Wry Exchange

States of the States
09-15-08, 11:32 pm
Filed under: Culture, Home | Tags: , , , , ,

I have a Monday wrap-up of news from home to Bolivia today.

  • Bolivia-seems to be quieting down.  This follows the pattern since Morales was elected.  The next flare-up will probably be in December when Bolivians vote on the referendum of Morales’ new constitution.
  • Venezuela-Chavez played ‘me, too’ and expelled the US Ambassador to show solidarity with Bolivia.  In a speech to his supporters, he said “Shithead Yankees, go to Hell!”  Nice touch, huh?  He immediately followed that line with “We are a dignified people.”  He also offered to send troops to Bolivia in event of a coup attempt.  He was rebuffed by an Army General who said Bolivia won’t tolerate interference in it’s sovereign affairs. 
  • Chile-Thank you Michelle Bachelet for bringing Evo Morales to Chile to discuss issues with Unasol-Union of Nations of South America. 
  • Home-we had our first hurricane here at home.  Ike’s remnants hit 81mph, enough for category 1 status.  We received absolutely no rain, but the wind.  Oh, my the wind.  People are without power in a wide area, roads are closed because so many trees and power lines are down, and schools were closed. Our new roof held up perfectly, hurray!  We lucked out with just a few small branches down, and a portion of our stockade keepthedogsintheyard fence blew over.  The wind ripped a 4×4 post out of the ground in pieces.

Ponceo & Fotolog
09-14-08, 12:20 am
Filed under: Culture | Tags: , ,

The New York Times is catching up to Newsweek-about six months later.  Remember I wrote about “Ponceo” in March? The Times published an article Friday about teen sexual behavior in Chile.  What a shocking trend!  I think it’s gross, but I’m old.  I don’t like drinking after other people, I certainly don’t want to make out with 3 different strangers in a club who have been making out with other random people.  ick.

 At least they got it right with Fotolog.  I never see any articles about it.  Fotolog, a photo-sharing network created in the United States, took off in the last two years in this country. Today Chile, which has a population of 16 million, has 4.8 million Fotolog accounts, more than any other country, the company says. I thought it was a Chilean company, since it seems almost everyone has Fotolog in Chile.  I don’t know anyone who isn’t Chilean or lived in Chile that uses Fotolog.  There are over 15 million Fotolog accounts, yet less than 350,000 here in the states.

“No, But” Part 1
07-02-08, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Culture, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags: , ,

 Oooh, how I hate that phrase.  “No, but…” and it’s friend “Yes, but…”   This seems to be a *Chilean boy thing.  I know we’ve talked about stereotypes and generalizations, but, in my experience, Chilean and Argentine boys are the only ones who use this argument regularly.

To me, “No” means no.   I’ve read that “No is a complete sentence,” but I always give a reason for saying ‘no’ to the students. For some boys, “no” sometimes means “Give me more information, and I’ll say ‘yes.'”  But I think in most cases it means “I’ll whine and wear you down until you say ‘yes’ just to get rid of me.”  Hah!  I’m stronger! 

The last really annoying ‘No, but’ was last month.   Some of the students stayed overnight together in one of their host family’s houses.  It was very nice of the host family to permit several of them to get together and watch them overnight.   It’s tiring chaperoning a group of exchange students,  they always think of some way to escape the adults.  Anyway, my two local students had a ride home. 

One of the students had her hostmom drive them to the party, and then pick them up the next afternoon.  She was a new hostparent, and didn’t want to look like the ‘mean old lady’ to tell them that an hour each way to a party was unreasonable.   The woman was sitting in the driveway, and the phone calls BEGAN.   A more experienced hostmom would’ve marched in the house, and told them to get in the car.  Again, she didn’t want to seem too strict.  The kids started calling me. 

 “Can we go to AWP?” 
“What’s AWP? (Awesome Water Park)
“We don’t know, but Maria’s family is going today, and Maria said we could go, too.”  (Note Maria’s hostmom’s permission or invitation isn’t mentioned.)
 “No, you just spent all night with the family, it’s time to come home.  Ana’s hostmom is waiting in the car.”
“But Maria invited us.”
“NO, get in the car.”
Maria gets on the phone.  “Can they please come with us?” 
“Where are you going?” 
“AWP!  We’re only calling to ask for permission since it’s out of state.”
“Um, no, AWP is in the state.  Why did they put you on the phone?  I told them to get in the car.”
“They thought my English was better. So can they go?”
“No. Tell them TO GET IN THE CAR.”
Maria’s hostbrother gets on the phone.  “Can they go with us?  We’re going to AWP2.”  (AWP is not in the state.  Actually, one of the water parks is 100 miles East of us, and the other one is 100 miles West of us.)
“No, please tell them to get in the car NOW.”
This goes on for 3 or 4 phone calls.  They kept putting other people on the phone. The kids still had no idea where they were going, just that they wanted to go.
Maria’s hostmom finally calls, asking me what’s going on. I explained that the girls didn’t have permission to go to AWP, and they were supposed to get in the car.   That made her happy, because it was a school trip, and the kids weren’t invited. 

That poor hostmom sat in the driveway for half an hour, then she waited in the house for another half hour before all of the phone calls were done.

Oh hell, I just typed out that long story, and it didn’t have any of the ‘yes, but’ or ‘no, but’s in it.  That’s for tomorrow then.  We’ll just make this part one.

*I have to clarify on behalf of P and Chef that not all Chilenos say “No, but.”

Viagra in Chile
05-01-08, 1:35 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags:

BBC: A Chilean mayor is to hand out free potency pills to older people in his municipality near the capital Santiago.
Mayor Gonzalo Navarette Munoz says he wants to improve their quality of life by giving them free access to Viagra.
He will give men aged 60 or over in the working-class suburb of Lo Prado the chance to get their potency pills courtesy of the taxpayer.
He says he was inspired by complaints from older patients about their poor sex lives while working as a doctor.
“This is about giving our elderly population a better quality of life,” he told Chile’s national press.
Mr Navarette says that within the next few days physicians will start dispensing the drugs at their surgeries and his office will pick up the bill.
The mayor has done some number-crunching already. He intends to hand out Viagra four times a month to every man who asks for it and passes a medical.
He has already drawn up a list of some 1,500 men who have shown interest.
It is estimated the programme will cost around $20,000 (£10,000) in the first year.
Critics have suggested this is just a ploy to get the local politician re-elected.
But Mayor Navarette insists he is performing a valuable social service which, if successful, could be rolled out across Chile.

Wry here-Do we think the mayor is handing out free morning after pills to women?  Or even free birth control pills? 

Chipmonkey, Squirrels, & Chile
04-14-08, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Students | Tags: , , , ,

 From CuteOverload.com

Chilean students are always unreasonably excited over the oh-so-rare sitings of squirrels and chipmunks here in the states.   It’s funny and cute unless we’re on a trip to Washington, DC and the kids spend all their time taking rodent photos instead of checking out the monuments.  Our Chilean son, P, was bitten by a squirrel in DC when he wouldn’t let go of a peanut.  He was running out of food, and wanted to play longer with the squirrels.  We told him they were urban attack squirrels, and were really relieved he didn’t get any squirrel disease.

Chef, our oldest Chilean son, told us that Chileans keep squirrels in cages as pets.  It seemed really weird to us until we thought about it from the other side.  We keep guinea pigs as pets in cages in the US.   Chef was entranced with the squirrels.  “They’re sooo cute.”  “They’re so funny.”  Then, “Can you eat ’em?”  Husband about choked on the last question.  He said yes, people can eat squirrels, but you need a whole lot of them to make a meal.   No, we never fed any kid a squirrel.  

We missed the best one.  Another Chilean boy couldn’t wait to see a chipmunk.  He sat and sat in front of windows just waiting.  It’s not like chipmunks are rare around here, so it was a bit odd.  Until someone pointed one out to him.  FES was so disappointed.  He thought the word was ‘chipmonkeys,’ and they were actual tiny monkeys.   The kid was forever known as ‘Chipmonkey.’

Morning After Pill Banned in Chile
04-05-08, 1:45 pm
Filed under: Culture, Home | Tags: , , ,

  Abortion is illegal in Chile FOR ANY REASON.  It doesn’t mean abortions don’t happen in Chile.  (See my 3 posts on abortion in Chile. 123. )  Do these judges and congressmen realize “Plan B” helps to prevent abortion, preserve future fertility, and saves lives?  

 From Yahoo news: SANTIAGO, Chile – Chile’s Constitutional Court halted a government program Friday that provided the contraceptive known as the “morning-after” pill free to women and girls as young as 14.
The court voted 5-4 to effectively ban the distribution of the pill by the government’s health services, according to a court communique, after a request by 31 congressmen who claimed the emergency contraceptive constitutes abortion.
The government program, started by President Michelle Bachelet, a pediatrician and the country’s first woman chief executive, had been the subject of heated legal battle.
It was approved by the Supreme Court in February. But congressmen backed by conservative groups took the case to the Constitutional Court. Friday’s ruling, which was leaked to the media while still being written, cannot be appealed.
Bachelet said free distribution of the pill at public health centers was aimed at bringing equality to Chilean women.
“Poor women will not have access to the pill now,” said presidential spokesman Francisco Vidal.

Who Tries to Steal a Moai?
03-29-08, 12:31 am
Filed under: Culture, Home | Tags: ,

 Can you imagine damaging a world treasure?  I loved seeing Stonehenge, but I didn’t chip off a piece to take back home. What went through this idiot’s tiny mind?  “Wow.  Let’s see, I’ll impress my friends by taking a bit off a pyramid, the Colosseum, Taj Mahal, and one of China’s clay soldiers.   Future generations don’t matter, since I’ll be dead.  It’s all about meeeeeeeeeeeee.”
BBC Article-The authorities on Easter Island have detained a Finnish tourist on suspicion of trying to steal an earlobe of one of the world-famous moai stone statues.
Police on the Pacific island, which is an overseas territory of Chile, said a woman had seen him rip off the earlobe, which then fell and broke into pieces.
Marko Kulju could face seven years in prison and a fine if convicted under laws protecting national monuments.
The statues of Polynesian ancestors are believed to be up to 1,000 years old.
There are nearly 900 moai on Easter Island, in various stages of construction, some of them more than 10m (33ft) tall and weighing more than 80 tons.
The island’s Rapa Nui National Park, in which the moai are situated, became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1995. Mr Kulju was visiting Anakena beach on Sunday when he was allegedly seen using his hands to tear off the earlobe of a 4m (13ft) high moai, Easter Island Police Chief Cristian Gonzalez told the Associated Press.
The earlobe then fell to the ground and broke into 20-30cm pieces, at least one of which Mr Kulju allegedly attempted to steal, Mr Gonzalez added.
“Fortunately, this type of thing does not happen every day but it does happen and it is almost impossible to control because on Easter Island there are sites of great archaeological value everywhere and the park guards cannot prevent all such incidents,” government official Liliana Castro said.  Authorities on the island are inspecting the statue to see if it can be repaired.
From BBC