Last October, I went to Chile in holidays to spend some time with my family. I had not visited the place for almost two years, so I was very excited about the travel. It was a beautiful time, albeit short, with a lovely spring, and also an occasion to see first-hand the consequences of the February earthquake. More than seven months later, there was still plenty to experience, including a couple of heavy tremors in the middle of the night waking me up, with the fear only a person who wasn't there for the earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks can experience.
My visit coincidentally happened at the same time than workers from the biggest drugstore chain were on strike because of highly unfair and abusive salary conditions. This didn't make it to the mainstream media, not even after the strike was over, thanks to the influence a big chain, and all the money they can inject in the media in the way of advertisement, can have.
Now that my sister lives in Concepción, I took the chance to visit her at the same time than the Día GNOME took place there. We walked around the city and I got to see some of the remains of the Alto Rio building, the only one that completely collapsed during the quake, killing a couple dozens of people. The building was brand new and most of the people who died there had just moved in. If there weren't more casualties, it was only because many apartments were not inhabited yet.
The Día GNOME was a nice event, a bit too rushy to my taste, but it was nice to catch up with plenty of old pals and to meet the new ones who are driving all the community efforts nowadays. Thanks to all of them and also to the GNOME Foundation for making it possible.
When I was there, I had the chance to attend the Rush concert at the Estadio Nacional. I thought that I wouldn't see the band ever and this presented itself as a unique opportunity, that I couldn't resist. Funnily enough, later it was unveiled that they will be playing in Finland later this year, so I got tickets for the concert here as well. Strangely, tickets for the concert in Chile were more expensive than for the one in Finland, even when Finland is a country where people have a much higher purchasing power. I guess we can blame economic inequality for that.
On the culinary side of things, I can say that all my efforts on carrying a healthy diet with mostly organic food, high in vegetables, and low in fats and meats went to hell during the weeks there. Empanadas, chacareros, churrascos, mechadas, asados, choripanes, lomitos, and similar delicatessen took me back to a quite relaxed diet, from which I still can't recover. Also, by the time I visited Chile I had quit coffee and caffeine in general for around three months, but I couldn't help it going back to it (although now I drink coffee only once every other day or so).
In any case, I enjoyed the time there a lot. Any feelings of being a stranger at home lasted for the first days only and soon I was feeling comfortable again. Coming back to the northern winter wasn't easy but as they say, home is there, where someone is waiting for you.
I made quite some pics, but not that many anyway since I didn't feel that confident to carry the camera around all the time. However, a handful of them are in the corresponding flickr set, in case you are curious.