Pause and Play

When I close my eyes, the sounds of the city awakening are the first memories. I woke up early nearly every morning, listening to the sounds of Santiago coming to life, readying for work, steadying the culture. The cool mist of morning haze swayed around the high-rise apartments across the tiny valley and our own building, teasing us to enjoy the cool sunrise that would soon give way to the heat of late summer.

img_2173Walking in Santiago has a soundtrack, a background stream of staccato notes that if I ever heard them again, I would be transported. The road outside the apartment is filled, traveling every which way depending on the time of day, with cars, trucks, and scooters. There are people bustling to the financial center of the city, of the country, near the U.S. Embassy. Well dressed even in the rising heat, they have quiet conversations as they scurry away. It’s not New York or San Francisco loud. It’s a more subdued dialogue inside the city confines.

As we take to the streets for a morning exploration, the sidewalks are filled with bicycles and scooters, zipping around the pedestrians. They are an irritant that could be a dangerous one. The people don’t seem to mind. As we travel through the city, there is no undercurrent of music that you sometimes hear in large cities. There is no undercurrent of public transportation. The sound is weirdly muffled, steamy, and strange to my ears. It is conversation. It is discussion, laughter, and serious direction. The voices of Santiago and clear and lyrical, regardless of the tongue speaking.

My companions are of this city, and have had a long love affair with this town. As with all love affairs, their vision notes the changes over time that irritate as well as inspire. The bicycles make people nervous on sidewalks and the tongues that speak are clearly not native to Chile. The incoming population from other countries is jarring. We travel through my friend’s lifelong journey, as we navigate days and lunches and dinners, parks and walks, ice cream and antiques. I learn more about my friends by listening to them guide us in this life. I learn about the Chilean people and the love they have of culture and the future. It’s more than learning why there is always vinegar and oil on the dining table (rather than salad dressing) or why palmitos are a favorite. It’s the way my friends spoke about everything Chilean, be it family homes or the food people eat. 


There is this honest, underlying pride that permeates the culture. It’s at odds with itself right now, fighting to breathe in a culture that is struggling against new and old. We traveled through parts of the city that were devastated by youth and protests; lower walls covered with myriad graffiti and damage. Those not covered with spray paint are covered with steel sheets and wood, saving windows and precious architecture. Armed military stand ready in parks to disperse the crowds and hoodlums. Unemployment is high and immigration is high, causing the standard stresses. Who is stealing jobs? What about the cost of goods? What’s next? Fear flows through all cultures.

But underneath, there is a pride of culture, history, language. Chilean food speaks to the integration of European and Indigenous tastes, priding itself on fresh and pure. There is a crossroads of culture in language. My companion told me that they can tell when someone is not Chilean, by their language accent and words they use. In an antique shop, the owner complimented my friend on her way with language, noting that most people don’t “talk that way, any longer.” Slow, clear, lyrical, the language tells one volumes about a culture. This gave me the distinct impression that Chile is at a cultural precipice. Can they maintain this proud depth of identity?

img_2135In the middle of this trip, we spent a few days in Brazil, and there couldn’t be a more different culture than Chile. Chile has a well-spring of Europe under the covers. The memories of Spain, Germany, and parts of Northern Africa all influence Chile’s identity. Brazil has this crazy chaos, in every aspect of life. Maybe it is their leaders, maybe it is the closeness to Europe and Africa, maybe it is a deep tie to nature – I am not sure. There are vast chasms between what they say and do, what is important and what is actionable. There is an underlying tension in speech, driving, goods, living conditions – all of which are in your face when it comes to the canyons between them. The soundtrack of this country is the scooter beep. Incessant and irritating, they are gnats in your ears. Sleep is a relief.

img_2102Back in Chile, there was a comfort to me in that underlying European maturity. The days were filled with wine and food, laughter, and exploration. I would love to visit in Spring, when the city is alive with flowers and scents of new life, when the breeze is cooler, the beaches open and laughter walks the roads. I am grateful to see this beautiful country through the eyes of friends and loved ones; it was a rare insight that I am truly thankful to have received.


It was a cold and stormy day…

somewhere outside of San Francisco. The sky shaded from steel to a light woolly gray. The rain is sewn with fragments of chill, a wind creating a veil on the side of the window. Inside, the air conditioning and jazz tempt me to run screaming from the Starbucks. For all the great Internet access, it bothers me that I have to sit in prefab “comfort.”

At least the books are good. People watching is better. I attempt to ignore the conversations surrounding me, to no avail. Sometimes people’s knowledge, or lack of, impresses upon me the need for books. Speaking of which, I did pick up two more to scan through work tonight. Choices and Illusions. It’s a very interesting book written by an interesting guy. I, always the skeptic and bah-humbugger, always look at self-help and psychobabble books with a light eye. True or not true? I check in with myself for the answer. In scanning the Barnes and Noble self-help section today, I was more disinterested than ever. I immediately discard anything that uses the word God in the masculine. It’s not that I don’t believe in God; I simply can’t wrap my head around a divinity that has gender. True we must leave things in context for the society in which we live. However, I don’t by that we have to maintain it, either. I also disregard books on Atlantis, Lemuria, and aliens building the Great Pyramid of Egypt. Need you ask why? I just can’t wrap my head around the idea that things exist simply because we have a word for them. Have you ever seen a harpie? A Medusa? Our language is filled with metaphor that we take for truth.

Hence, this book on Choices and Illusions. I am fascinated with his approach. Is choice an illusion? I know one person who believes this. The more you know, the more educated you become, you realize that freewill is for the ignorant. Once you know, you cannot make another choice and be true to yourself. You can, but then it’s a lie. That’s the basic premise of this book – well, so far. He’s gone through a lot of background on what is illusion and we’re smack dab in the middle of language right now. Is language an illusion? Absolutely! I agree with this statement. There is much, however, that I have yet to agree with.

Does that make it right or wrong? Nope. It just is. Let’s take the concept of forgiveness. I have the very unpopular notion that there is no such thing as forgiveness. It’s a nicety that we’ve created for ourselves to make ourselves feel better. What we really should be doing is accepting and celebrating the truth in people. This is a complicated and very unpopular notion and I supposed I could be persuaded, given different views, to think differently. So far, it’s not fallen short of my philosophy. Who knows? Maybe ten years from now I will think differently.

Anyway, there it is. Enjoy the people. Enjoy the books. For a dreary day in SF, at 48 degrees F (7 degrees C) it’s all good! Peace!


Есть ли там кто-то?

Мне просто интересно, если кто читает это? Если да, то вы должны русского языка. Итак, почему? Почему вы серфинг сайт? Мне просто любопытно, знаете.

Что я хотел бы знать, это … то, что действительно происходит в мире? Неважно, насколько я поездки, я не могу выйти из себя. Так помогите мне. Что это такое, как вам бы жив сейчас? Скажите мне!


Heute, die Deutscher!

Hallo meine deutschen Freunde!

Es ist eine Zeit gewesen, seitdem ich in Deutschland war. Ich lebte dort von 1993 bis 1995 – ungefähr 2 einhalb Jahre. Ich lebte in Düsseldorf und nahe Koln. Die Deutschen dachten, dass ich verrückt war, weil ich von Koln bis Düsseldorf pendelte, um zu arbeiten, aber ich liebte, dort zu leben. Es war eine deutsche kleine Stadt, mit kleinen Stadtmeinungen und kleinen Stadtmeinungen. Ich lernte sehr.

Mein erster Mann und jüngste Stieftochter lebten mit uns dort. Sie ging in die Schule, und er blieb nach Hause, Hausmann. Es war eine gute Erfahrung, aber ich lernte mehr als einige Dinge, indem ich es tat. Zuerst zu sein, stellen Sie sicher, dass Ihr Mann immer Arbeit hat, oder sie werden gelangweilt. Wenn sie Arbeit nicht haben, sie verbreiten, um zu gehen, lernen über das Land, in dem sie sind. Zweitens, nie lebend abgesondert von Ihrem Partner für jede Zeitdauer. Ich hasste das Leben dort, nachdem er sich nach Hause bewegte und ich grundsätzlich sagen kann, dass es die Heiratsbesitzübertragung beitrug.

Aber warum ich über all das, und auf Deutsch schreibe? Weil wir – DIESER zeit zurückgehen mit einigen Freunden, die lustig mit mir haben werden. Es könnte einige der schlechten Erinnerungen – der buearacracy, die mürrischen Gesichter, die unveränderliche Beobachtung von jedem und allem zurückbringen. Es könnte einige sehr gute Dinge auch zurückbringen. Sie, wissen jene Dinge, die wir dazu neigen zu vergessen, wenn wir im Leben eines Platzes eingewickelt werden. Ich hoffe, einige der schlechten mit einigen guten Erinnerungen und mit einem Gelächter und lustig wiederzupflanzen. Ich will an den Geruchen riechen und die Nahrungsmittel kosten, die ich verpasse. Ich will mich erinnern, wo ich lebte, und was wir taten, um den Platz besser zu machen, um dort gewesen zu sein. Ich weiß nicht, ob alles, was geschehen wird. Hölle vielleicht werde ich gerade einige kühle Bilder am Ende haben.

Es gibt Deutsch, um sich zu üben, sich erinnernd, wie man Plätze bekommt, sehend, was in 12 Jahren geändert wird. Zwölf Jahre! Es ist so lang. Ich erinnere mich an viel von meinem Deutsch aber nicht, so viel wie ich brauche. Nein, ich schrieb nicht, dass das sich – bei Gott für Übersetzer – On-Line-Übersetzer bedankt.

Hier hofft, dass das Bier noch gut ist, ist die Luft noch sauber, und die Leute sind ebenso steif und ernst, wie sie immer waren. Hier ist zu den römischen Ruinen, dem Gauls, und allen anderen alten Dingen ich hoffe, mehr von dieser Zeit zu sehen. Hier ist meinen Freunden und Partnern, die neue Momente von Deutschland für mich schaffen werden. Hier hofft … so, hier hofft gerade.

mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Feliz el Cinco de Mayo

Hola! Feliz el cinco de mayo! Escribo hoy en español porque quiero volverle loco, o conducirle a Los uno o el otro camino, usted tendrá que trabajar para blog de hoy.

Vamos a Alemania! Sí! En la celebración, pienso que escribiré mi próximo en alemán. ¿REALMENTE vuélvale loco, eh?

De hoy es corto – sólo bastante para sacar este y circular. Pienso comenzar un nuevo negocio secundario – uno que implica poca capital. Quizás entonces el dinero fluirá, los sueños de ola gigante asustadizos se terminarán, y la vida puede circular. ¡El tiempo para algún tequilla y una viruta de maíz – aquí mira usted, niño!

Hasta próxima vez,