So it’s been a good while since I’ve last written, although it has not been for a lack of source material.  My weekends have been full and interesting for the most part, and I have heard many an interesting story from my fellow abroaders.  I’ve met new people, grown my hair out even longer, begun a workout program and been inspired more than once.  I’ll do my best to get some things out of my head and onto your screens.

So my last post was a couple of weeks ago and was about Chiloé and my adventures there.  Since then, more than a couple of my friends have decided to make the same trip and I know of other still that are planning on making the voyage out to the enchanted archipelago.  I think that’s a great thing.  Moreover, I decided to do one of my final papers for my folklore class on the subject of Chilote Mythology.  So far, research has been quite easy, as a former student of La Catolica wrote a lengthy graduate thesis on the subject, and since we have full access to all of the thesis’ recently written, I can use that as one of my prime sources.  Another interesting source I found was an etymologic dictionary of Chilote words, which goes to show you how different Chiloé is than main land Chile, considering they’ve got their own language for all intents and purposes.

As far as traveling and adventuring outside of Santiago, there is not a wealth of things that I have to talk about, although we did have our last group trip out to one of Pablo Neruda’s houses.  Pablo Neruda ( 1904-1973) is a sort of national icon here in Chile; I consider him to be like a pop star of the Chilean poetic and literary spheres.  He is revered by many, although I do not think that most have read his poetry or heard it read.  However, my good friend listened to some older recordings of Pablo reading his poetry and he described it to me as one of the most dull and drab experiences of his life.  Apparently he puts so little emotion into his words that it hurts.  Regardless, he is a national hero and deserves respect for that; he was one of the first Chileans to win the Nobel Prize, which he did in 1971 if I’m not mistaken.  He was a well known communist and also supported the socialist Salvador Allende, whom I’ve decided is my favorite Chilean leader in modern history (I saw his memorial at the Cementerio General, and that’s where our tour guide broke into tears). 

Since I was not allowed to take any pictures inside of his house, I will describe it instead.  The house of Neruda’s that we went to (this is one of his three houses, all are well traveled by tourists) is known as Isla Negra and contrary to its name is not on an island.  In fact, it’s a wondrous house built by the seaside on the Pacific coast where a large number of black rocks rest on shore, hence lending to the “Black Island” naming.  Mr. Neruda was enamored by the sea and loved all things nautical although he was terrified of actually going out into the ocean, or any large bodies of water; go figure.  His house was filled with wondrous collections of all sorts of things: the large mast-head collection in his living room, a ridiculously cool sea-shell collection, African/Asian/North and South American mask collection as well as very cool beetle and butterfly collections.  The house also reflects the landscape: the portion of the house that faces the land is decorated with browns and dark greens while the side that faces the sea has blues of different hues and aqua marine colors.  Another interesting facet of the house’s design is the fact that the architectural dimensions align closely with those of an actual ship, so the door ways are about 12" – 15” wide and no more than 5’6” in heights, so it really feels like you’re on a ship as you walk from room to room.  Now a few pictures for your enjoyment:IMG_3642

Sign on a mural in front of the Pablo Neruda house “Isla Negra”IMG_3643

Me in front of the Pacific Ocean – notice Neruda’s personal sailboat that he never took out onto the open waters because of his fear of the oceanIMG_3618

The fish that is one of the trademark symbols of the Isla Negra houseIMG_3639


This is a shot that shows just how awesome the clouds were that day.IMG_3720     One of the many beautiful flowers around the Pablo Neruda house and gardens.IMG_3718

The last picture that you see there was taken from inside of the restaurant that we ate in after seeing the house.  We had some really great seafood stew, which had an entire fish fillet in it; that was after we had a course of bread AND an empanada.  I can actually feel my mouth watering and my stomach growing hungrier as I write about it.  All in all a pretty good day, especially since we didn’t have to pay for any part of it (pre paid with the program).

So that was my Isla Negra day, I’ve got a new gallery up with all of the best pictures from the day on my PICASA WEB ALBUMS if you’d like to check it out.  If you guys want to I could easily make another video slide show in HD, if you thought that was a good way to check out the pictures.  I’ll be writing more pronto.

Chao. Ian J.