Santiago and a few miscellaneous photos

We’ve enjoyed Santiago a great deal, especially the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombiano where we went twice. The bottom floor is called “Chile before Chile” and as you walk in, you are greeted by these grand wooden grave markers at the end of a long hallway, some lit, some in shadow:

They are supposed to reflect the spirit of the departed, and provide a very eerie introduction to the pots and fabrics and other ancient artifacts.

One of my favorites was the Inca method for tabulating data, knotted strings known as khipu. This one accounts for over 1,500 objects of various types. A sort of abacus made of string.

Outside the museum, the statue in the Plaza de Armas seemed pretty impressive, too.

The streets of Santiago in general are full of reasonably cheerful crowds, hawkers and vendors of all sorts, and street musicians.  My favorite was a five-piece band, including drums. They set up the drum set on the corner of major intersection, and when the light turned red, they stretched out along the street and did a tune timed to the length of the light. We stayed for several tunes, and both walkers and drivers handed them tips.

As for the miscellany, first my favorite translation on a menu:

And then I meant to include a few photos from our visit to Neruda’s house in Valparaiso, La Sebastiana. First one from the very rapid, bumpy and slightly scary bus ride up the hill. Bus fare is 330 pesos, about 50 cents, and the bus driver has a nifty little setup for change–a box with slots for different size coins, with pouches below it. People drop coins into the pouches and he can quickly make change from the slots. When he has time, he sorts coins back into the slots from the pouches. He did this pretty constantly as he drove, negotiating the narrow passages with one hand.

He also played rock music, and occasionally tuned on his fan. On the walk down to the house, we saw the Neruda elementary school, with this painting on the wall.

It’s an image of the house as a boat. On top is an image of Neruda that I didn’t like much, so didn’t capture.

As for the house itself, you can look it up online and get better images than I could achieve. Neruda lived well. Hs houses are crammed with objects he collected from all over the world. This one has lots of stairs, nooks and crannies and a fabulous view–very much like our view in Berkeley. Neruda had three houses, one here, one south of here on the ocean, and one in Santiago. “Not bad for a socialist,” says Larry.


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