Saturday, October 6, 2012

monumental museum... and amely.

the tourism-factor is low in santiago. we've got a cultural museum... and a monument.
i'm always at a loss for what to do with visitors. there are some rivers to swim in and some of the scenery outside of the city is gorgeous, but the museum gets old. i've been there ten times since may. and the exhibits haven't changed. and it takes about 30 minutes to see all there is to see.

and the monument used to be fun,but now it's not. the craziness was taken away when the city government decided to spruce the place up and get rid of the riff-raff. the fun nights of merengue dancing in the streets are over, but don't fret! it's been replaced by a museum documenting the restoration of the republic. 

what's that? you ask. i have no idea. really. there are some two or three independence days and i get them confused. this one has something to do with haiti. or france. or spain.

the museum is filled with old-school dioramas and confusing explanations. the stairway to get to the top of the monument is worse than the spiral case in the statue of liberty.  but on the top floor, there are statue-replicas of carnival figures. each character of carnaval tells a cultural story - from the robalagallina woman with children hidden under her skirt to the lechones meant to scare evil away.

amely loves it. and since we don't do carnaval, this is a safe place for her to see her characters.
this woman is marchante or a market-woman. she strolls through the streets selling fruits and vegetables from the basket atop her head, flowers from her basket and beans from her apron. amely thinks that's too much work. 
the lechon wears a different mask in every region of the country. he carries a dried pigs bladder to beat people up with, and a rope whip to make a lot of noise. of course, he's amely's favorite.

the robalagallina is a man, dressed as a woman, with lots of little-ones hidden under the skirt. when they enter the colmados the children steal things - like hens (roba: steal, la gallina: hen). amely thinks it's funny.

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