The International Writers Magazine: A CHILE Diary
Diary Number 5
marches on for me in Chile. My hours are long but I try to maximise
my time off by taking advantage of what's on offer here. As well
as the weekend parties to attend (and there seem to be a lot at
the moment) I like to go walking or climbing or seeing something
I would see back home in England. A double incentive for this is
getting out of Santiago at weekends: the pollution here is terrible.
Sometimes one cannot see the mountains for the smog.
Recently I went
to Pablo Neruda's house on the Pacific Coast. For those of you unaware
of the fellow he is of the greatest cultural importance to Chileans.
He was a poet but he was all so a political activist. His life was extremely
interesting and his house reflected his personality. He designed it
himself and filled it with all sorts of things from around the world.
Neruda named the house: 'La Isla Negra'. I could go on more about him
but the chap's life and lasting influence could take up several yards.
I'll just say that every family in Chile has a copy of his work. You
should go and investigate yourself.
His house overlooks the Pacific. When I was there massive waves the
size of houses broke up against the rocky shore. The was a special algae
in the water that turned it turquoise. I went for a walk on the beach
with my flatmates and then climbing some clifffaces. It was all jolly
exciting except I had passed out on the sofa the night previously after
a party and my body really hurt.
The best way to cure that was to go to another party upon my return
The following Sunday I slept heavily. I have been giving thought to
my longterm-ish plans here. I think I shall do another year in Chile,
returning here in January 2005 (I shall be home for Christmas this year).
Before the academic year kicks off in April 2005 I hope to do a bit
of travelling, visiting Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina. Time and
money will of course be factors in my decision. I need more experience
teaching and I'm loathe to lose whatever Spanish I have learnt by jetisoning
everything and going to Japan (for example) next year.
All I need is to find a job that pays me more money here in Chile.
We'll wait and see how it works out.
© Dermot Sullivan May 22nd 2004
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