Valparaiso explodes in brilliant, luminous, and pastel colors everywhere you turn. The buildings. The worker's clothes. The street art. The garage doors. The skyline as the sun falls in the late afternoon.
If there was ever any shred of a doubt that Pablo Neruda, nee Neftalí Ricardo Reyes, lived an epic, fantastical life, it can be permanently eradicated by visiting La Chascona in Santiago's Bellavista neighborhood.
This is not road cycling. Nor mountain climbing. Nor space travel. It is immersion in the ocean. There is a life force that imbues the spirit. The imagination is taken back through all the evolution of mankind, back to when we were all swimmers, not land beasts.
Thirteen years after I first applied to the Fulbright program, six months after we began the process of preparing to sell our house, and one day after countless trips in and out of the house, we are an hour or so from landing in Santiago, Chile.
The news that the Chilean government has exhumed Pablo Neruda's remains, to determine whether or not his death was caused by poisoning, brings a new, but not surprising, twist to Neruda's life, even forty years after his demise.
Twenty years after my first class at Casa Hispana, I began my translation of Pablo Neruda's "100 Sonnets of Love," a collection of sonnets written to Neruda's wife Matilde. Each one of these poems is a flash of light, a lightning strike of love.
Political screeds are tricky, though relevant in an election year. It may be why the Manhattan Theatre Club revived Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, which pits a righteous Dr. Stockmann, who rails against endangering public welfare, against everyone else.