Etcetera, and Such

The last few months have been a bit crazy, which would be an excellent excuse to account for my lack of blogging, but the truth lies somewhere between inertia, laziness and malaise, though I’m only about 2/3 confident about the definitions of 2/3 of those words, so who really knows?

School is long over, though I haven’t the slightest idea how I fared, considering the generally disorganized nature of the University of Chile. I legitimately really enjoyed each of my classes in their own way, and learned a lot, but I find myself complaining about the dysfunctional nature of its administration and habits of its faculty more than lauding the classes, which is too bad, but it’s interesting that that’s really what stuck with me. I’ll do my best in the future to acknowledge the good with the bad the next time an anecdotal discussion of the comparative merits of Latin American public higher education comes up which, knowing the crowd I tend to run with, will probably be pretty soon.

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Making Finger on a Big Little Island

Sorry for the oddly timed updates, Internet access has proven to be scarce in this part of the world as I’ve been continuing traveling in the south; my friend Jenà left for a few weeks of sun, family and a bounty of Mexican food.

Our second day on the archipelago of Chiloé was one of the more amazing and memorable of my travels. We left Ancud after sleeping in later than we should have, vowing to visit the town of Degañ and Quemchi in the day, with plans to continue traveling south on the island over the next few days. People we’d been talking to throughout the island had been telling us about the ease of hitchhiking throughout Chiloé, owing to the relative proximity of everything on the island, as well as the friendly nature of the islanders. It was easy and utterly safe, they said, to “hacer dedo” (literally make/do finger) throughout Chiloé.

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And the winner is…

Piñera: 44.03%
Frei: 29.62%
Enríquez-Ominami: 20.12%
Arrate: 6.21%

Whatever, close enough.

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Understanding the Chilean Presidential Election

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and compare everything to California

People have long compared Chile with California, and for good reason. They are both (relatively) thin, long countries, with every climate imaginable just a few hours away or, to put it simply, where you can ski and surf in the same day. And though I’m especially partial to spicy East Asian food and the occasional (daily) burrito, neither one of which Chile really has in any great supply, its undeniable that the politics between the two areas bears more than a striking resemblance.

That’s right folks, today is Sunday, December 13, 2009: the day of the Chilean presidential election, when millions of Chileans will be streaming to the polls, against their greater apathetic inertia, to cast their vote for the man that will be leading Chile for the next four years. And while the matchup between Chile/California was more similar before Gavin “Golden Boy” Newsom dropped out of the governor’s race, here’s a quick rundown.

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Chiloé, a Photo Essay

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Going South for the Summer

With the semester officially over and almost everybody I know gone from Santiago, my friend Jena and I decided to go down to visit the south for a brief time: she´s going home after a week and I´ll be down here for another week after that.

We flew into Puerto Montt on Sunday, arriving around 9 am and immediately blowing that popsicle stand to get to Puerto Varas, a nearby town. Puerto Varas was a charming, touristy town with a surprising amount of German influence: the architecture, the food, the people, everything. Jena, who comes from Austrian stock and is nearly fluent in German, was in heaven when we sat down to a breakfast complete with omelettes, empanadas, and some apfel struedle (delicious). Continue reading

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Lima: LAN, Chifa, and Walter the Language Guy (Peru Part 1)

IMG_1415Our journey began at 4:30 in the morning in the Santiago airport: a group of 11 bleary-eyed Gringos carefully checking and rechecking our bags, and getting ready for the trip. Most had been able to grab a few hours of sleep before coming; I, unfortunately, had not.

I’d been kept up writing a last-minute piece for the Santiago Times, a quick tale of my personal take on Chilean wine, accompanied by the note to my editor “I think this is what you were talking about…but please let me know if I’m just way off the mark and I’ll figure out something else,” thinking to myself that this had better be on the mark, or there was no way I’d be able to fix it in time while on my trip.

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And on your right, you’ll see Santiago, the capital and largest city of Chile…

Right now I’m procrastinating going to bed, which is somewhat of a bad idea, considering that I need to get up early to make it to the strangely prohibitive 8:30-11:30 am hours for the American Embassy tomorrow for their help planning my trip, but until I’m actually set to fall asleep, I figure now’s as good a time as any to update.

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A New Take on the Handset

With school ending this past Thursday and a few hours to kill before the Thanksgiving meal, I decided to start a project I’d been thinking about doing for some time. The idea is basically a phone headset built into a glove, allowing a user to do a comical hand motion while actually using the phone (pictured below). Below, the steps taken and the final product, and finally the final product in use by its designer.

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Despedidas, NoBOs and Viajes

I’ve been failing pretty hardcore at this whole “updating” thing, but I’m hoping to get back to a more regular schedule in the next couple of weeks that’ll let me do a better job. I’ll do what I can to update, and hopefully there will be several more coming very soon.

We’ve entered into a sad part of my trip; many of my friends are finishing up school and heading off. Some are going straight home, others are traveling around for a while in Patagonia, Buenos Aires, or other various LatAm destinations before heading back to the states, where UC’s new semester begins in way way early January. I’ve got a bit more freedom and in no rush, so I’m staying until my classes are over and then heading out. My plan is to go down to southern Chile for a couple weeks with a friend of mine in early December and get back to Santiago in time for my parents’ arrival.

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