Hey there guys, I seem to be on a bit of a roll tonight, and despite a brief power outage caused by a blow fuse in the second floor of my house, I plan on being able to finish up two entries tonight, this being the second.  At the current moment I am being fueled by my delicious home made dinner of a whole chicken with baked potatoes, the power of Windows Live Writer, a couple glasses of wine, a cup of chai tea and some quite relaxing Asian meditation music.  I had a moment of great nostalgia and realization today on the metro as I came back from class listening to the newest Coldplay album “Viva la Vida;” my realization was that I have an astoundingly short time left here in Chile.  I felt a wave of desire to do all sorts of things and show everyone that is close to me as much love as possible.  I figure we really do not have any time to lose and there is no better day than today to become who you want to be.  With that, I begin.

So my last entry was originally intended to cover all of the topics mentioned in the title of this entry, but the entry became very large, very quickly and here we are.  So the previous week I went on a Salida a Terreno (Field Trip) with my Flora Nativa class out to the mountains to the east of Santiago.  The purpose was to walk around with our ayudantes (pretty much like a T.A. except they are often older) and identify plant species, taking photos and measuring the relative densities of the different plant species as we climbed up the mountain face.  The hypothesis was that as you go higher in the mountains, there should be less plants, and although this was generally true, I think we skewed the results a good deal based on which spots we chose to take measurements on.  I suppose it’s not all that scientific of a class but the engineering part of my personality didn’t feel right having mushy and subjective data.  I guess that’s just another example of the Chilean informality with most things academic.  This can also be seen in the fact that many people do not even bother showing up to class, and some of those that do come in up to an hour after the beginning of class.  I also have found that deadlines are very flexible: this week in my Folklore class, a girl asked a question vaguely involving the timing of our next paper’s due date and the professor nonchalantly gave us another whole week for the paper!  That would never happen in the U.S., at least it’s never happened to me, not without a fight and a lot of groaning from the whole class.

With no further ado, here are a few pictures from the Salida:

IMG_3774 Seeds of a small plant that stick to your clothes – Chile’s try at burrs.

IMG_3770 One of the few flowers on the trip since it is fall going on winter here.


Close-up of a cactus with curved spinesIMG_3796 Nice close-up of some fiery red plants growing in between the rocks.


Big ant that a lot of people were frightened of for some reason.  I just thought it was a pretty awesome hormiga (ant).


Our “Facultad de Agronomia” bus that had definitely seen its fair share of road time over the years.  Gotta dig a giant blue school bus with that written on the side of it.


Well, this post has already gotten a bit lengthy, so I’ll start another one where I actually cover more recent events :)  The winter in Santiago and my first cold coming up next!

Chao. Ian J.