Saturday, September 4, 2010

The miners in Copiapó and Banco de Chile

So take a look at this sign I found inside the metro:

This is saying that August is the Chile's National Month of Mining, and they had a contest about it starting in mid July until mid August.  With the miners getting caved in on August 5th, I can't decide if this is incredibly appropriate or incredibly ironic.

So it has been interesting following the news of the miners down here.  They are doing very well given their situation, and now they are getting bed frames, hot food, MP3 players, and other things sent down to them.  They have been able to record video to send up to their families.  They have 3 plans in place of drilling holes to get them out, and they will range between taking 1 and a half and 4 months.  Famous musicians are even coming and putting on concerts for the families at Camp Hope (the camp they have set up outisde the mine). 
With the arrival of the bicentennial on September 18th, people have also created cueca dances (the national dance of Chile) that are dedicated to the miners. 

Perhaps the most heartwarming part of the story is that a millionaire here by the last name of Farkas has given each of the families of the miners 5 million pesos out of the goodness of his heart.  This is about $10,000, and the miners usually make around $700 per month, so that is a huge amount for these families.  The families obviously want to share the good news with the trapped miners, but officials in charge of the rescue will not let them tell them.

I don't quite understand their reasoning with that.  I imagine that the miners are very worried about their families being able to pay their bills since they are not working now, and this news would be a big relief to them.  I don't know how much of the miners is being covered in the news back in the States, but if you want to read about it check it out at and then click on the tab for Latin America.

After wandering through the Banco de Chile located in downtown Santiago, it was very familiar to me but couldn't pinpoint why.  Then I realized it looks a lot like Union Station in Los Angeles.  Here are some pitures to illustrate my point:

The first picture is from the ground floor and shows the areas where you can make transactions as well as an old fashioned clock. The next picture shows the elevators. When you get inside, there are men dressed formally that operate the elevator using a lever system. It's pretty cool, as I feel like I step back in time whenever I'm at Banco de Chile.

I cannot believe that I am already in my seventh month here.  Next week I am off to Easter Island, and when I return Dana will be visiting me for the bicentennial.  There are already lots of stores that are selling flags and items to celebrate the bicentennial, and I already got a few memorial mugs at Lider.  Needless to say, it will be an exciting month.

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