Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Leaving Chile in less than 24 hours....

This has been an extremely long but good month. I fly to Peru tomorrow early in the morning and should be meeting up with Ned and Emily in Lima around noon. On top of trying to get over a nasty cold I also came down with the stomach flu this past weekend and have been wondering how I´m going to survive backpacking in Peru these next two weeks. However, I´m finally starting to feel a little better and hope that I´ve seen the last of Montezuma´s vengeful ways. I have one last errand to run in Santiago and then it´s back to Batuco to pack up. I met a guy named Oscar in Santiago who lived in Provo for a few years studying at UVSC. He´s been involved in a number of import/export ventures and wants to send a few olive oil and avocado oil samples back with me to try and enter the market there. It should be an interesting project for me and something to get a little experience in exportation.

Hasta Peru.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Temuco, Villarica, Pucon, La Serena...

After spending most of my time in Santiago I thought it was about time to get out of the polluted city and see some of the other amazing areas Chile has. So last Saturday I jumped on a bus and headed south with Carolina. She has a friend in Temuco which is about 9 hours south of Santiago. The region is beautiful with the Andes to the east and incredibly green farmland. When Mom and Dad came to Chile at the end of my mission we visited Puerto Montt further to the south which was quite similar. I´ve taken a few pictures but never have the right equipment with me at the right time to download them. Maybe I can get Carolina to help me tonight since the house I´m staying at actually has internet. Thus I´m not counting each peso that I´m spending as I type. Anyway, back to Temuco...we didn´t do much there since I´ve had a nasty cold for the past week. However we did go to church on Sunday and found a very nice ward (about 50 people) with a pretty strong group of single adults. Tuesday, after a few days of rest and wanting to get out we decided to jump on a bus and travel an hour south to Lake Villarica and Pucon a nice resort town. If I had been feeling better I would´ve liked to have gone skiing on Volcano Villarica. Next time I guess.

So with 4 days in the South we decided to head north of Santiago and took a bus up to La Serena. After 18 horas on a bus with one transfer we arrived last night. The family here is great and quite entertaining. Anyway, we´re going to head to the beach today and over to a valley in the Andes tomorrow and Saturday. There are a few observatories there which are famous around the world and we´re going to see if some connections and get us in since we don´t have reservations.

Can´t believe I head to Peru in a week. This trip has been a lot of fun, and I feel like I´ve been gone for months.

That´s all for this morning.

Friday, July 06, 2007

La Izquierda...

Pictures would make these entries a lot more interesting....I´ll see what I can pull off tomorrow. Just to give an update of what I´ve done this past week. Last friday, Carolina a friend of mine in Santiago, invited me to go to Vina del Mar for the weekend. It´s about an hour and a half outside of Santiago along the coast and quite beautiful when it isn´t cloudy. Things here have been quite cold and I´m really glad I brought my good sleeping bag. So Carolina stayed at her friend´s house Pamela who has a son who was having a birthday party. I prefer spending time with people instead of going around and looking at all the tourist sites. Pamela and her brother are really interesting people who are extremely educated and are part of the strong left (politically speaking) here in Chile. We definitely had some interesting conversations and my Spanish was put to the test. Claudio is in his mid twenties, studying at a university in Valparaiso, and extremely creative. Recently a famous performing group from France (Royale?) came to Chile and they set up a disaster scenario in downtown santiago and had a huge doll (30+ feet tall I think) walk around downtown and was controlled by the actors. Anyway, Claudio, wanting to help with a protest at the University in Valparaiso decided to make a similar doll (is there a better word than doll? can´t think of one at the moment) but one that represented the director of the university. They took the doll around Valparaiso and had him looking for his ¨blue envelope¨ (similar to the pink slip -- basically saying he should be fired). A few students also decided to go to Santiago and pose naked in front of the Government building to show there discontent. Two of the five protesters were at the house for Pamela´s son´s birthday party and I was happy to see the "other cheeks". Anyway, they were in the newspaper and it was interesting to be closely associated with some leftists as this seems to be a very strong trend considering the positions Bolivia, Venezuela, and Argentina have been taking lately. Seems like it is taking hold in most countries down here at least on some level.

Anyway, Carolina has proved to be a great tour guide and will be taking me down to Temuco and up to La Serena a week from Saturday.

I also had an interview this week with an NGO that works with environmental issues in Chile. They seem to naturally want to tap into my connections at the World Bank for potential funding. I might take a look at how they could tap into Bank funds, but it seems like a lot of the WB´s focus has moved away from Chile and is looking more at Africa, so funding is becoming a serious issues for a lot of Chilean NGOs.

Alright, Mamita has lunch waiting for me and the missionaries should be coming over. Signing out...