Friday, May 4, 2012

The Ice is Nigh!

We are suddenly in winter.  We had no autumn; we went from skirts and t-shirts to 15 degrees Celsius - with rain-  between Monday and Friday.  And now we are freezing. The concrete buildings  here are cold-sinks, and we're not allowed to turn on our central heating (gas fired) until we've had it officially inspected (to avoid surprise explosions).  Now we're sort of scrambling to have it done… everybody in Santiago is scrambling to get it done, and there are only so many gas inspectors to go around!
            But it is so pretty at the moment.  The rain has cleared the air, and the mountains are full of snow and the leaves are.... well turning brown and dropping off. It's not exactly New England with its burning autumnal forests (I have a friend here from New Hampshire who is pining) but there's just enough color to keep the streets pretty.  What I do miss is being able to crunch the leaves as I walk through autumn streets - here the building concierges are so conscientious that they sweep up everything as it falls - four times a day and at least twice during the night, so that when people leave for work in the morning, the verges are spotless.
            Which leads to some highly contextual frustration - on Sunday, as I was walking to meet said friend from New Hampshire at a coffee shop (for purposes of pining), I passed a building where the concierge was outside raking.  It was a gusty day and the leaves fell as fast as he raked and as I passed by, he hit his limit- he had both hands around a big sturdy branch of the nearest tree and he was shaking that tree with everything he had - he was going to get it all over with at once, by damn!

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