Sunday, March 28, 2010

I did think about it

I'm sorry about the lack of pictures. I have many--and a video of the changing of the guard at the Presidential office!--but I haven't felt like trying to push all that data through the hotel's pipe. Maybe one morning this week.

This morning 7 of the volunteers ran a 10K race to raise money for earthquake relief. I thought long and hard about doing it, but I've never run 10K before. That's not to say I couldn't do it, because if I pushed myself there's every chance I could. But I thought about that level of activity, combined with how I've been eating, and decided not to add any major stresses to my body just now.

It turns out kilometers 2 through 6 or so were Cerro San Cristobal, so I felt especially vindicated. 10K would have been hard enough, but 30 minutes running uphill? Nuh-uh. Three of us who hadn't run the race hiked up the hill afterward, and it's not a tiny hill, really.

I've been out with the gang the past couple nights: Friday night was California Cantina, and last night we had dinner and drinks with Don and Jessie, volunteers from last year who are extending into this year (although without Ministry support, because they're in the VIII region, even though their towns are fine, the Ministry doesn't want them in a disaster area--it's a long story). Actually it was just Jessie, because Don apparently has a girlfriend here in Santiago and appears to be running on Chilean time, because he didn't meet us during the 2 hours we were at the restaurant, and then failed to meet us for the hour we were at the club before I left. For dinner I had a half-liter of beer (a schop) and a pizza, both bigger than I expected, and then I had my first really good Pisco Sour at the club.

Yesterday I went to La Vega, the big market on the north side of town. I didn't take any pictures, because it was a hot weekend afternoon and I was the only gringo in a narrow, crowded marketplace and I was kind of overwhelmed. Rad (Radford, our Orientation Assistant) had described it as the cheap place to get fruits and veggies; she didn't mention it was HOLY CRAP THIS IS WHAT MOST OF URBAN LATIN AMERICA LOOKS LIKE HEY DO YOU NEED SHOES OR SWEATPANTS OR NOTEBOOKS OR CANDY BECAUSE YOU CAN BUY THOSE TOO. You cross the (completely disgusting) Río Mapocho that runs through the city, and you're immediately in another world. I recognized it from Mexico: dusty, dirty, flaking paint, cracked buildings, street vendors. But I'd never seen that side of things in a gigantic city. It's daunting.

I'm excited this week to try and make it to an aikido class and a Zen sitting. The odds of even one of those actually happening are not good, since, you may have noticed, I'm in Latin America and these things rarely happen on the first try. But it's good to have goals!

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