Vania, Paola, Maryorie and Conne:

 Thank you, everyone, for the wonderful party! But mostly, thank you for being such great students, and making my time here as your teacher one of the most memorable times in my teaching career. I'm going to miss all of you very much.
Front row: Connie, Valeria (Ignacio behind her), Angie and Genoveva
Middle: Me, Vania, Maryorie, Paola, Carolina, Daniela
Back: Francisco R., Felipe M. and Raúl
Other folks in the class who couldn't come to the party, but who will be missed very much: Felipe V. Eduardo, Josefa, Francisco V., Javiera and Nicólas.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Yarn Stores in Viña del Mar

I am a knitter. And like most knitters, I have a stash of yarn, waiting to be made into sweaters, socks, baby, this is not my stash:
This is the interior of my favorite yarn store in Viña, on Arlegui street between Echevers and Quinta Streets, called Lana e Hilo Massu. If you google this, it gives you a different store on the other side of the street closer to Plaza Vergara which is not there any more. Within about half a mile of my apartment, there are 4 yarn stores that I've found. Who knows? there may be more-this is a knitting culture. Not only are there stores full of yarn, the yarn stores are full of customers. And guess what? All the yarn is behind the counter, which drives me crazy. This is the way all yarn stores are set up here, so the only way to pet the yarn was to ask for a skein to be handed to you.
I've stopped in Massu several times, and it is always swarming with people buying yarn, needles and buttons. This is the best out of the 4 stores due to the excellent variety of yarn carried here. It is also the only place where I've found pure alpaca yarn. When I travel, I always like to get yarn that is unusual, typical of the country, or difficult to get in the US. While I can buy alpaca yarn at home, it is easily twice as much.
I've also learned that alpaca raised in higher elevations (which is where they evolved) produces yarn with a sheen to it that can't be found in animals raised in lower elevations, like the US.
So here's what I bought to add to my Peoria stash. Hopefully, it won't be stashed too long. I got a lovely worsted weight yarn, enough for sweaters for me and Steve. The red (for me) and brown (for Steve) is 90% alpaca, 10% wool, and cost less than $6.00 per skein. The gray yarn is fine, 100% alpaca, that I purchased to supplement some yarn I brought from home, when I saw I wasn't going to have enough to finish a project I had with me. I doubled this yarn, and got a worsted weight that worked well with what I was knitting. I have enough left over to make a pair of socks from that yarn. (This cost about $4.00 a skein).

It isn't unusual for yarn to only be sold by grams here, you have to guess on the yardage. I didn't want to do this, so I measured off one of the balls of worsted yarn and found it was approximately 155 yards. That meant I needed to go back and get another all to be on the safe side for Steve's sweater. 

Here's the completed sweater I knit, with yarn I'd brought with me-notice where I added the gray alpaca to the sleeves. It looks really nice on me, but my selfies didn't work, so sorry, you get to see it flat.
I have a morning in Santiago before my flight, and if I need to get rid of the rest of my pesos, I'll be going to Veintiuno de Mayo (21 of May) street, where I've heard there are 5 or 6 yarn stores all in a row!