Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Stormy weather

This weekend, Santiago was showered. Between Friday night and Sunday morning, one third of the annual rain quota had been filled (121 mm). And it kept on raining.
But on Monday it cleared up nicely, and by sunset a most unusual light struck the view outside my office window.

(I could've done a panorama shot but it didn't occur to me at the time, sorry!)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The best ventilated car in Santiago

Imagine this guy´s luck! The side impact must´ve been really violent, even the roof is deformed.

People drive really bad here, I´m sad to say.
Once I was walking on a zebra crossing and a lady slowed down to let me pass. The guy behind her was so unprepared for this law abiding gesture that he had to screech to a halt. Then as he passed he insinuated it was My fault that an accident had almost occured!

It´s not uncommon to see people driving around in more or less wrecked cars.
But this is just ridiculous.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Sunny Sunday

Another lovely day in Buenos Aires!

What a feeling, to wake up and step out on the balcony to bask in the sun over Av. Belgrano, caressed by a gentle sea breeze. This is how a day is supposed to start.
Soon my argentinian friend Yamila came by, and we set off to explore Recoleta, which is about 20 blocks across town and the most fashionable locality to live in. We entered the cementary, which is an actual necropolis. The silence of the "streets" inside gave a slight wariness... And the mausoleums were nothing less than craftmens' accomplishments.
As if the ambience wasn't suggestive enough, we soon saw cats everywhere. Sleeping on top of marble monuments, appearing and quickly finding a new hideout, or just observing the people entering their domain. As silent as their landlords.
And there was Evita Perón's resting place, where Yamila explained some political history to me.

Next we continued along and found the green areas of the city. Lots of people were relaxing and having fun, and dogs were running around like there was no tomorrow. A great amount of rented boats floated in a lake, being rowed around more or less energetically by their load.
We eventually reached a large expo-hall, where livestock is normally assessed and bid on. At this occasion however, it was the Third Annual World Tango Championships. There were all kinds of Tango related items on sale. Tango shoes, hats, suits, music, books, etc. Tango milk. No, just kidding.

After a brief visit to San Telmo, which was especially windy this evening, we proceeded to the Teatro Gran Rex in the heart of the city, to enjoy a show by the Les Luthiers. It was called "Los Premios Mastropiero" (The Mastropiero Awards). I can't really describe this event, it was the first time I saw them live, and my eyes and ears were pinned to the stage the whole time. Probably the best stage show I've ever seen.

They're closing up the internet cafe, so no time for more words!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Some pictures from today

This Saturday has been just wonderful.

Short outline of the day:
Got up at 9 o'clock, (hey, my body-clock was only 8!) wandered about a bit until I found the breakfast place two blocks away. Then I strolled to Av. 9 de Julio, which must be one of the worlds broadest avenues, with maybe 7-8 lanes in both directions. Went to see some important buildings, and I also found a nice pedestrian street with a lot of commerce. I entered a mall with a cupol with painted celestial motifs. I wonder if Jesus would have approved. Check if you can see my reflection in the photo. Next I encountered the government building, Casa Rosada. It's pink.
Time for lunch, and thanks to recommendations from my colleague Eduardo I knew where to go. Pizzeria Los Inmortale. Wonderful food, but I realized a siesta was inevitable. To rest my feet I used the metro, or "Subte" as they call it, which is the oldest in South America. The first line was opened in 1913. The trains on this line are very old, with completely wooden furniture and panelling, light bulb illumination and manually opened doors. Some photos are available on this page.
Darkness prevailed when I set out again, and I didn't really have a clear idea of what I was going to do. This is how I like to get to know a place, by walking around and acting on impulse.
So it happened my eyes landed on Teatro Avenida, where "Lo mejor de la Zarzuela" ("The best of the Zarzuela", a zarzuela being a sort of Spanish musical). Buenos ires offers a great selection of musical shows and has several large theaters. So for more than two hours everything on stage was Spanish - the dances, the singing, the costumes and the pronounciation. Very nice indeed.

That's all I'm going to tell you for now!

Oh, and I bought tickets for Les Luthiers, for tomorrow night. Life is good.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Landed in Buenos Aires

That's right!
I've flown across the Andes to spend the weekend in the Argentinian capital.
I had made reservations at a hostel but the taxi driver adviced me to seek an alternative in a cleaner neighbourhood. I agreed to check out his recommendation and it proved to be quite nice, for just slightly more money and much more central.
I'm staying two blocks from Congress. After some strolling around I will probably go to bed, to be able to make an early start tomorrow morning, which comes one hour earlier than in Santiago.
If everything works out I will be able to post some pictures right here during the following days - so be sure to check!

Argentinians have a lovely dialect. And they are quite nice.

So long, for now!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Intolerable Beauty

Today the city woke up with the most beautiful spectacle it has to offer.
The mountains who are normally kept behind mists, standing as dark, nameless walls, had been given a new outfit during the night. It´s so incredibly beautiful it inspired me to write something about it here.

A royal court dressed up for a party,
this high society shines in white.
From head to toe,
with every facet of it´s folded hide,
disguised in powder,
in brilliance defying the skies.

Rulers of this place we never were,
silently they´ve made clear,
nothing more than a Christmas tree´s fir,
we are the subjects of whom they,
probably were never aware.

Celebrating it´s closest friends,
the sky has blessed the court,
the mountains rise and the sky descends,
leaving us down here,
feeling so short.

As admirers of this godly ball
it is only with our glance,
we follow every rise and fall,

... But wait, can you see?
The wind has asked the King to dance.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Another balding man

More tablet-testing...
Next time it will be a woman, I promise.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Saying goodbye to Arne

Last night the Swedish ambassador to Chile, Mr. Arne Rodin, took farewell of the Chilean diplomatic scene with a small get-together at his place. Patty (do visit her insightful and contemplative blog) invited me to come along, which I happily did remembering the great time we had there on the National Day of Sweden, June 6th. In the lobby, after greeting the ambassador and his wife, we were approached by waiters with a diversity of refreshments. I helped myself to some white wine, and made a mental note to keep an eye out for Snaps. You see, these opportunities are not to be taken lightly.
Our company comprised of Patty´s mom Ximena and our friends Paulina, Richard and Fredric. (Check out their blog, it´s hilarious (Swedish only))
At the peak of the evening some 300 people mingled in the
tent-covered patio. A pianist and a sax player competed with the soar of the crowd. Then the guests started withdrawing rapidly, apparently very common for this kind of official cocktails. However, we didn´t rush ourselves and ended up as the last attending guests, observed impatiently by the serving staff. The musicians didn´t seem to notice the party was over either, perhaps they enjoyed playing for fewer ears.
I don´t know if the Swedish government has appointed Arne´s successor, but I think it´s worth a try to send in my CV...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Almost like drawing on paper

(The following content can be perceived as nerdy to some viewers, caution is advised for whom it may concern.)

Yes! I finally received a graphics tablet at work.
It´s so much easier to draw something on the computer when you´re allowed to do it with a pen. Things have really improved since I started with DRAW for our IBM/PC Popular 500 (no HD, 512 kb RAM) in the mid 80´s. Back then you were constrained to using the arrow keys. Just imagine what a technical barrier you had between yourself and the computer image. When the mouse came it seemed to me as the perfect input device - "It´s just like drawing by hand!" But of course, it was flawed. The mouse is steered, and doesn´t take advantage of the fine manipulations your fingers are capable of, but lets them snooze on the plastic top until something more exciting happens. Are they bored, or what?! Maybe that´s why they want to pick your nose everytime you sit by the computer... As fascinating as this might be, let´s just stop and hope everyone hasn´t left the blog already. I inaugurated the tablet by creating this nice man in Corel Painter 2. If time permits, I might add some more stuff I drew later on.