domingo, febrero 26, 2006


Weather is dismal. I am sick. I felt a bit like this all day:

I decided to take a walk in the afternoon. Just to get some fresh air. On this walk I found several things that peaked my interest. For instance:

Royal, eh? I guess it must be the expensive stuff.

I pondered important and life-altering questions:

How can a river be this filthy and not reek? Is that the Mapocho?

Don't the lion statues at Los Leones look a bit menacing today?

How does this statue communicate a positive and/or inspiring image for the business it represents? The guy is walking upside-down and in circles and hardly gets anywhere.

I also managed to get myself into a bit of trouble in front of the American Embassy. This was the first time I saw the Embassy from the front. Usually, I only see it from a distance from the back or the side. What an eyesore! Most countries here have embassies in nice little old or restored 2 or 3 story colonial type buildings. They are pretty and pleasant-looking for the most part. They all have a guard or two at the entrance as well as a high fence and probably an alarm system. Naturally, something along those lines is just too small-time for America. So we built this freakishly large concrete fortress. I was so overwhelmed by the building's hideousness, I simply had to take a picture (a photo from this angle does not do the building's size any justice but believe me, it is big):

For a split second before I took the photo, I thought maybe this wasn't such a good idea. But I didn't see any guards at the gate and thought it'd be fine since it was Sunday and chances are that no one would be around.

Wrong. As soon as I snapped the photo I see a carabinero (Chilean policeman) speedwalking over to me. Oh boy. He asked me for my Identification Card and tells me I shouldn't be taking photos of the building. I tell him I'm not from around here. He asks to see my passport. I tell him I don't carry it with me. Frustrated, he asks to see any form of ID I may have on me. I hand him my driver's license. He takes it and walks over to a little shack where one of his collegues is sitting. The colleague has a walkie talkie. He explains the situation to his colleague. All the while I am offering to delete the photo from my camera. By this point, the colleague is spelling my name into the walkie talkie. Someone, somewhere is looking up my name on some database to see if I was any kind of threat. I find it hard not to giggle. They ignore my offer to delete the photo and start lecturing me on how surely an American should know that snapping photos really would not be the thing to do in front of the embassy of such an endangered (cough, cough... well-hated) country. I find it harder not to giggle. Really, what can I see with that photo? That the place is like Fort Knox-level secure? Lot of good that's going to do me as their would-be potential terrorist threat.

Finally, the man with the walkie talkie receives the all-clear for my name. They let me loose. And they didn't make me delete the photo. How odd. I walked away smiling to myself.

Come to think of it though, perhaps it is not cool for me to be posting this photo online...

Eh, whatever. Then I went back home. I live around the corner and to the left, past the kitten with the lazer eyes: