lunes, abril 24, 2006

Ma and Dad in Chile - Part 2

Mom and Dad in Santiago to amuse my brother, continued. I think I will start with Good Friday. Keeten, on the third day of Passover I had Mom and Dad eating a pile of meat that included two pork sausages, a pork chop, and a basket of bread. Tell me how cool I am. The whole plate is called a parrillada. It’s basically every type of meat you can imagine, barbequed. There was a blood sausage at the bottom of this. I am not sure what animal’s blood goes into blood sausage. I wanted to try it since I had never had one before, but Mom screamed every time I put my fork next to it. I did manage to get one mouthful. Nice flavor – smokey. Awful texture.

What a good meal this was. That dark brown thing is the blood sausage.

To fully appreciate Moses freeing the Hebrews, I also had them watch people march up a hill with a cross to a gigantic statue of the Virgin Mary. This was fun. We went up a big hill called Cerro San Cristobal in a little train thing called a funicular.

At the top is a stereotypically huge South American religious statue.

You can get a very good view of the entire city from up there.

One morning I took them to a neighborhood called Quinta Normal. There is a gigantic park here full of run down museums and old things. It is also full of stray dogs. I love this park because it is old and has tons of character. Mom disliked it for that very same reason. An abandoned greenhouse lies on one side, a small lake on another with a decrepit set of row boats, and the middle is riddled with old museums that the country doesn’t bother to upkeep.

Here we are in the park under a chestnut tree. Doesn't Mom look cheerful?

I also love the park because it is next to a church called Basilica Lourdes. This church is enormous and its style makes it look as if it was built during the Crusades. It is incredible.

In front of the church are a bunch of stands where people buy candles and rosaries and crosses. They also pose with this llama to take pictures. I’ll bet you never thought you’d see her this close to an animal like that!

Another day we went to a building called La Moneda. This is a government palace where the president and various politicians conduct the business of the country. They have a very nice courtyard with orange trees and it is open to the public. Security guards stand all over the place, smiling and standing around in fancy uniforms waiting for you to take your picture with them.

Under La Moneda is a new museum. They built like 4+ stories underneath of cultural center. It is bizarre. They would never put a public space like a museum underneath a government building in the US. Lucky for Chileans not to have to concern themselves with anything along the lines of our paranoid obsession with safety. Mom and Dad and I saw a little exhibit on native Chilean handicraft. It was not Versace so Mom quickly lost interest.

Keeten, I sure did have a hell of a time trying to make them happy. Where I live and where their hotel was is a very unrealistic representation of the rest of Santiago. It’s like the difference between Beverly Hills and the Bronx. And the difference between Santiago and other parts of Chile? I won’t even go there. A 20 minute bus ride from my house will show you this. Santiago is not a dangerous city in the Bronx parts. But it is certainly not Mom’s style. Clean bathrooms and people in designer shoes? Dogs on leashes? Ha! You know, I knew exactly what she wanted from the time I picked her up from the airport. But I was trying to hold off. Trying not to give in. After a little talking to from Cecilia where she said it was my parents' vacation and I ought to take them to “their types” of places, I decided why not?

Oh yes… I took them to THE MALL. Brilliant decision on my part. Mom was finally in her element. Dad and I felt a bit like this.

That's all for now!