Monday, May 21, 2007


Being four dumn gringos (yes Anandha, you are a gringo) there was things we did not know we need to prepare for when we went to Valparaiso on the coast of Chile. One, we had no clue that the congress building is in Valparaiso and not Santiago. It was moved there by a dictator in the 1980s. Second, we did not know that the president was going to address the congress that weekend. Protesters gather each year during the address and hold annual riots.

Not knowing these two key points, we go to Valparaiso for the long weekend. On Monday, we left the hostel to get reservations at the bus station. The bus station happens to be across the street from the national congress building. Police blocked our path to the bus station. The police did not tell us that the bus station was closed or that there was an area for us to avoid. In fact, the police pointed us into the area where the protesters had gathered. We turned the corner and found ourselves in between protesters and four bus loads of riot police. When I heard the police chanting on one bus to prepare for the upcoming battle, I chose not to take any up close photos.

Finding nearly every business in the area closed, we ducked into a crummy, dirty restaurant. We chocked down some cookies and watched the president give her speech. Protesters interrupted her speech twice inside the congress building. After her speech, the news showed footage of the riot that broke out in the spot we had been. We missed it by 15 minutes.

I learned a few lessons. First, Chile's congress building is in Valparaiso. Second, the police of Chile do not give the best directions. Last, tear gas makes me sneeze.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Birthday and Good old Johnnie

I turned 21 in Australia and now I am turning 30 in Chile. The other IMBAs here in Santiago took me out for the big 3-0. First we went to a Thai restaurant called Etniko then went to a Merengue club. Then we finished a bottle of Johnnie Walker red label. A good way to say bye to my youth.

Click on picture to enlarge...


Friday, May 11, 2007

Exporting American Culture

Oh, the things we send outside the USA. They do have great wings though...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Santiago, Chile May 1, 2007 -- In the last 48 hours, I have been in four countries, thought three immigration checks, crossed over the equator and traveled over 7,000 miles. This is just the start of my trip. I have 109 days before I return to Columbia, SC for fall classes.

So far, Santiago has made a good impression on me. The city has a European feel to it. In comparison to the last four months in Mexico, this culture seems more purposeful and organized. In Mexico, people knew I was a gringo from a mile away. Here, I have already had a few people mistake me for Chilean (although as soon as I open my mouth people know otherwise). The people here have been very open and nice. They are more open to talking politics, particularly Iraq and Bush.

In more than one way, it reminds me of my stay in Edinburgh, Scotland. First, I am living with two guys in a small apartment. Second, the weather is about the same as Scotland (cool and cloudy). Last, I live in the smack dab center of Santiago. I have a strange feeling that this will be a good city for me.

Today is Mayday, so everything is closed and people are walking the street the communist flags. Tomorrow, Anand and I start work at SKM. Brendan will start work with Amigos de Arte.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Last night in Guadalajara

My last Michelada. When I was first introduced to a michelada, I thought it was a bad idea. You don't put stuff in beer. Now I wish I could get one in Chile.

How to make a Michelada:
  • A few drops of hot sauce, such as Valentina or Bufalo.
  • A few drops of Worcestershire sauce
  • A few drops of Maggi seasoning or soy sauce.
  • Squeeze a lime wedge (lemon wouldn't be strong nor sour enough).
  • Mix the ingredients in the glass.
  • Slowly add one 325 mL (12 Fl. oz.) Mexican beer (Sol or Corona).

Carlye! My house mate in Guadalajara. She and her crazy friends know of every party happening in Guadalajara.

Hilda and Fernando. The night I left Guadalajara happen to also be Fernando's birthday. His friends all gathered a trendy bar to celebrate. It is about 12:30 am when this picture was taken. My flight left at 6 am the next morning and I made it!