Sunday, January 12, 2014

La Cueca

The weather has been spectacular this week -- mid 70's in the day, clear and sunny with nice breezes, and in the 50's at night. I wanted to check out the Mercado Central again, the flower market on Calle Caupolican between Freire and Maipu, but the week after New Year's there wasn't much going on. 

We did see the shell of the old Mercado building, which burned down a year ago. The little stalls are now set up along the side of the road.

I bought some baskets and a large bag of walnuts, nueces mariposas (butterfly nuts). 

This section of Calle Maipu is pretty run down.

We turned on Calle Rengo and saw this sign on a shoe store: "Waves, Bikinis, and Drinks." Maybe the English lettering looks good and no one knows what it means.

Here is the Galeria Rengo, where we stopped to look in. The blocks here are all 100 meters square, so an unpromising store front may give way to a pretty decent shop.

Here, Elder K. Looks into some shops under the skylights.

A plaid table runner made of three woven squares, complete with storage case. Elder K. was happy the ladies were all back after the holidays. Fernando, Romy's friend, also showed up and stayed until everyone (except Romy) was gone. We are seriously wondering why he attended the weaving workshop--but not really.

 I finally finished making my first poncho, complete with gray crochet trim. This teenage girl was roped into modeling it for a picture. I will be wearing this when it gets cold.

My crochet yarn bag was a hit, as well. I made this with doubled yarn and a large crochet hook.

Hermana Ruth is one of the most talented of all our group. Here she models a neck cowl, decorated with a home-made willow button.

This week Elder K. and I have been studying the routes and behaviors of the colectivos. They make a regular run through Calle Rengo, turning left at the synagogue (above) onto Chacabuco, two miles to Lientur, two more miles left on Manuel Rodriguez, then left on Calle Rengo again. The price is only 10 pesos more than a bus. We caught a colectivo in order to visit Andrea Ramirez, who is trained as a peluqueria, hairdresser, and she gave us top-notch haircuts. She says she likes cutting the hair of gringos, since it is finer and easy to see where she has cut. Elder K. asked the driver of the colectivo how many miles a day he traveled, and he said 250 millas.

This week, a group of homeward-bound missionaries from the Concepcion South mission, an unemployed stake president, and several from the community, experienced the Planning for Success workshop, mostly taught by Romy and Yolanda, with an introduction by Elder K and Hna Rosa. These are native Spanish speakers, from Uruguay, Guatemala, Paraguay, Mexico, and Argentina. They enthusiastically had their completion certificate picture taken. They insisted that Elder K. and I, and Hna. Rosa, be in the picture

On Saturday, while we were shopping for Sunday dinner with the Baldens and the Kimballs, we heard the music of the Cueca, Chile's national dance, in one of the plazas.

 The Cueca re-enacts the courting rituals of the rooster and the hen, and always includes the waving of a white handkerchief.

 This group is earning money to compete with other dance groups across the region. We wish them well!

Three of the original dozen tomato plants I got from the sister in the Bishop's Storehouse are doing very well in buckets on my balcony. The others stopped growing early on. Although blossoming, these were not setting fruit, so I started bringing them in at night--the temperature is consistently below 55 degrees outside each night. After a few nights inside, the cherry tomatoes are finally setting fruit. You can see a little one at the center of the picture.

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