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The city of sleeping dogs

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One of my fellow street vendors decided to adopt the pretty Labrador, which hangs around at the plaza today.
The city is full of strays, mostly male ones. They are not castrated so the gender is fairly easy to observe. A friendly bunch, they are liked by the human inhabitants of the city, who sometimes feed them (there are stores here solely dedicated to pet food, in one lives a cat, who always gives me this look when I walk past "I live in heaven, where do YOU live?", but this post is supposed to be about dogs...) and tolerate them lying in the oddest places.
This is how they spend most of their days, sleeping in sunny spots, sometimes in the middle of a busy sidewalk oblivious to everyone around them. One of the running gags of the street vendors is to place a "to sell" sign on the dog sleeping next to their stand. Very zen.
But it is not an easy life. I saw a dog japping and scratching himself, because he was tortured by flees, another lost looking fellow standing in the entrance of the supermarket, shivering in the cold. The dogs sitting around my bread stand looking at me with big sad eyes are probably also not there, because they have a special affinity for German bread.
But one of them has a warm spot to sleep tonight and a human to feed and cuddle him. Lucky chap.
Posted on - Categories: Valpo


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Before I write this post I have to make it clear, that this is not a serious analysis of Shannons character, but rather a documentation of several jokes and made-up/exaggerated stories, which form the basis of the humour in this house, because we all agree that reality should not be in the way of a good story.

Today, on the way to the kitchen for a coffee, I was informed by Shannon that the toilet was clogged. Of course we have no plunger, just as it has never occurred to us to get a screwdriver or any other useful tool. But I haven't been a student/nomad/disorganised person for 30+ years without having learned a trick or two.
I picked up one empty plastic bottle (two liters is a good size for these kind of operation) and a pair of gloves, stuck the bottle down the drain and started squeezing. At this point I felt thankful for having gloves because shit (literally) did come out of drain.
Unfortunately gloves do not protect one from the inevitable splashing in this procedure. Despite the ... release... of bits and the resulting color change of the water the toilet remained clogged. At this point, Shannon had a look and remarked that this might be one of hers.
This was when I started to get suspicious. Shannon does have a strange fascination with having people interact with her , emmm, products. Jill (who has been friends with her since childhood and has traveled extensively with her) did storm out of her room in alarm one day when Shannon wanted to show me "something" in the bathroom. She wanted to save me from possible trauma, but it turned out Shannon had bought flowers. Before she was there to protect me we did have one (slightly influenced by alcohol) discussion about the visual effects of peeing on one of the many steep roads in Valpo.
Anyway, after some "work" with the bottle I made the mistake to think there might be improvement and flushed. The toilet filled up to the brim with smelly brown water. After some desperate laughter Shannon went to buy a plunger (I think that was a small confession) and I went to ladling the water out of the toilet with an old wine bottle (good that there is an abundance of old bottles in our house). I had reduced it to an "not in danger of overflowing" amount when she came back and we had our toiled unclogged 3 seconds later. The bathroom got a throughout bleach treatment.

Conclusion: buy a plunger, don't try the plastic bottle method unless you are a true masochist.

Why did I make this experience into a blog post? Passing on the trauma!

Posted on - Categories: Valpo

The last two nights this happened:

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Santiago, Chile, Jun 6 (Prensa Latina) 

A quake of lesser intensity measuring 4.5 degrees on the Richter scale was recorded
today in the central Chile, but authorities
have not reported damage or victims so far.

According to the Seismological Service of the
University of Chile, the earthquake was
recorded at 02:40 local time and was felt most
strongly in the Valparaiso Region.

The epicenter was located 38 kilometers north
of Quillota and 27.2 kilometers deep.

Hope this will not be a nightly occurance...
Posted on - Categories: Valpo

I cannot get out! -reprise-

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This time it was not the bathroom door which imprisoned me, but snow on the mountain pass. Why does that sound familiar?
It is strange, the weather in Valpo is sunny and warmish, one cannot imagine that the road is closed due to snow just a few hours bus ride away.
I desperately needed to leave the country, though. My visa was about to run out... After going to the bus station two days in a row always to return home again (the second time Shannon shouted after me to bring wine on my way home, which I did, because I'm an awesome flatmate).
Drinking the wine I sat down with my computer to book a flight ticket for the next day, only to be thwarted again! The online payment system for Air Argentina is weird/non existent. Non of us found out how I was supposed to pay for my ticket, but I think I'm now subscribed to the frequent flyer club? In the end I had to go through a middle men (some of the cheap flight sites, i forgot which) and they gladly took my money.
I have an adversity to flying, I used to fly a lot and associate it with bad things. Honestly my mood drops when I enter an airport.
The flight conditions did not help, 90% of the flight consisted of flying over the Andes, the rest was take off and landing. Turbulences!
And because of stupid security obsessions I could not bring my knitting needles! Tragic really...
At least now the "holy" stamp is in my passport. The weather should be better in September.
Posted on - Categories: Valpo


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Yesterday there was an almost full moon in the sky, while the sunset coloured the clouds and houses on the cerros pink. I went into an old version of a convenient store, the kind with walnuts in drawers which are scooped into brown paper-bags for the customers. But they did not have rye flour.
We finally manged our alliteration girls night out, we had tried for Margaritas Martes the day before, but the 21. of May is a holiday here, in remembrance of some battle, and the Mexican restaurant was closed. We went our for Chinese instead and had the most dodgy red wine I had ever smelled or tasted. Maybe some experimental home brew stretched with soy sauce? It did taste like soy sauce! My two crazy flatmates ended up writing a song about a koalas bottom, a result of a joke I told (why did the first koala fall out of the tree?) but apparently not the wine, they do these kind of things all the time.
Yesterday we finally went for Margarita Miercoles (at least still an alliteration, I do live with two authors, after all) and this time no songs were written, but we visited the communist? bookstore next door. I avoided political discussions by blending into the couch with a guitar. They have a mural of Chávez on the storefront, so it was either that or being impolite. No indoctrination for me this time.
Posted on - Categories: Valpo

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