Sunday, October 9, 2011

Student Protests and a Day Trip to Pomaire

So the student protests are continuing here in Chile, and Thursday's protest was the worst one yet.

When I got off of the metro around 10:30 to go to the office I saw police with shields walking out of the metro, which helped me remember what day of the week it was.  I didn't have class until 2:00, so I just stayed in the office to plan.  A few coworkers came in around 1:00 and went immediately to the bathroom, and after they came out we found out that they were caught in the teargas. 

Most people have classes in the northern part of downtown and therefore have to cross the main street (where all of the protesting usually happens), and so a coworker and I decided to leave around 1:20.  That way we could get through and then hang out inside the bank until our classes start. 

We weren't able to smell the teargas at first, but I had a tissue covering my mouth and nose and my coworker had a paper towel covering his.  After walking up the block, however, I began to sneeze and my throat began to burn.  We purposely walked a few blocks east in hopes of avoiding water cannons, teargas, and fighting between protesters and police, and we lucked out.  We were able to cross Alameda (the main steet) without a problem, but a few blocks away we saw conflict and more teargas. 

We walked up the sidestreet and made our way to Agustinas, which is the street where we enter the bank.  I suggested grabbing a soda or juice since he had about half an hour to kill, but as we walked towards the pedestrian area with all the shops the teargas got worse and worse.  We decided to make our way into the bank, and we noticed people walking into the bank for safety in droves too.  We settled on just staying there until it our classes started.

I didn't get to take pictures of this protest, but if you're interested in reading more here's a link:

On a more relaxing note, I took a day trip on Saturday to Pomaire.  Pomaire is a small town about an hour from Santiago, and it's well known for its pottery, arts and crafts, and typical Chilean food.  I went with Katie, one of my coworkers.

There wasn't much to do there except browse and buy things and eat, so that's exactly what we did.  There were so many different things there that it was a bit overwhelming, and prices varied greatly.

After browsing we decided on a plain-looking place for lunch. Katie said that the pastel de choclo is supposed to be really good, so we each ordered that. I also got an empanada.  It also came with ensalada chilena, which is tomatoes.

After lunch we decided on some gifts to bring home and decided to catch a bus home.  It turns out the next bus was only going to leave at 5:30, and it was only 3:15 at that time.  We then got a bus to Melipilla, (about 20 minutes away), and then got a bus from there to Santiago.  In the end we only got in to Santiago at about 5:20, but it was good to get in a nap after such a filling lunch.

I just stayed in and relaxed the rest of the day while my stomach digested lunch.  It's a long weekend, so I'm catching up on laundry and might get my bike out to go for a ride.  Oddly the weather has cooled down to highs of only about 65 or 70, but hopefully it will warm up again soon.

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