Things That I Have Learned In Chile

“I finally felt myself lifted definitively away on the winds of adventure toward worlds I envisaged would be stranger than they were, into situations I imagined would be much more normal than they turned out to be.”  Ernesto Che Guevara,


The most important thing that I have learned in Chile is that it is pronounced Chill Lee An which rhymes with Jillian not Chill Lay In as in Chilean sea bass. The most expensive fish in Chile is not sea bass.


Chile may derive its name from the indigenous Mapuche word chilli, which may mean “where the land ends.” The Spanish heard about “Chilli” from the Incas in Peru, who had failed to conquer the land inhabited by the Araucanians, of which the Mapuche were the most warlike group. The survivors of Diego de Almagro’s first Spanish expedition south from Peru in 1535-1537 called themselves “Men of  Chile.”


The official and unusual name for the Chilean soccer team is the “O’Higgins a Patriot of Chilean Rule.

The typical greeting is the one-cheek kiss, and it can get awkward if you go for the handshake and they go for your face.

The major religion in Chile is Roman Catholic.


This isn’t the Spanish you have been learning in class. Yes the words are more or less the same, but their vocab is a little different and some phrases have different connotations. They also speak very fast here and sometimes drop the “s”.

Chile remains the most competitive economy in Latin America, with a strong institutional set-up, low levels of corruption and an efficient government.


Chile is the longest country in the world from north to south at 2,647 miles (4,620 km) long and extends across 38 degrees of latitude. The Andes Mountain Range extends the entire length of the country north to south.


Chile is one of the few countries on earth that has a government-supported UFO research organization.

With over 100 wineries in the country, Chile is now the 5th largest exporter of wine in the world.


Chile’s national drink, Pisco, is a clear liquid similar to brandy. It is grown in Chile in the Elqui Valley and is commonly with soft drinks like Coca-Cola (Piscola) or ginger ale or vermouth. But the most common version is the Pisco sour where it is blended with lemon juice, sugar, ice, and beaten egg whites. The Peruvians made the Pisco sour famous, but the Chilean version tastes slightly different.

Even though Chile is internationally known for its succulent red wines and its devilish Pisco, Chile also has a strong and diverse beer culture! This is thanks to a strong influx of German immigrants from the late 1800s, who came to Chile to live in the South and brought their brewing traditions.

 

Chilean husbands and wives have different last names because women keep their maiden names. If they have the same last names, they are often considered brother and sister. Some of the people want to change that now.

Divorce in Chile was legalized only in 2005, and the country has one of the lowest divorce rates globally probably because it was only recently legalized.

Chile began to export salmon in 1984 and is now the world’s second largest exporter of salmon after Norway. Chile is also the largest exporter of fishmeal in the world.


Chileans are the second biggest consumers of bread in the world – just behind the Germans.


Like Peru it is not unusual to have various potatoes prepared different ways in the same meal.(papas chilotes)


Chile has the world’s largest reserves of copper—around one-quarter of the global supply—and is the number one exporter of copper in the world.


The largest recorded earthquake in the world was a magnitude 9.5 in Chile on May 22, 1960 .

In August 2010, the collapse of the San Jose mine in Chile caused the trapping of 33 miners 2000 feet below ground. The world watched as rigorous, safety-conscious efforts were made to successfully retrieve the affected miners. A small borehole was drilled by rescuers to provide food, liquids, lights, and send notes to and from the mine. All of the trapped miners were successfully rescued after almost 70 days. A few months before another Chilean  mine collapsed on the workers without the same success.

Since 1967, it is mandatory to hang the Chilean flag in a proper condition from every public building. Failure to abide by the regulation can lead to fines of up to 40,000 pesos. The colors and symbols on the Chilean flag stand for: white – the snow of the Andes Mountains; blue – the sky and the Pacific Ocean; the star – guidance and progress; red – the blood spilled in the fight for independence.

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Kicking the Shit Out Of Plan B,C,D, etc

Kicking the Shit Out Of Plan B,C,D etc

“Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.” Sheryl Sandberg

I have always been a planner.  I‘ve always tried to figure out what I needed to do next or what needed to happen next in order for life to go on as it should. it turns out that life is unpredictable and even the best Plan A doesn’t turn out the way you thought.

Accepting change no matter how hard is a process that cannot be avoided. Some changes are easier to accept than others, but the decisions about how to cope with those changes are personal ones.

When Plan A fell apart I went through all the usual thought processes –  drugs, drinking, suicide, bank robbery, revenge killing, monastery/convent, prison etc. I screamed, yelled, cried, cursed beat the crap out of my pillow, hid, walked or hiked for hours and listened to a lot of loud angry or sad crying music.

Ancient cultures believe that the dark times are a time of transformation. It is a time when our strength is tested and we must draw on the things we have learned. Modern culture calls it a mid-life crisis. Instead of working out our problems we run from each other and are left alone isolated by shame. We get facelifts, sports cars, new houses and young new partners. People we believed to be our friends or family back away. We aren’t left with much in the way of support. 

After too much time wallowing and feeling sorry for myself, Plan B began to take shape. I thought it was a good plan. I pictured my future living in another country or maybe a few different ones.   

When completely unexpected health problems made Plan B fall apart, I went through all the usual thought processes  – drugs, drinking, suicide, bank robbery, revenge killing,  monastery/convent, prison etc. I screamed, yelled, cried, cursed beat the crap out of my pillow, hid, walked or hiked for hours and listened to a lot of loud angry or sad crying music.  But it did not go on for as long this time.  I started unwillingly working on Plan C.

I learned C wasn’t the answer either and faced challenging family problems. Change is the rule, not the exception. Whether you like change or not, (and most of us hate it), you at least know to expect something, and that makes the unpredictable more predictable.  I’ve learned that not knowing is part of the process. It is the scariest and greatest potential that we have.

I’m not going to lie  – Plan D needs some work. The twists, turns and barriers are clearly visible. I’m waiting to figure out what the best course of action will be. I don’t want to give up on it. So since plans A through C are no longer available, I’m going to kick the shit out of Plan D. If that doesn’t work,  I’m going to have to kick the shit out of Plan E (when I have it)  because that is life.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Venice, California Street Art

Venice, California Street Art

“I spray the sky fast. Eyes ahead and behind. Looking for cops. Looking for anyone I don’t want to be here. Paint sails and the things that kick in my head scream from can to brick. See this, see this. See me emptied onto a wall.”Cath Crowley

When I walk down the streets in Venice, California there is everything from simple tagging to beautiful complex scenes. I always see art- despite the sometimes rough locations. Cities are the best art galleries to me. When I am looking at freedom of expression or paid murals, I am forced to acknowledge their existence. It is color and expression instead of drab walls. I  have always felt  – better spray cans then guns. Here are some examples of art that I see every day.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

Ten Things That He Wants to Do In Chile

 Ten Things That  He Wants To Do In Chile

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain

Buy a charango.

Learn to play a charango.

Photograph everything – especially people.

Bring a sports jacket.

Taste every Chilean food.

Find some new fabulous wine.

 Bring an extra bag for shopping. Is he a shopper?

Not go to a nine-course tasting meal at Borago right when we get there.

Read 100 Years Of Solitude or Love In the Time Of Cholera. I can’t remember which. It is Colombian not Chilean but South American and everyone should read both of them anyway.

Sleep on the plane.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ten Things To Do On Easter Island

Ten Things To Do On Easter Island

“Whether an island such as Easter Island can be considered remote is simply a matter of perspective. Those who live there, the Rapa Nui, call their homeland Te Pito Te Henua, ‘the navel of the world’. Any point on the infinite globe of the Earth can become a centre.” Judith Schalansky

1. Get there. Easter Island is one of the most remote places in the world. There is one airline that flies there which is LATAM. You can only fly there from  Santiago, Chile or Papeete, Tahiti.  It is six hours away from each place.

2. See the Moai. Easter Island is famous for the Moai statues. A plethora of theories surround the origins and construction of these giant, monolithic stone statues, but the truth is that they are the legacy left behind by the Rapa Nui civilization that once inhabited the island.

3.See the Moai at sunrise and sunset.

4.Hang out at the beach.

5.Hike the volcanoes.

6.See the other ruins from the Rapa Nui – the petroglyphs.

7.See a Rapa Nui cultural show. Rapa Nui are similar to the Māori.

8.Bike around the island. You can do the entire island in a day.

9.Take amazing photos.

10.Get an Easter Island Moai stamp at the Post Office (not the airport) on your passport. I’m so doing that. This is a bucket list thing for me!!!!

Fly safe,

JAZ

Least Friendly Countries In the World

Least Friendly Countries In The World

“I’m a stranger in a strange land.” Carson McCullers 

As any world traveler knows, not every country offers tourists a warm welcome. Everyone does not “like to practice their English” for you English-speaking tourists. Everyone does not like foreigners. Friendliness is rated by attitudes toward foreigners. Here are the least friendly countries in order.

10. Mongolia is not a nation of smiling quaint little Asian people. They come from warrior lineage and showing emotion to strangers is a sign of weakness. It is a cultural difference and that is the way it is. They often seem rude and unfriendly, especially in cities. Once you go out of the city, this is not the case. The challenging nature of nomadic life has shaped the need for the unique hospitality and genuine warmth extended to all travelers and pilgrims. Mongolians believe that the welcome offered a stranger today will be repaid in the future. This concept is at the very root of Mongolia’s centuries-old culture.

9. Bulgaria is about as East as Eastern Europe gets and Eastern Europeans are not friendly. They don’t smile and I don’t speak Bulgarian. I don’t know much about this country. It is not famous for gymnasts or shooting dictators.There is a lot of stuff on the internet about people being rude and ripping off tourists when possible. Least friendly does not mean unsafe. I guess I will go and see for myself and bring a book.

8. Slovaks are not friendly to people they do not know. I am not sure if this reserve is a Slavic trait or a product of the Socialist regime that they lived under for so long. Smiling customer service will not be part of your shopping or dining experience in Slovakia. They want tourism but they can’t figure out how to market themselves. If you need help in English “ask young,” The older people working in train stations and bus terminals do not speak English. There have been several racist incidents in this homogeneous white society that make people not want to return.

7. Latvia is a good place to not ask directions because no one is going to help you. I have been there. The locals are not friendly and if anyone is friendly to you they want something – so be careful. It is my least favorite of all the Eastern European countries that I have been to so far.

6. Pakistan is a country rife with crime and terrorists. Home to the Taliban and other extremist organizations, Pakistan is unsafe and unfriendly.

5. Iran is a tough one. I think it is on this list because it is ruled by savage mullahs who sponsor terrorism. But from everything I have heard, Iranians are welcoming to visitors and happy to see travelers in their country. The President leads chants that say Death To America. There are posters that say Death to Israel and We Have No Homosexuals. This definitely makes it unwelcoming, yet by all accounts, the people are kind and friendly.

4. Kuwait is incredibly hot which probably makes people irritable. Do not expect a warm welcome here. It is a conservative Muslim country and from being around conservative Muslims in my travels, I notice that they avoid eye contact with anyone in Western clothes. There is not a lot to do other than eating vast amounts of food, smoke shisha (hookah) and walk around luxurious shopping malls. Apparently, the locals don’t seem to want foreigners to do that.

3. I was in Russia a while ago. No one spoke English and at that time every sign was written in Cyrillic. It was hard to get around and I tried to learn temporary Cyrillic as fast I could. The no smiling, no small talk is standard Russian behavior. It was still early in the post-Communist era and people were adjusting. The life of a Russian person in Russia had always been hard and a constant struggle. When I was there, they had many issues between this new “free” life and the feeling that life under Communism was easier. It was what they knew. I found the people cold, rude and unfriendly but I never found that with the many Russian immigrants I have met in the States. I understand why it is listed as the third most unfriendly country in the world because that was my experience as well coming from a completely different culture. 

2. Venezuela is a country in crisis.  It is socially, economically, and politically in ruins. Venezuela is full of violent crime, inflation, and corruption. The local people spend half their lives waiting in line at empty supermarkets, bus, train and gas stations. Hospitals are empty because there is no medicine in this oil-rich country.  The black market is so much cheaper than inflated prices so everyone carries cash. Tourists are robbed by both criminals and police. Traffic accidents are common because cars don’t stop at street lights for fear of being robbed. Protests are daily and often turn violent. Venezuela is a dangerous country and not on most people’s list to travel to right now. Everyone is way too worried about their own safety and precarious future to be friendly to strangers. 

1. Bolivia took the dubious honor of being the most unfriendly country in the world. I know you probably thought it would be the French. I’m not sure I get this one. The only Bolivians I have met were in Northern Argentina selling hand-made souvenirs and coca leaves for altitude sickness in the Altiplano. It is the most extensive high altitude plateau outside of Tibet -4000 meters high. Chewing coca leaves and drinking coca tea is very helpful for avoiding altitude sickness. The legality of coca leaves in Buenos Aires is questionable but it is medicinal in the Altiplano and they bring it in from Bolivia. Some Bolivians were friendlier than others but no one was rude. I’ve always found South Americans to be kind and helpful and I can’t find any information on why it is number one. It is an odd choice for a poor, beautiful country that needs tourism. I’m definitely going anyway.

 

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ten Things To Do In Chile

Ten Things To Do In Chile

“Latin America is very fond of the word “hope.” We like to be called the “continent of hope.” Candidates for deputy, senator, president, call themselves “candidates of hope.” This hope is really something like a promise of heaven, an IOU whose payment is always being put off. It is put off until the next legislative campaign, until next year, until the next century.”  Pablo Neruda

Eat at Borago. which is one of the top Michelin starred restaurants in the world.

See the street art that defines Valparaiso.

Visit the homes of Pablo Neruda.

See the Museum of Memory and Human Rights commemorating those who suffered under the Pinochet regime.

Visit Chiloe Island and hope it isn’t raining,

Visit the art museums and galleries of Santiago.

Eat Chilean empanadas (different from Argentinian ones). Drink Pisco Sours.(like Peruvian Pisco Sours). Have Chilean hot dogs (different from American ones.)

Have a ski day in the Andes Mountains.

See Castro which is famous for its colored wooden houses built on stilts. I love colored houses.

Spend a day visiting Chilean wineries and Vino Del Mar. 

Fly Safe,

JAZ