Santiago is so sooty, dusty and dirty, that even walking around the apartment barefoot gets your feet black. Every evening, I have to sit on the side of the tub and scrub my feet before going to bed--to keep the sheets white.
Still, I enjoy living in an apartment building, because it is so different from home, and the view is so beautiful. This is what we see from our balcony:
Dad has told me about the many people he used to see selling things on the streets when he was a boy in Santiago. One of them was the ice cream man on a bike, the same type I have bought popsicles from at the park.
Another one was the dairyman, who came to the neighborhood in a truck every few days and sold milk, cheese, yoghurt, and butter. We haven't seen any of those yet, so I don't think they are around anymore.
Then there was the knife-sharpening man. We saw one a few days ago. He walks around with a cart that has a wheel to turn a sharpening stone. Before we saw him, we heard him. He plays a whistle to let people know he's around and ready to sharpen knives and scissors.
The last one, whom we saw yesterday at a park, was the organ grinder, a man who walks around with a box (called a barrel organ) that plays music when he turns a handle called a crank. The music he plays sounds like the one at a merry-go-round. Organ grinders usually have a pet with them, like a spider monkey, Dad said, but this one had a small parrot.
At another park--the one we go to almost every day--I have finally made a friend. She is my age and has three sisters. We don't talk much, just play games like hide-and-seek, one that is different from the one I know. In the Chilean hide-and-seek, the seeker has to count to 25 slowly, then very fast up to 50 while everyone finds a hiding place near the tree where the seeker is counting. Then he or she walks slowly away from the tree, which they call "the base," and the kids hiding have to run to the base and try to touch it and say, "¡1, 2, 3 por mí!" ("1, 2, 3 for me!") before the seeker gets there. If the seeker gets there first, he will say, "1, 2, 3, for..." and the name of the person running toward the base.
Our first family field trip was to a place called Santa Lucia Hill. It is a great park, with fountains, monuments, and a castle at the top. This is the entrance at the bottom of the hill:
Near the top, there is a statue of a man named Pedro de Valdivia, the founder of Santiago:
He was from Spain and came to Chile more than 400 years ago with 150 men and camped on this same hill, from which you can see most of Santiago.
On the walk home, we visited another park called Parque Forestal. It was a very hot day, and there were many children swimming at a fountain.
Dad took this photo of them because he said it was funny how no one was paying attention to a sign that said, "No swimming or drinking allowed; contaminated waters."
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The RatSoap™ Project is a work in progress, 2006-2007