Wednesday, July 14, 2010


By way of welcome, we had a 6.5 earthquake last night. It went on for at least 7-12 seconds after I woke up, which means it was going for a bit of time before that, because earthquakes are not one of those things that wake me up right away.

When people refer to "the south," this is the area they're usually talking about, also called Sur Chico ("Little South"). This is to distinguish it from Patagonia, which is really its own complicated, beautiful, deserted thing. People often say Chico Sur is the heart of Chile, in its culture and people. We did notice that starting in Chillan, people are more open and relaxed, and there's a sense of...what? Chilean-ness? There's a more traditional vibe to the people and how things are done, and less like the feeling in most cities in the world. It's hard to see, visually: there's this feeling, and then you have to interact with people.

Field Director Allyson was teaching last year in Angol, about a half hour away, and had told us a bit about Valdivia. Here's what I've seen so far:
  • There are not so many dogs, which explains the stunning lack of dog shit on the sidewalk.
  • Dog shit aside, the city looks really clean. There's not trash everywhere.
  • People generally talk slowly enough to be understood.
  • The coffee here at Airesbuenos is actual brewed coffee, and not Nescafe.
It's like being in a different country.

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