AWAY TOO LONG
DavesChile has been too silent, for too long. But there are reasons, like buying and moving into a new home and taking on a new job with the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs. But, the move is over, and the new job is only part time.
Chile had begun to recover from the devastating earthquake in February (see previous postings), only to find that as a result of an explosion 33 miners are trapped alive far below the surface in a copper mine near Copiapo in northern Chile. The international press is of course flocking to the San Jose mine, to be there when these 33 miners are rescued hopefully during October, after what can only be described as a magnificent rescue effort. The press and many in Chile appear to be much more concerned now about these 33 victims than the thousands of victims still trapped by poverty and destruction in the south central part of Chile affected by the earthquake and Tsunami that occured earlier this year. For tourists and Chileans alike, Chile’s geography has always been an attraction, due to its natural beauty and diversity, but in 2010 the unfortunate aspects of her geography have attracted more attention.
In the midst of these tragedies, Chile elected a new President and celebrated its Bicentennial as a nation with a somewhat muted but typically optimistic Chilean four-day holiday around September 18. The celebration this year spawned a new very popular drink named “El Terremoto”, which of course we tried. This “Terremoto” will require a separate posting on this blog for itself.
We travelled to Chile during the month of September to repair the damage to our apartment in Santiago caused by the earthquake, and to join the Chileans in their Bicentennial celebration. I made a visit to coastal Maule that suffered so much back in February, to the towns of Cauquenes, Chanco, Pelluhue, Cunaripe, Constitucion, and most certainly the fishing village of Loanco. It is spring in Chile now, and the “aromos” are blazing with yellow flowers, the plum trees are brightening the roadsides and front yards of rural Chile, and it appears, although there is clearly much suffering and work to do in these areas, that life for these humble and hardworking people may be on the cusp of a long process of rebuilding a better future.
You will be hearing much more regularly now from DavesChile. We intend to discuss with you in future postings the earthquake reconstruction we observed, the Bicentennial celebration we participated in, and Chile’s economic and political progress and challenges we follow. In the meantime, there are two pieces of information I want you to know now: Dago and his wife Maria, owners of the seaside restaurant in Loanco that was totally destroyed by the Tsunami in February, have begun to rebuild their business. Yes, you guessed it; on the same site! Driven by a deep reservoir of optimism, and limited by a realistic weighing of their options, they again will be serving congrio frito, machas a la parmesana, and sopa de choritos by the end of October of this year. And, much to my surprise and delight, “The Last Pisco Sour” Bar in the Santiago Airport departure lounge has been reopened, so visitors departing that lovely country can fly home soothed by that incomparable tranquilizer. Two clear signs that Chile can and will recover.
So, life goes on in Chile. And so does DavesChile. Stay tuned.
Written in Leesburg, Virginia, on September 29, 2010.