Fiestas Patrias

Hazy MountainsSeptember 18 & 19 are known in Chile as Fiestas Patrias: celebratory days of Chile’s independence. Usually, the entire week is considered a vacation. Chileans leave Santiago and head to the ski slopes, the beach, the vineyards, or some other destination with their families and friends. Nearly all businesses are closed. For this reason, it’s very quiet in Las Condes – my section of the city – at the moment!

There is a lot of smog here. I can faintly see the outlines of the mountains, and can tell they’re huge, but I have yet to see them in full. Hopefully, as the seasons change from winter to spring to summer the smog will let up a little bit.

Which brings me to the winter weather here. It’s pretty cold. Chilly in Chile. And central heat isn’t much of a thing: the neighbor who is taking care of me while my host family is away keeps her house at 15C in the winter… Which, according to Google, is 59F. I finally succumbed and decided to use the kerosene heater in my apartment which has made it possible to sit on the couch and not feel like I need three sweaters, ski socks, and a fleece blanket. I’m learning! At night, it gets down to anywhere between 2C and 7C, or 36F and 45F. The windows are single pane glass and don’t seal very well, so it’s fairly loud with the highway right outside and doesn’t allow for much heat retention. Spring is coming though! It officially starts on Monday, but, like New England, I think it will take a bit longer for the temperatures to creep up consistently.

I went for a walk with the neighbor who is caring for me yesterday, and it was nice to get out and see the park nearby. We watched a traditional dance show and talked and had coffee to top off the day.


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