A New Year


Back in Santiago, we spent the remainder of the holidays enjoying the relative quiet. We rode the teleferico (small two-person tram) to the top of Cerro San Cristobal which is just east of where we would attend school. At the west side of the hill you can descend by way of a funicular, a very steep cable car that ascends at more than a 45 degree angle. 
On New Year's Eve, we only ventured out to view the fireworks in the centro from in front of our hotel in Providencia. Santiago is broken up into comunas or neighborhoods that have a certain amount of autonomy--that is to say that the taxes and regulations regarding street vendors and such can vary from one place to another. Providencia is a bit more upscale, and as  you move farther east neigborhoods such as Las Condes have that same "mall" atmosphere as American suburbs. At any rate the Hotel Neruda, where we stayed for the first week was an extremely nice and friendly place for just $75 US a night, but it was still considerably more than we could be spending if we're going to stay six months. We had chosen the Neruda off of the internet because we were required to provide the shipper with an address to reach us at the point of destination. 
On New Year's Day we moved into a small hotel in the old part of the city near the Universidad de Chile called Residencial Londres. At just $21 US for two persons, the Londres is a real bargain, and the atmosphere is very relaxed. There are no phones or TVs in the rooms, but they will place local calls for you, and there is a TV in the common area. Breakfast, also in the common area, is an additional dollar per person. The rooms vary in layout and size, and although it was a bit small, we took the only room they had available for the first few days. Later they moved us into the largest room they have at the same price. It has a huge armoire, and a table and chairs that we can work and eat at, as well as two nice easy-chairs. Since we were already enrolled to start school on Monday morning we spent the next few days just relaxing and exploring the downtown as well as the parques and the mercados.
The Archivo Nacional--Chile's National Library--is just a few blocks from where we are staying. Because Karen's parents were librarians, this was a required photograph. It was taken from the top of a hill called Cerro Santa Lucia. The Plaza de Neptuno on Cerro Santa Lucia (or Cerro Welen, as it is known to the indigenous community) was the site of a Feria Indigena put on by CONACIN from January 10th through the 19th. Below is a view of the plaza from above.
The Neptune Fountain made a spectaculor backdrop for the fair of indigenous crafts and music. With the cooperation of CONACIN, I was able to film there for several nights.
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