So full!!!

Trip Start Jun 03, 2006
Trip End Jul 05, 2006

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Flag of Chile  ,
Friday, June 16, 2006

I will have to come back and fill this in, but I just want to get the events down so that I don't forget any. My camera's battery died so I didn't get as many pictures as I'd have liked but I got some. I'll put those up later too.

Sushi: Got some sushi for lunch yesterday. It was not great sushi but it was a nice meal. The food here is full of ham and butter and there aren't really salads or veggies, so a nice light lunch was good. There wasn't any nigiri or sashimi but the rolls were nice and cheap.

Home cooked Meal: It was recently Mohammad's birthday. A small group got together a few days ago and got him a cake and chocolates (he loves chocolate). While there, I invited him to my place yesterday for Sabanegh (spinach). I ended up inviting a bunch of people for it. Guest list: Mohammad, Bernardo, Erin, Alex, Chelsea, Daniella, Jen, Jabari, Caroline, and Billy. I got a ridiculous amount of spinach, which is hard to deal with here. I also made Salata (salad), and hashweh (rice). I destroyed our little kitchen and left a tip for the house cleaners this morning. The meal went pretty well, though. One problem was with the hashweh. I thought I had found All spice but it turned out to be Cumin and so the taste was a little off. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, though (at least that's what they said).

Classes: Our second class yesterday was taught by a lawyer that had actually worked on Human Rights cases during Pinochet's military dictatorship. His lecture was very inspiring and chocked full of information. Our first class today was about women's rights and was also great. What I love about school here is that I get to school ready for a nap every single morning. However, the classes themselves wake me up, I enjoy them so much. Also, the human rights lawyer said a lot of great things and many of them were a good reminder of why I came to law school in the first place. That's nice to remember.

Who likes Falafel?: I do. We had decided to hit up a falafel place in the city some time ago. Tonight, we made good on that decision. However, falafel was harder eaten than decided upon. We looked up the address and metro stop in a "Let's Go" and headed on out. The metro stop was the last on the line and then we started walking up the street. After about 15 minutes of walking, we realized that we were getting nowhere near the place. Eventually, we had to get two taxis (there were 8 of us). The taxis here are notorious for driving people around in circles to run up the meter, especially foreigners. Ours was pretty good, though, because Juan speaks Spanish and kept the driver in check.
When we got there, the place turned out to not be a falafel place, but a full-on Arabic Restaurant. [Score!] I quickly realized that I would not be getting falafel, but was having a difficult time deciding on what to get. However, I could not order the Maklubeh or the Shushbarak because it requires a pre-order of 3 hours. So, the group decided to share a Mah'shi variety plate with Qusa (Squash), Eggplant, Batatta (Potato), and Wara Du'alli (Grape Leaves). Then, Mohammad and I shared a plate of Malfouf (stuffed cabbage). The food was absolutely delicious and we all had a great time. The adventure getting there was worth it. If there's time, we might try to head back and order some of meals in advance. We're only here for one more week, though.

Villa Grimaldi: Today, we visited Villa Grimaldi, one of the main torture centers of the military dictatorship. Although intense, the visit offered a great real-life perspective to complement what we had been learning in class. Our guide through the site was a survivor of the military regime that had actually gone through the torture camp in his twenties. He gave us both general accounts of what happened at the camp and personal stories of him and his friends.
The longest personal story he told us was of a particular friend of his that had cracked under the torture and given names of other students that may have been sympathetic to the democratic cause. Although his group of friends had been very tight, this betrayal caused this kid to be ostracized by the others. Eventually, he left for Europe and only just returned and reunited with the group.
The site had been rebuilt, since the military regime had burned the place down in an attempt to erase the crimes from Chile's memory. But we got to see replicas of the tiny cells that held the prisoners and the different areas where the different types of tortures took place. Overall, the visit was draining, as we were there for roughly three hours.
What was very interesting was that the guide, a survivor of torture, had a very positive outlook regarding the past. He was surprisingly not bitter at all.
It is strange that so many Chileans denounce the military regime on the human rights abuse hand, but openly acknowledge and almost praise the regime for the economic advances the dictatorship accomplished that the country continues to reap.
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