lunes, febrero 20, 2006

One of us...

I looked vaguely Chilean today:

I love that necklace. It's made of wood and smells like tree.

Isla Negra (previous post) was beautiful. My housemate Tom and I took a bus for 2 hours out of Santiago to get there. Why there? Pablo Neruda (Ma, Google if you don't know him) has 3 houses in Chile. Both of us had already seen the first two - La Chascona in Santiago and La Sebastiana in Valparaiso. This one was supposed to be the largest and most magnificent, a when-in-Chile-must-see. It was his last residence before he died. He is buried there with his third wife, right outside, facing the ocean. They call the house La Casa Museo (The Museum House).

Neruda liked things. And this is why I like Neruda (I'm not really a big fan of the poetry, to be honest). The man hoards everything imaginable! In previous post was his collection of glass bottles. He had a thing for colored glass - said that even water tasted better when you drank it from colored glasses. He also liked to collect anything related to sea travel. In this particular house, he had a huge collection of those statues they put at the sterns and bows of boats. While the tour guide's back was turned, I managed to get a nice photo of a room with two small wooden ones on the wall. If you look close, you can see Neruda's face on a photograph through the door.

In other rooms we got to see his insect collection, African art collection, and finally a long, narrow room filled to the brim with different sea shells. The sea shell room included a large conch given to him by Chairman Mao himself while Neruda was a diplomat for Chile in Asia. Was cool. Oh, and get this - for some time he was serving in some kind of diplomatic role between Chile and Singapore. I wonder how that went. Culturally, I've never seen two countries more opposite.