Expensive summer prices where we want to go down south have led us to Mendoza, Argentina where we will spend a month exploring, drinking wine, eating steak, learning, and hopefully, making money. So, today we crossed the Andes and the border from Chile into Argentina. Its not often that I look forward to an 8 hour bus ride, but was looking forward to this one. People had raved about this trek and I missed the mountains while in Santiago, so I had been excited about it since we decided that we were coming here. We have ridden along on top the Andes by bus in Ecuador, but today we crossed over them for the first time. It is a fantastic, yet slow and arduous journey.
Every time I’m up close among the mountains I wish I had a real camera and the knowledge and talent to use it. I also wish I had a better knowledge of geology. I find the rock formations not only beautiful but fascinating and I wish I could identify what they were and how they were formed.
Summer is in full force here, so we have enjoyed my inlaws pool a bit. The sun stays up until 9:00 and the temperature gets well into the 90’s in Santiago, but the nights are much cooler there than during Houston summers. Going down into the 60’s at night helps cool off the house and affords us a good night sleep, since houses there don’t have a/c or even fans. We spent the rest of our week in Santiago doing some more sightseeing, we explored some local parks, we visited a petting zoo type park, we tobogoned (surely that can be a verb) down a hill.
One of the things that i really wanted to see and to show Joaquin was the human rights museum and the Moneda. My brother and sister in law were nice enough to take the little boys to a park while we took this outing with Joaquin. The Moneda is the presidential building that was bombed during the coup d’etat on Sept 11, 1973. This event and the subsequent suicide of President Salvador Allende and the resulting disappearance, incarceration, and torture of political dissenters during the Pinochet military dictatorship has left a stain on the Chilean psyche.
As it should be, the human rights museum was pretty heavy. It was arranged in order chronologically and included primary documents from the coup, letters and art from prisoners, photos, videos, and newspaper articles. It was a powerful museum that invoked reflection about the offenses that man is capable of toward his fellow man. Learning a bit of this history through videos and articles and visiting these sites has opened up a discourse on politics, economics, human rights, and history with Joaquin that no history book would have.
Our time in Chile was short, but we’ll be back to investigate this long and varied country. For now, I’m really excited to explore Mendoza and the surrounding areas of Argentina. It sounds like there’s plenty to do around here over the next month.