Monday, June 28, 2010

Waka Waka/Viva Chile/Getting Tear Gased/La Copa Mundial

I have never been in one place at one time with so many people rooting for the same goal (no pun intended...) But the past 4 Chilean games in the world cup have really solidified my Chilean pride. I diversified my viewing experiences, and watched the first game at home with my papá, the second in downtown on the lawn of La Moneda (the equivilent of the White House), the third with some homemade tacos and Chilean amigas at an apartment, and today's at a gringo bar with my gringo friends. All 4 had the same thing in common; the spirit of the Chilean people contagiously humming on the streets, through the television, from the heart, and into the air (cursi cursi). Crazy energy! Everyone in red, Chilean flags waving, cheering, yelling, jumping, paper pieces flying, celebrating!

After the first game at home, I decided to go celebrate super Chileno style and go to Plaza Italia near the center where the victory parties are always held. I went via metro, not expecting too much craziness at 10:30 in the morning, but when I stepped off the metro at my stop, I realized I was wrong (you saw that one coming!). My nose started burning, I realized everyone around with covering their noses and mouths with their jackets and scarves, and the entire station was in disorder. I assumed someone had left some sort of stink bomb in the metro, so I hurried with hundreds of other people to get above ground. But when I got out, the stinging got worse and what I saw was a chaotic amount of people running around, eyes dripping, banners sagging, and looking rather frazzled. The carabineros (the police), were all around with their helmet shields over their eyes and batons in hand, some on horseback, most on foot, attempting to control the crowd. I was all alone in the apocalypse, but I was fascinated. A tank looking vehicle drove about 200 feet from where I was and sprayed a gas something into the air, and that's when I realized: tear gas. I turned to walk the other direction and luckily met up with my friend, and like a good little girl, I went back into the metro and went home. El Fin.

Hm, terrible story. If you are easily made worried, stick with that version.

But here's the real deal: a good little adventurer, I wanted a better look at the source of the excitement. To be honest, even though carabiners were yelling at me to turn around and most people were running away, I wanted a peek at the madness' center. So I crossed the street with my friend to see the comotion first-hand. Luckily/unfortunately, we came too late to see the celebrating or anything substantial, just confetti on the ground and crowds of reporters on the sidewalk. When we walked by them, we saw a man that looked equivalent to a chief of police being interviewed by a civilian reporter. Seemed fairly calm at first, but as we approached more, a group started gathering around the two and the policeman began raising his voice. He got in the reporter's face and kept yelling and yelling as the others around him began yelling back in protest. And they were not nice words from either end. As the policeman stormed away, the people started laying down the real deal insults: "You can't hurt innocent people because we're celebrating!" "We have our freedom now, you can't control us by fear!" "This is no longer Pinochet's government!" Oh yes, they brought the Pinochet accusations, and it got real. From here, my better judgement switch turned on, and my friend and I bolted out of this potential war zone. Our nose and mouths still covered, we headed towards the nearby cafe where we planned on studying away the afternoon. This proved difficult however after we witnessed such madness and our lungs still burned, so we lashed out the situation among ourselves. If everyone was just celebrating, why did the carabineros drop the tear gas? Is it ok to hurt innocent people to control a crowd? Is it ok that the government interfere with a party if no one is getting hurt? Is pre-emptive semi-violent crowd control ok?

What we did conclude and what was confirmed after talking with out Chilean friends and families was that the authoritarian attitude of the Pinochet days in Chile is not dead. The Carabineros are the number 2 employer in all of Chile, that is to say that there are many thousands of policmen payed by national government. Piñera once used their forces to keep curfews and control protest (among other atrocities), President Bachelet used their forces in the south after the earthquake to control the looting and keep control, and now President Piñera used them after the world cup to stop the party. Of course the ties between the three are not necessarily making too deep of a statement as they are all very separate situations, however the carabineros are a widely used resource by the government. And the people accept this as part of life. As my papá said, "If the carabineros didn't do anything, the people would be partying all day, they would never leave! They had to break it up sometime."

Switching back to the mundial, the 2nd and 3rd games I also returned to the infamous Plaza Italia for the celebration, but those times I missed the tear gasing part. So much cheering, so much singing, so much happiness! The big street from downtown's heart all the way to Providencia's center (about 3 miles) was closed for celebration, and it is such an incredible feeling to be surrounded by an entire city cheering for their country. Again, crazy energy!

Today was the last game of the mundial and we lost to Brazil. It was a good fight though, and I mean, Brazil is Brazil, so I am proud we made it this far! You might be saying to yourself, "we?" And I say back yes, we. I am be proud to be an American, but I am also proud to be here when this adopted country of mine has overcome a lot of odds to come as far as they did in the ultimate super bowl.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Most Beautiful Day

After the rain on Wednesday came the most beautifully clear day I've experienced in all my time in Santiago. 

I feel a great kinship with the Andes now, as though they are a mountain range of my brothers. That's what I always say. The sun is my mother, the moon my lover, the sea my best friend, and the Andes my brothers.
One month.... 
a long time. 
a short time.
no time at all.

What a strange amount of time to have left in this place I have made home for what seems like a significant chunk of life. Carpe Diem while preparing for departure? 

I don't know how I feel about this 1 month I have left, but it is hard to think about.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Lo que es bueno siempre cuesta."
-El Temucano

"What is good always costs."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Five Month Chile

Colorful collages to commemorate my joyous four month anniversary with the country I love! 
Also, as far as the World Cup goes I have a cheer...
"Chi-Chi-Chi! Le-le-le! VIVA CHILE!"

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Rant on False Feminism

Cosmopolitan is NOT a feminist publication. The popular woman’s magazine that supposedly encourages women’s liberation does not at all promote liberty for women, but rather enslavement evermore to pleasing him. “How to get him to like you,” “How to please him in bed,” “How to be a great catch for him…” The liberal sex for personal feminine pleasure is completely undercoated with the theme of making him happy so that the woman can be considered sexy, beautiful, different, etc., to him. While debaters might claim that copious and free sexual encounters feed women's independence and progression by making her equal to men, the fact that this “progress” is continually all about him and using him to satisfy reveals that fundamentally, while women may be behaving more like for men for sexual satisfaction, the him still manifests a subordinate relationship. Forming an identity around being attractive for men and, much more, changing oneself to be attractive to men is exactly contrary to advancing away from male domination.
            Thus, while Cosmo features articles boasting exerting sexual control over men, the fact that it is still about men proves that part of what Cosmo considers constitutes being a powerful woman is actually a woman that exists to please men sexually. For a woman to be “liberated,” identity, self-esteem and happiness cannot be based on the man but on being comfortable with the reality of who she truly is aside form how men—or even other women—perceive her. A woman should want to please a man because she likes him and wants to express her love in this way, not because she feels pleasing a man puts her in the dominant position and needs this ego boost to sustain her sense of worth. Feminism states that women do not need a man to tell them that she is beautiful for that to be true. And while often Cosmo does not endorse or believe this idea, I believe all women should. 

Check out my soul mate Rachel's relfections on her visit to my adopted country! We had an amazing time together, and she shares her insights on things in her fresh way that reflect not only her experience but mine as well. Do take a look at her fabulous photos as well in the post:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

San Pedro de Atacama

Whenever you come to a new place, encounter a new situation, even meet a new person, there is a natural tendancy to relate what you are seeing to what you have seen in the past. The Andes mountains look similar to my Arizona McDowells, the Providencia barrio reminds me of LA, my favorite bohemian beach town is very San Francisco...

But when I came upon the deserts and sights of San Pedro de Atacama, I was at loss for anything in my past to compare them to. They are absolutely so unique, it is difficult to even begin to find a reference point. The earth is absolutely screaming the beauty of its creator. 

We saw the largest and only outdoor copper mine, biked and hiked to sand dunes, mountains and cliffs, bused through flatlands to see the flamingos and salt deposits of Atacama, and stayed in the quaint pueblo of San Pedro.