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This morning I woke up thinking many things. Maybe I would finish a blog post on language, or give you a feria report, now that the asparagus, cherries, blueberries and nisperos/loquats are in.

I opened the curtain in the living room and saw white. It’s unseasonably cool out right now, and I thought maybe it was one of those white-out days when my awesome view (seen below in late afternoon) would not be visible due to low-hanging clouds and mist.

east facing view, downtown santiago

But it was the wrong white. The white of smoke, of steam, of water putting out what is now the third fire on the Alameda of a historically significant (and gorgeous) building in several months. Started at night, discovered in the morning. That leaves the facade, but nothing more. Hmmmmm.

Here’s what I saw.


and this


Here’s a street-level view. Note, that used to be a building behind that facade.


To say I am sad is too small of a word. I love this city, and routinely bask in its silly quirks. Yesterday I went to a lovely street fair in Barrio Yungay, ate a felafel (details to follow), discovered a new indie art gallery. Santiago makes me happy on a daily basis, despite garishly painted things that should be left unpainted, or falling-down signs. But this lack of respect for architecture, and dare I say it, suspicious clump of fires feels awful. I opened the door for a friend of mine who came by this morning, crying. Real tears, the kind that collect in the corner near my nose, and try to fall into my mouth.

It smells terrible. And I don’t just mean the smoke that billows in through my window. It is impossible for me to believe that this is a coincidence.

This is my new view. That’s going to take some getting used to.


Click here for more photos of the fire damage at Palacio Aldunate