Student's Travel Blog
Each month we are asking one of our students to write a blog post for us about their travels in Latin America or Spain. Here are their entries...
The weather here is getting pretty cold and I believe the ski season is already open, so I am looking forward to hitting the slopes over the next month or two. I have shown this view out my apartment in several posts, however I swear it changes every day and always draws my attention and wonder.
Because I love animals, this blog post is dedicated to my canine friends living on the streets of Santiago. For anyone who has travelled in South America, you have probably noticed in most cities the abundance of ´street dogs´, well Santiago is no exception. However, these dogs all seem to be very well fed and looked after, sometimes you will even see street dogs with ´dog clothes´ gifted to them for the cold Santiago winter. Also these dogs often appear to be pure breed like German Shepherds and Labradors. However, from what I have seen, I would say however that these dogs are ´tolerated´ rather than looked after with love and are mostly ignored. I find these dogs very interesting and they make walking around the city and watching their behaviour an enjoyable affair for me, though I think it´s incredible that something is not done in the way of contraception to keep their numbers down.
In other news, Santiago was elected the third most ´captivating´ city in the world by CNN (story here). You never know how they make these rankings, but I definitely believe there are some great things about this city which make it worth visiting and/or living in. However to give you a Chileans perspective on this, I think my friend Gabriel summed it up with the following comment ~ "In my opinion, we are far from being the third most "captivating city" but I can see why it´s there, from a foreigners point of view. If you have plenty of money, and time to enjoy the city, Santiago can really be captivating: spend morning time at the ski resorts for cheap price, then come down through beautiful roads, enjoy some latin music, have nice food in Vitacura, stay in amazing hotels, etc... That doesn't make it "liveable", but I think it is, at least more than other Latin American capitals. Yesterday also Santiago was chosen to be the safest city in Latin America, and I also agree with that. We just need to improve our education system, stop building massive apartments (and more parks) and lots of bike lanes. And above all, clean air..."
Lastly here is a song by an American band about Santiago, it´s been my theme song riding around the city on my bike for the last few weeks. It names many places in the city and talks about some of the aspects of life here. Enjoy!
This city is silver in the moon
And mountains heaped with sugar spoons
The click and clatter of my feet
On lonely crooked cobbled streets
Down past the window shutter tie
The hollow of a haunted night
It's raining now out on the beach
The chitter-chatter of my teeth
I'm following the coffee trail
And drink it black and by the bail
The pesos turn to paper cups
My fingers tremble at the touch
Across the Mapocho
Barrio Bella vista
Across the Mapocho
La Casa de Neruda
And on the cable car I climb
Up to the sacred virgin shrine
This city's smothered in the smog
The snippy-snap of wild dogs
Tomorrow is Assumption Day
I ask them what they celebrate
Daniello says he can't explain
But he'll be clappin' anyway