Day After Christmas in Chile

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It was hard to get in the holiday spirit in 90° Fahrenheit, etc. I'm not a huge Christmas enthusiast anyway, especially since last year when I found out Santa Claus didn't exist. In Chile, the name for Santa is viejito pascuero, but I could care less. He's dead to me now.

Anyway, Christmas turned out to be lovely, precisely because I spent it with friends in Osorno, 10 hours south of Santiago. Osorno is cool, green, cloudy and pleasant like Oregon. It seems like Chileans tend to celebrate Christmas Eve with friends and family, feasting and drinking. There's much less emphasis on Christmas day, which is a late-starter. We walked around the town. Something I'm used to by now: the fierce placidity that defines pretty much any and urban center in Chile, in this iteration characterized by dull gray cement buildings and vacant-looking children in Christmas sweaters and cheap stone-washed jeans kicking around a soccer ball in the overgrown plaza.

My friend and I paid respects to a deceased family member at the graveyard, in which I contemplated the boredom of cementary masonry, but also how graveyards are the antithesis to the tragedy of the disappeareds, which is important.

I ended up enjoying myself on the walk through Osorno. We went on to the abandoned train station and found an old abandoned train, the red and yellow caboose lit ablaze by intermittent sunshine, sun that also created a halo around the bell-like, rustling leaves of a cypress tree. The grass was tall and lush and the air was clean. Like Chile, it was totally understated: one of the more beautiful Christmases ever.




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