Back to Santiago…
Matt and I had to head back up to Santiago because my old passport was about 2-pages short of being full and 1-year short of expiration. Matt also wanted to be back in order to take classes to become SCUBA certified before we headed out to Easter Island (aka Rapa Nui) in May! His classes eventually lead us back to the Pacific coast.
We took advantage of our time in Santiago by meeting up with a couple we had met while trekking through Torres del Paine national park. Mike, Donna, Matt and I enjoyed catching up over some yummy meals together at Emporio La Rosa (great homemade ice cream)and el Centro Mercado for some good seafood accompanied by live music. We also visited a couple of museums together, going to some Matt and I hadn’t seen during our previous trips in Santiago. One place we visited was the National Library. The entrance is free and exhibits relate to contemporary issues in Chile. One that particularly caught our attention was a set of photographs related to the mining accident that took place in Copiapó in 2010. What was so attention-grabbing for me was that all the photos had been taken with the Iphone 4.
We also visited the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, where they showed Colombian artist Botero’s provocative exhibit related to the United States military’s abuses at Abu Ghraib (BEWARE: link shows the artwork. It is graphic. However, lower on the page is an interview that provides personal insight into Botero’s motivations). Botero produced hundreds of sketches and paintings related to the atrocities of war and torture committed in Iraq, with hopes that we, the human race, will learn from these horrible mistakes. It was a very poignant way of making his anti-war message be seen and heard. This museum also is home to other exhibits related to the human rights violations committed during the Chilean dictatorship, which happened in our very recent past, 1973-1990. Not the most up-lifting museum, but an important and consistent reminder related to abuses against human rights. As listed on their website, this museum’s mission is to honor the memory of the victims and their families and stimulate debate related to tolerance and respect, so as to prevent humans from repeating such ugly offenses in the future.