Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cementerio General - Santiago Chile

We have been to some cemeteries in our travels including the one in Terlingua, Texas, New Orleans, Lousiana, and even Paris France.  While each of those have their own things that set them apart,  none of them come close to the massiveness and just plain massiveness of the cemetery in Santiago!

The cemetery is 210 acres, let me repeat that...210 acres.  I live on ONE acre and a ton of people could be buried here, especially if we built upwards and super especially if it was a cremation only site. So I shouldn't have been surprised to learn that there are over TWO million people buried in the cemetery in Santiago!  It is one of the largest cemeteries in all of  Latin America and it is still used today.

Let's take a walk around, shall we?  (Although we are only going to see a very small portion of the place!)

This was never a motel.  We know because we asked (thank you google translator!).  It is as big as a motel though and sure looked it might have been one.  This is called a columbarium, which according to this website is a structure with niches (small spaces) for placing cremated remains in urns or other approved containers. It may be outdoors or part of a mausoleum.

Hotel Like Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

I can't even begin to estimate the number of people that call this columbarium their physical body's finally resting place.  What you see below is one section of one side.

Pax and Cross on Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

There was also hallways!

Hallway of Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

And three stories!

Three Stories of Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

I do pause and wonder, if any niches are for sale (se vende), were they previously or currently occupied??  How exactly would a space suddenly become available??  

I have other questions.  So many questions....

Plot for Sale in Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

The cemetery is large, (did I mention that?) so large that a lady decided to set up shop selling coffee, tea, snacks, and even candy.  If you are on her side of the cemetery about to embark on the long trek to the other side, you need sustenance....right??

Women Selling Drinks and Candy at Cementerio General Santiago Chile

The huge columbarium was only one very small part of this place.  We saw row after row after long row of other columbarium structures that looked like this.  (Still looks pretty much like a motel if you ask me!)

Plot After Plot at Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Put all together in one long line, I honestly think the columbariums would have reach the borders of the USA!  (Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but maybe not!)

Some of the niches in the columbariums were very decorated and regularly maintained such as this one.

Well Tended Plot Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Others were the bare minimum, where all they could afford was paint to put the loved one's information and maybe a small candle or two.

Handwritten Plot Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Some niches were apparently filled with every possible family member, friends, neighbors, and a few strangers to boot!  Take this one, where I counted 18 different names!

Family Plot with 18 People Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Not all the people in the cemetery were buried in columbariums, some were buried below ground.

In Ground Burials Cross Markers Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Did they stay below ground?  Looking at this, I am not so sure!!

Several Sunken Graves Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Some parts of the cemetery were brimming with colors, pinwheels, flowers, and balloons.  It made an otherwise somber place seem quite cheerful. 

Colorful Flowers and Ballons Cementerio General Santiago Chile

There was one part that to this day, I am confused about.  Maybe confused isn't the right word, but at the moment I can't come up with anything else.  Let me show you what I am talking about.

This.

Circus Memorial Cementerio General Santiago Chile

This was a memorial and burial place for circus people.  It was in the shape of a circus tent and had this sign on the front.

Tickets Sign Circus Memorial Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Boleteria means tickets. so this was like a ticket counter and then it also says something along the lines of, "While children exist in the world the circus will be eternal".  

My gosh, if that doesn't tug at your heart strings!!

There was actually a wall where the original boundaries of the cemetery were and right in front of this one part was an orange tree of all things!  I am sure someone many years ago planted it and it just thrived (unlike anything I try to plant....).

Orange Tree by Orginal Wall Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Inside the original border of the cemetery the plots are much more elaborate.  There are many fancy mausoleums and some that are still impressive albeit creepy.

Take for instances this one.  Looks nice, you can tell someone spent money on it at one time.  But you see that ironwork in the front?

That was open-air.  

Grave with Grate Cementerio General Santiago Chile

So we, being nosy curious, looked in.

Inside the Grave with Grate Cementerio General Santiago Chile

I don't know.  I don't know.  I don't know.  We probably shouldn't have looked it!!!!

Let's get going to the next part!!  Quickly!

Some of the mausoleums had very ornate doors (we aren't going to talk about why there are doors...).

Corner Sun Gate on Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Cross Gate on Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Blue Gate on Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Some of the mausoleums were grand!

Elaborate Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Glass doors!!

Glass Walled Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Some had been there long enough to be covered in ivy.

Shrub Covered Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

You can't really see it in the picture above, but on this one there was the saddest little lion I have ever seen!

His little face just broke my heart!

Saddest Lion Ever on Shrub Covered Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

There weren't many that were in complete ruins like this one, but there were a few.

Crumbed Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

There are several Chileans of importance buried in the cemetery.  All of the presidents of Chile are buried here except for two (one of those being an evil dictator).  One tomb that we did see of a former president was Salvador Allende Gossens.  He was the one who was in power when the military coup took place in 1973.  He committed suicide so he would be taken prisoner by Pinochet (the evil dictator).

Here is the front view of Allende's tomb.

Salvador Allende Gossens Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Then around back and down some stairs.

Inside Salvador Allende Gossens Mausoleum Cementerio General Santiago Chile

Since I don't want to leave this as everything being sad or creepy, I thought I would end with this photo.  

Woman Flying Upward Statue Cementerio General Santiago Chile

A sculpture of a woman set free from her earthly body in route to her heavenly father.

In my last post about our trip to Santiago, I am going to share with you some of the fun, funny, and strange things we saw that just really didn't go anywhere else but had to be talked about.

I hope you will return to read all about it.

Until then!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pueblito de Los Dominicos (Artisan Market) - Santiago Chile

Pueblito de Los Dominicos is a lovely handcrafted artisan market in Santiago Chile.  If you have time in your schedule and like that kind of thing, I highly recommend it.  It is not your typical touristy junk shops, not by a long shot!

Even the area where the shops are is nice.  Of course, anytime I could see the Andes Mountains, I was in awe with the place automatically!

Pueblito de Los Dominicos Santiago Chile

Let me share just a few of the things that we saw as we walked around.

I am not sure if the peacock was for sale or just for decoration, either way he was fun to look at.

Peacock at Pueblito de Los Dominicos Santiago Chile

When we went it was very empty.  It was the middle of the week though, so that might have been the reason.  We were interested in the leather bags but there was no person around to talk to.  I am sure they were not far away, maybe just getting a coffee, but they were still absent.  Too bad, I really liked some of those bags!

Leather Bags at Pueblito de Los Dominicos Santiago Chile

Aren't these blue figures lovely?  The little donkey laying down in the front was my favorite.

Blue Figurines at Pueblito de Los Dominicos Santiago Chile

I just loved the curve these chimes create.  It wasn't windy so we didn't get to hear them, but I bet they make a lovely sound.

Wind Chimes at Pueblito de Los Dominicos Santiago Chile

My parting shot is of a fluffy cat perched on a bench as he just oozes cuteness!

Stray Cat on Bench at Pueblito de Los Dominicos Santiago Chile

It feels strange to write such a short post and I hope you don't take that as me not liking this market. We both liked it and were glad we had the extra time to visit.  In my next to last post about Chile I am going to share the details about our trip out to the national cemetery.  It was like nothing I have ever seen before!  I hope you come back to read all about it!

Until then!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) - Santiago Chile

This is not your typical art post.  

There will be no, "Oh look at the beauty!  Look at the composition and how the pieces fit together to speak a story to me personally.  I feel tears springing to my eyes due to the immense feelings this work is invoking."

None of that.

Not that I have ever written a post like that about art. Mine are usually full of sarcasm and a bunch of, "That's art?!?"

This one is going to be a tad more sarcastic and you will come to understand why by the end even though it was all my own fault.

We went to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) which was established in 1880 making it the oldest art museum in all of South America.


Museo de Bellas Artes Santiago Chile

It is a beautiful majestic building both outside and inside!

Ceiling and Women Columns Museo de Bellas Artes Santiago Chile

Now for the sarcastic humor through the telling of a story about the statues.

There once was a man who had many children.  For the most part the children got along but on occasion they would get into fights.  

One day the older kids were being especially brutal to one of the brothers. The siblings even stripped off his clothes to  hide them just for fun.  The brother being held up in the photo below was the victim of the day.  He finally had enough of his siblings and threw a fit!  He started hollering for father to come help him and to punish the others. He was being extremely dramatic much like major league soccer players who pretend to be hurt rolling on the ground holding some imaginary boo-boo.

El Descendimiemnto by Virginio Arias Museo de Bellas Artes Santiago Chile

Father had enough of his children's bickering so he starts yelling for all of them to come downstairs immediately!  He was ticked!

Horacio by Rebeca Matte Museo de Bellas Artes Santiago Chile

A few of the children that had nothing to do with the fight were petrified of getting in trouble and hovered by the door ready to bolt if they needed to get away from their father's wrath.  

The whole family is a tad on the dramatic side...

La Miseria by Ernesto Concha Museo de Bellas Artes Santiago Chile

Father settled the issue and the guilty ones were punished.  They had to go around the house and clean all the floors, windows, and toilets.  He told them that he would be watching them though the eyes of the face plates that were in every room of the house.

Face Door Plate Museo de Bellas Artes Santiago Chile

Father sat down wearily after all of that and contemplated leaving the country and his kids. 

Crudo Invierno by Rebeca Matte Museo de Bellas Artes Santiago Chile

But of course, we all know he didn't.  It was just a dream when times got hard.  He loved his kids and really wanted at least one of them to take care of him in his old age.  So he stuck it out and just kept them all in line through the fear of the all seeing face plates.

The End.

So those were some of the statues that were in the main lobby.  Those I could take pictures of.  Then we went into the actual gallery.

Now I will tell you why I felt the need to be so snarky.  So you see, apparently you can ONLY take pictures in the main lobby.  In the gallery some of the rooms had signs saying "No Photos" and some of the rooms didn't.

I will fully admit that I knowingly took a picture in a room with the "No Photos" sign.  As soon as I took it, a suite wearing security guard came up to me and told me not to take photos.  He said it in Spanish, but that time I understood.  Okay yes, I messed up.

Next we went into a different room and the "No Photos" sign was NOT there.  I thought it was okay for me to take a picture.  

So I did.  Here it is.  I really liked it!  That is why I took a picture of it!

The Painting That Almost Got Me Kicked Out of Museo de Bellas Artes Santiago Chile

That same security guard comes quickly up to me and motions for me to leave the building!!  I think I understood him to say this was my second warning and I had to go!

My heart was pounding!  I don't get in trouble!!  I honestly thought it was okay since there WAS NO SIGN!!

I got out my phone to use Google translate and here is what I wrote:

"No photos anywhere?"

The guard must have realized I was just another stupid American tourist and let me stay.  The whole time I was repeating over and over to him, "No mas fotos, no mas fotos!!"  (No more photos, no more photos!!)

He did tell me photos could be taken in the main lobby only, (gee, thanks for telling me NOW!) and that there were cameras all around watching. 

I usually ask and I didn't this time or there is a HUGE sign saying so before  you even walk in and in EVERY room.  (Every room, National Museum of Fine Arts, every room!)

As this was all happening, my dear precious husband just walked away like he didn't even know me! He was staring hard at the paintings like he was trying to blend in to them to get away from me!   

We quickly finished (there wasn't that much anyways and we were not that impressed) and left.

I had to sit outside for a few minutes to calm down.

I just had to stare at this tree and take some deep calming breaths.  

Fall Leaves Santiago Chile

I hope you enjoyed both my fake story and my real story, both of abuse, torture, and terror!

My next post will be about the kinder, friendlier, let you take a picture anywhere you want artisan craft market that we went to.  I hope you will return to read all about it.

Until then!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mercado El Cardonal (The Market) -Valparaiso, Chile

When we got off the bus in Valparaiso we were close to a large mercado (not grocery store, but open air market).  From what I can gather from a few different websites, this market has been open for 100 years!  It is the biggest market in Valparaiso and we had to take look around at all the offerings.

The colors of the fruits and vegetables were vibrate and everything was much larger than what we are use to seeing in American grocery stores.  That is probably because the stuff in Chile is allowed to grow to its full potential instead of being picked early and shipped thousands of miles away to ripen along the way.

Check out these lemons! Some of them were baseball size and they were CHEAP!  Two kilograms for $500 Chilean pesos, that is about 75 cents for over four pounds of lemons!  

Lemons at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

There were many more vegetables than fruit, at least from what we saw and all of them looked so wonderful!

It seemed like it was just a given that tomatoes would be on the vine and that not just be a sales tacit like it is in America.

Tomatoes at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

These aren't no puny thin little carrots and they are just over 50 cents for 2 pounds!

Carrots at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

The broccoli was heading towards the size of basketballs, I kid you not!

Broccoli at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

I would love to have vegetables THIS fresh!

Peppers at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

The market was chaotic, overwhelming, and messy (there was vegetable refuse all along the curb) but those things can't scare you away.  

Vegetable Refuse in the Street at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Sometimes you just have to dive in and go for it.  We Americans are use to and expect everything to be clean and tidy, almost sterile.  There is no way in the world this trash on the street would be allowed near our food or near us as we walked to get our food.  But most of us are so far removed from our food sources that we aren't really sure how even some vegetables grow....celery anyone?  (I had to look that up!!)  I hope to find a balance one day and maybe there is one but I just live in too small of a community to find it.

In the meantime, let's continue our stroll around the market.  

We did find it startling to see all the eggs just out in the open like this and not in refrigeration. 

Eggs at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

As it turns out most of the rest of the world doesn't keep their eggs cold and if you would like to know why check that out here.  It boils down to if the egg is washed right away it has to be kept cold (the American way and a few other countries), if it is not washed then it is fine staying out (the rest of the world).

Also did you notice the pet (mascotas) food beside the eggs? Gatos (cats) and cachorros (puppies)!

Speaking of mascotas!  Not sure what the cat saw and there is a good chance I do not want to know.

Cat in Dried Beans at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Along with dried beans, there were also several different types of nuts.

Walnuts (aka little brains...at least that is what I am calling them right now).

Walnut at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Chestnuts, but not roasting on an open fire.

Chestnuts at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Even piñones, which are a Chilean nut. They come from the monkey-puzzle tree or scientifically, araucaria araucana which is the the national tree of Chile.

Pinones at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Apart from fruits, veggies, dried beans, and nuts you can also find junk food at this market.

Junk Food at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Household goods can also be bought there.  

Household Items at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Funny story, in Santiago after 5 PM when most people were getting off work, the street vendors really came out of hiding.  They would set up on the streets to sell all manner of things including toilet paper and people were buying from them!  I guess if you needed t.p. and it was right there for the buying, meaning you didn't have to hunt down a store, then why not?

We had almost completed one full circle around the market when we turned a corner and saw, make that smelled, the fish portion.  Growing up in west Texas and now living in south Texas, there wasn't a whole lot of fresh fish happening.  My fish world was reduced to freshwater catfish and bass, and then whatever was at the grocery store.

All this Chilean saltwater fish and seafood was a sight to behold!

Reyneta or reineta fish is a popular Chilean fish.  It was $4.50 for one filet or $7.50 for two.  It was very pricey stuff!

Reineta Fish at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Merluza is another popular Chilean fish.

Merluza Fish at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Octopus, anyone?  I wouldn't know what to do with one if I had one!

Octopus at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

One last thing at the market that I am going to share are these fresh crabs.

Crab at Mercado in Valparaiso Chile

Very very fresh....


Again, I wouldn't know what to do with one of those.  If I got a living one, it would go in a tank and I would be looking online for what to feed it!!

I hope you enjoyed our journey around the mercado in Valparaiso!

My next post will be about art, fine art, that is!  I hope you will return to read all about it!

Until then!