Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Santiago Sky

A major problem in Santiago is air pollution.  The combination of a lot of industry, little regulation, and living inside a hole in the Andes Mountains has created a basin of fairly contaminated air.  Often, I cannot even see the mountain ranges to the east of the city because of heavy smog.  Here's a couple shots of what the sky looks like when it's particularly bad:

Usually it's not like this, but it's not uncommon to have a quite obscured view.  But it's just something you get used to, and like all things that repeat, we become desensitized.  

But now, we entered the rainy season.  And with the rainy season comes...rain.  Last week, there was a day where it was a light rain essentially all day.  But after getting next to nothing for over 5 months, the streets were insanely slick, and most people ended up just staying home.  On one hand, it was kind of miserable, but it was also really refreshing to get a little humidity in the air.  I got one of my more satisfying night's rests that night.  

And then the next day, the sky completely opened up.  Clear skies, I could see for kilometers (miles) around Santiago, and I finally got a good view of the city I've been living in for over 10 months now.  But really, the show was just beginning.  I got home around 8 pm that day, and stepped out onto my balcony, and saw this:

Sadly, my camera didn't really capture the majesty of this view.  The clouds were this spectacular golden hue, and the sky behind it was pure blue, and evolved into a faded pink in the distance.  Watching the clouds roll by was otherwordly.  Excited, I grabbed my camera and took to the streets.

Once down on the street, the sun had fallen further into the horizon, and the blue sky was giving way to red. Walking around my neighborhood, I was able to take some pretty amazing pictures.

Having your perspective jarred every now and then is a great experience.  It reminds you that so many of the things we do aren't necessarily how they have to be, it's just how we've been doing them for so long.  Routine desensitizes, and if you're not careful it bleeds into other aspects of your life.  Mix it up.  Do things that are not normal for you - scare yourself.  You might just like what you find.