I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Some street art in Valparaiso

Sunday bird blogging

A blue jay in Central Park.

The birds have been celebrating spring. A few weeks ago I saw two mourning doves mating on my fire escape. It was quick and surprisingly silent, considering how much loud moaning they're capable of.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The main market

And for comic relief

Here I am trying not to drop an unexpectedly heavy watermelon in the market.


The corn looks lovely in the previous entry, but you can't tell how enormous the ears are, so here's a photo of my lovely guide, Vanessa, hoisting one of the ears. Plus some gorgeous banana peppers.


Today was the first day I could go outside without a jacket, which means that it in a week or two everyone will be complaining about the heat.

But it makes that warm summer day in Valparaiso seem less long ago and far away, so here, as long promised, are pictures from the markets.

Saturday reflections

A reflective wall in Time Warner Center in Manhattan creates a crazy abstract from the row of high-end shops opposite.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Urban poetry

There wasn't much in Valparaiso that wasn't urban poetry.

But I did love the patterns these power lines made, draping across the streets and around the buildings like gritty confetti.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Street minus reflections

Another look at the street from Saturday's picture, this time from outside so no window reflections. Valparaiso is a major Pacific port, and many of the buildings in the hills are repurposed shipping containers. The shipping containers became houses and shops, the old houses became hotels and cafes and galleries, and everything is crayon bright in the summer sun.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Astronomy Tuesday

Do you see the horse? Neither do I.

This is the Blue Horsehead Nebula in Scorpius (not to be confused with the Horsehead Nebula in Orion, which is the star of many Hubble images.) It's been photographed in infrared, so it's no longer blue, or anything resembling a horse's head. But it's a fair tradeoff to get to see those colors.

Image Credit: WISE, IRSA, NASA; Processing and Copyright : Francesco Antonucci

Monday, April 23, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Public transportation, Valparaiso-style

A few of the many funiculars that crawl the steep hills of Valparaiso and connect the lower and upper town. I rode several of them, including one that seemed to be a mom-and-pop operation -- a woman came out of an adjoining room where she seemed to be eating lunch to sell tickets and operate the cars.


It's a pleasant drive from Santiago to Valparaiso, a couple of hours through valleys full of vineyards underneath wrinkled brown hills that reminded me of California -- if not for the signs all being in Spanish and the occasional llama, I might have been in the Napa Valley.

The city itself is unique though -- a gritty port town near the water, surrounded by steep hills full of bright colors, with art everywhere.

Sunday bird blogging


A goldfinch grabs for a seed a bit too enthusiastically and loses it to the squirrels which are always hanging out below the feeders.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saturday reflections

A street up in the hills of Valparaiso, Chile, taken from a cafe window.

The reflections are subtle, a patterned overlay reflecting the street art on the walls behind me. It's been fun going through the Valparaiso pictures, because I haven't looked at most of them since they were first taken more than three months ago and I'd forgotten a lot of what I saw.

More to follow, maybe even this weekend.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Random things I saw in Santiago

A building in Santa Lucia Park, one of the buildings of the Universidad de Chile, the ornate roof of the National Museum of Fine Arts seen from Santa Lucia Park, and statues inside the museum (which had a much more interesting collection of modern art, textiles and photography than the exterior led me to expect.)

Urban poetry

A fence behind the large golf course that lends its name to the neighborhood behind my first hotel in Santiago -- El Golf.

These are just garbage bags, but the pink looked so tropical that my jet-lagged brain first saw them as some kind of strange flowers.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Astronomy Tuesday

I find this image jaw-dropping: a high-resolution photo of Mars, taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2014.

These are sand dunes, edged with frost. The sun was low in the Martian sky, so only the top of the dunes are lit up, with deep shadows in the valleys.

But the image is so unexpected, so abstract. Who would ever have guessed this was Mars?

Image Credit: HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona), NASA

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday bird blogging

A female cardinal in the park yesterday. She's not a juvenile, because their beaks are dark and you could pick her beak out of the woods at a hundred yards, but she does look small and young and a little spindly.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Saturday reflections

I had planned to skip reflections this week, but I spent the morning in the park, and love these springtime greens in Central Park Lake. So here you are after all.


I posted a picture of this building in Santiago a few weeks ago; here's another view, without reflections.

I really love those balconies.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Urban poetry

The top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago is a Catholic shrine. The large statue of Mary is visible for miles, and the path up to it has the Stations of the Cross.

I don't know why these racks were empty. The waxy ghosts of the hundreds of candles they used to contain were a little eerie, even in the bright sunshine of a summer day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Astronomy Tuesday

It is still Tuesday, right?

You can't go wrong with the classics. Here's a lovely galaxy, NGC 289, a jewel of the Southern Hemisphere skies.

Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, ChileScope

Monday, April 9, 2018

Welcome to the working week

Selling fruit in Chile in the summer is not quite the equivalent of selling water by a river, but there is a similar abundance, with fresh produce for sale everywhere.

This is the Plaza de Armas.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sunday bird blogging

Okay, not great bird pictures. I took these my during my first, jet-lagged, walk around Santiago, and though I have no idea what kind of birds these are -- one is probably a dove and the other looks like a small parrot, but I can't get more specific than that -- I think the photos are kind of cool. So here they are.

I've had a mad, bad week -- mucho stressful as I'm confident they don't say in Santiago -- and could not focus on anything more intellectually challenging than old episodes of The Great British Baking Show in the evenings. Then I thought I had to stay up and do system testing after midnight last night, which was grueling because I was already so tired. At midnight, I logged in to find that I hadn't read to the end of the email -- the work began at midnight; the system was available for testing starting at 3 am. (See comment about mad, bad, mucho stressful week above.)

So I did not finish Santiago. I'll probably be sharing pictures of Chile well into the Northern Hemisphere summer, and may not finish Antarctica before I leave for Africa at the end of August.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Air conditioning

Old and new in Santiago

Iglesia de San Francisco

The interior of the church is above; I absolutely love that ceiling.

It's one of the oldest colonial-era buildings in Chile, consecrated in 1622, though it's suffered its share of earthquake damage, and is on its third or fourth bell tower. The current one dates from the 1800's.

Saturday reflections

The lobby of the Hotel Singular in Santiago.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Urban poetry

Two men sleeping outside the church of San Francisco in Santiago.

I admit I walked past them the first time because it seemed so rude and intrusive to take a picture of them -- you need a certain ruthlessness to do street photography and whatever ruth is, I apparently have way too much of it. (In the US, it's actually legal to take a picture of anyone you want on the street as long as it's not for commercial purposes, but that didn't protect me from being assaulted by a crazy man who really didn't want his picture taken.)

But I loved these faces -- even better in black and white -- and after thinking about it, I walked back and took the picture. I did leave some money in their jar as a thank you.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Astronomy Tuesday

Cassini, of course. The probe may have plunged into the cloudy unknown of Saturn's surface last year, but its magnificent images still amaze me.

This one, from 2005, shows two of the smaller moons, Tethys and Mimas, but what's really cool here is the shadow of the rings  across the top of the planet. (The rings themselves are seen edge-on between the two moons.)

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