South America | Chile | Santiago de Chile – Colo Colo vs. Rio Plate

South America | Chile | Santiago de Chile – Colo Colo vs. Rio Plate

As my title suggests, today the famous Chilean team, Colo Colo, is playing an Argentinian team in a football match here in Santiago. This is the same team my German friends on Easter Island had sat next to on the airplane to Punta Arenas, completely hungover. Inga had asked them, Do you play football, and they stared at her incredulously, and answered, Yes, we do!
The team is named after the Mapuche tribe leader, Colo Colo.

Spent the past couple of days touring Santiago, which has some awesome sights. I took one of the English walking tours offered by Sernatur to see the sights around the Plaza de Armas, and government buildings. We walked into the Cathedral during morning mass, and also visited the Presidential palace.

An Aussie lady joined me after to tour and we walked to Bellavista to visit Nerudas Santiago house. He built the house like a boat to remind him of the ocean he loved.

For those of you not familiar with Pablo Neruda, here is an exceptional poem on Chile:

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Under the volcanoes, beside the snow-capped mountains, among the huge lakes, the fragrant, the silent, the tangled Chilean forest…My feet sink down into the dead leaves, a fragile twig crackles, the giant rauli trees rise in all their bristling height, a bird from the cold jungle passes over, flaps its wings, and stops in the sunless branches. And then, from its hideaway, it sings like an oboe…The wild scent of the laurel, the dark scent of the boldo herb, enter my nostrils and flood my whole being…The cypress of the Guaitecas blocks my way… This is a vertical world: a nation of birds, a plenitude of leaves…I stumble over a rock, dig up the uncovered hollow, an enormous spider covered with red hair stares up at me, motionless, as hug as a crab…A golden carabus beetle blows it mephitic breath at me, as its brilliant rainbow disappears like lightning…Going on, I pass through a forest of ferns much taller than I am: from their cold green eyes 60 tears splash down on my face and, behind me, their fans go on quivering for a long time…A decaying tree trunk: what a treasure!…Black and blue mushrooms have given it ears, red parasite plants have covered it with rubies, other lazy plants have let it borrow their beards, and a snake springs out of the rotted body like a sudden breath, as if the spirit of the dead trunk were slipping away from it…Farther along, each tree stands away from its fellows…They soar up over the carpet of the secretive forest, and the foliage of each has is own style, linear, bristling, ramulose, lanceolate, as if cut by shears moving in infinite ways…A gorge: below, the crystal water slides over granite and jasper…A butterfly goes past, bright as a lemon, dancing between the water and the sunlight…Close by, innumerable calceolarias nod their little yellow heads in greeting…High up, red copihues dangle liek drops from the magic forests arteries…The red copihue is the blood flower, the white copihue is the snow flower…A fox cuts through the silence like a flash, sending a shiver through the leaves, but silence is the law of the plant kingdonm…The barely audible cry of some bewildered animal far off…The piercing interruption of a hidden bird…The vegetable world keeps up its low rustle until a storm churns up all the music of the earth.

Anyone who hasn{t been in the Chilean forest doesn{t know this planet.

From Pablo Neruda, Memoirs, Penguin (1977) page 5-6.
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His house is built near the San Cristobal mountain in the middle of Santiago, and I took the funicular up to the top, passing the zoo on the way. At the peak, you can see the huge statue of the Virgin, and then continue down the other side of the mountain on cable cars, which I did. This left me in Provendencia. I walked to the english bookstore there, Books, and picked up a book. I also ate dinner at the vegetarian restaurant, El Patio, and had tofu for the first time in awhile, yum!

Today I ventured out to the palacial mansion, I would describe it like a small Versailles, of the Cousino family. Remarkable that it is just over 120 years old, but full of magnificent furniture, the family monogram on everything from the heater grill, curtains and the furniture, the marble staircase made out of 20 different types of marble, and the fabulous parquet floors. After this, I took the efficient metro to the Estacion Central and walked to the Museo de la Solidaridad with 400 art works by artists protesting the Pinochet dictatorship.

There is so much more to do in Santiago, but I am feeling restless, and figure I will probably head to Valparaiso tomorrow, and perhaps fly out to Bolivia on Sunday. Stay tuned…

Category : South America | Chile | Santiago de Chile , Uncategorized