Tuesday, October 03, 2006

roughly 33 degrees south and 70 degrees west

When I first thought about leaving Chicago, I toyed with the idea of returning to Europe, specifically to Italy, where I had enjoyed studies during university. I quickly moved to dismiss the destination for a few reasons. First, I've already been there. If I were going to throw a guillotine down on my life, I wanted to pursue a new adventure. Second, I have been exposed to Europe and its history far too unevenly throughout my education. "World history" in elementary school and high school discussed the Roman empire, the Greeks with their gods and their ideas of the republic, World War I and of course, a great deal about the United States. I never learned about Chinese culture or what Kenya was like before the British and the Portuguese, and I definitely never even heard the words South America used in any context other than listing all of the continents.

I still have yet to leave Santiago proper because of my work here. But this has allowed me to build a better understanding of the city. With over 6 million inhabitants, which is over 40% of the entire country, Santiago is one of the largest cities in Latin America. It also is a major hub for multinational corporations. There is an area of Santiago with contemporary skyscrapers, sidewalks full of suits walking to work with Starbucks in hand, and restaurants and bars fit for the poshiest clientele. During orientation week we quickly learned the difference between this area of Santiago and the areas in which we worked: you may have only spent 45 minutes on the metro, but it's as if the two stops were on two different planets. Here are some photos from around the city, taken over the past week.

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