Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday

After staying up until 4:00 this morning, I got up at 10:00. This routine won't quite work for the road!

Went over to Lider Supermarket to do some grocery shopping. The purchasing agent in me sometimes comes out, and I start studying product packaging (which, I think, often creates suspicion in market staffs.) Throughout Latin America, milk is packaged in aseptic Tetrapak cartons and stocked unrefrigerated on store shelves. This must be an enormous energy savings when compared to the coolers used in U.S. markets.

I wanted to buy a few items, and since they don't offer little shopping baskets, I simply put things in my helmet. Very quickly, I was under surveillance throughout the store: from roving security, from observers on the catwalks above, at the checkout stand.

People here (men, that is) seem to lust after my motorcycle. It's very weird (though looking at those Italian bikes yesterday, I can almost understand.) There is an infatuation with things. (Perhaps related to a thriving economy?)

Returned to Tiramisu for dinner. They're very attentive. They welcomed me back tonight and seated me at the same table as both previous visits. I'm still confused by all the infants and pregnant women in this restaurant. "What's going on around here?" Is the good economy having far-reaching effects. Is Chile experiencing a baby boom (like America's post-war boom?)

Dinner offers a little time to reflect. (One might think riding a motorcycle there would be plenty of time to reflect, however, the road and driving conditions in much of Latin America demand so much attention, there doesn't seem much space for reflection. It's so refreshing to occasionally find a wide-open four-lane highway. You can just sit back and relax, and allow the mind to wander freely.)

I've been in Santiago for days, and have seen very little of the city, but I don't mind. In the familiar and predictable, I periodically find a much-needed respite.

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Looking at the road ahead, I hope I won't have to spend much more on the bike now (that is, after the front brake discs are replaced.)

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Oh, no! A Hummer driving down the boulevard in Santiago! Unfortunately, they want to imitate the American lifestyle. Good for GM. Bad for the planet.

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Plugged away on the computer much of the day. I have to finish my notes by noon tomorrow! Broke away in the afternoon for a run to Starbucks. A nice, refreshing ride. Very warm out.

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I've grown lazy: I haven't pulled out my Spanish-English phrase book lately. My Spanish skills have plateaued (and not far above the level at which I started this trip!) I've simply begun to tolerate the discomfort my limited understanding generates!

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