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Not infrequently, I will complain about the lack of information about what’s going on in Chile. Way too often I will discover something in the throes of happening or which has already taken place, but which I’ve failed to find out about. Not so this time! There’s an incredible expo of free films at the Centro Cultural La Moneda (#NG) that you can read about in Spanish on the Centro Cultral’s website here, but basically what you need to know is that from about 3 to about 8 from the 7th to 30th of September, there are free movies being shown in the basement theaters of this centrally-located spot. Show up early and grab a coffee at one of the two quiet (but strangely dark) cafés while you bide your time for your documentary or dramatic movie to start. It’s unusual to see such a giant collection of Chilean movies being shown all together, and for cinephiles, Spanish practicers and people who’re looking for something different, this is, as they say, top (say: tope)

However, this being Chile, it is currently nearly impossible to gain access to the Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda. They are in the middle of revamping or redressing or re somethinging it, in addition to erecting a giant flagpole in front from which they will fly a Chilean flag of mythic proportions, which has a bunch of anti-military folk in a tizzy, believing that such a strong governmental presence is somehow anti-democratic (not sure I follow the logic here, but I hear all arguments). So what you need to do is go in from the Alameda side, but instead of walking down the fountain-lined ramps, go down the stairs to the parking lot and enter from there. Don’t (like I did) run down the vehicle ramp, because there is a little pedestrian with a circle around him and a red line through him that tells you in a clear pictogram that no! this is not for you.

Other (hopefully) temporary preparations for the 18th include the closing of the main entrance into Quinta Normal, which led to me riding around in circles for many, many minutes, trying to get back out onto Matucana and back home, and the installation of bleachers outside of the Centro Cultural Las Condes (in El Golf) which seems to have also undergone a facelift in recent years.

I’m really looking foward to the upcoming and ongoing cultural deluge here in Santiago in the coming weeks, though I could probably do without the (likely) teargas on the 11th (demonstrations re: 1973 coup probable), and definite passing out of alchohol-reeking humans all over the street starting about the 16th.

Wholesome fun can also be had, at the Parque Ines de Suarez Fonda (Fiestas Patrias party), which is probably the most fome (boring) and family-oriented fonda, but still pretty fun, and especially good if you’re skittish in crowds, where you can play with tops (trompos), cup and ball (emboque), climb the greased pole (palo ensebado), play rayuela (a game that’s maybe a teeny bit like the Italian bocce) and perhaps fly kites (volantines), but it gets a little crowded in there, so you might prefer to do your kite-flying elsewhere. Parque O’Higgins is popular, but a bit more rough-and-tumble.

trying on her new wings

And of course, the military parade (parada militar) on the 19th is always a big draw.

women bringing up the rear

But more on that later. Now go out and watch a movie. For free!