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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Chile (Part 7): Seafood Scam and Glamourous Awards Ceremony

Note: It's better for you to read
before you start reading this entry:

20th of August, 2007. Last day of the Santiago International Film Festival.

After days of working on extending my stay in Chile, things were finally finalized, and I would leave on the 23rd instead. Of course, all these didn't happen that easily, there were still some frustration involved, like the Grand Hyatt Hotel sending me off to another wild goose's chase at the LAN CHILE office, only to have them, tell me again, with visible annoyances in their faces, that they couldn't do anything for me, and that I should be speaking to the Malaysian Airlines office (I would later find out from these people that there was actually a Malaysian Airlines office in Santiago!!!!)

But with that out of the way, I decided to go do some sightseeing and shopping with Hu Shu (that's the Chinese director of I WANT TO DANCE, my first meeting with him chronicled in Swifty in Chile (Part 3)) since I missed out some places the day before, and Hu Shu was about to leave Chile the following day.

First place we went to was the La Moneda Presidential Palace, a place recommended by my Spanish tutors.

Entrance of the La Moneda Presidential Palace
The entrance of the La Moneda Presidential Palace

Was hoping to actually enter the palace, but turned out that we could only visit the courtyard...

Courtyard of La Moneda Presidential Palace

Courtyard of La Moneda Presidenial Palace 2

With a guard in La Moneda Presidential Palace

We continued our way towards the PLAZA DE ARMAS (which I described in better detail on Swifty In Chile 6.5 Rediscovering Santiago and The Meaning of Film Festivals), but I saw a nice-looking old building and snapped a photo immediately.

A building in Santiago

Was led to the Central Market by Hu Shu, just so we could try the fabled seafood talked about by so many in the city. Entering the Central Market at first, I was reminded of the Fremantle Market (and a bit of Cicerello) in Perth, and also the Fish Market in Sydney... unfortunately, unlike the two places, my experience at the Central Market wasn't a positive one.

When we bit into the mussels served to us, it was seriously crunchy, I spat out immediately, they were sand, it was gross. We complained to the waiter, the waiter said that 'male mussels are like that'. And after that, the guy actually had the balls to demand for a certain amount of money for tips? Very uncool.

People in Santiago are proud of the Central Market, so I didn't really have the heart to tell anyone what happened after that.

Example of conversation:
Someone: So, you ate seafood at the Central Market?
Me: Yes.
Someone: Did you like it?
Me: Oh, it's pretty good.

Night came.

I went to the awards ceremony, which, to my consternation, was conducted entirely in Spanish. I was utterly lost.

Who won what?
What award is this?
What category is this?

One of the festival staffers, Joaquin, offered to help translate, but he was sitting next to Hu Shu, and two seats away from me, so I couldn't really hear him much, thus I remained lost.

The Elephant And The Sea didn't win anything. The majority of the big prizes under the International competition category went to the hot favourite, Red Road, which won a Jury Prize in last year's Cannes Film Festival.

Some photos I took before and after the awards ceremony:

With Joaquin
Joaquin Vergara, who later led Hu Shu and I to a nice Mexican restaurant for supper

With Wolfgang Becker, director of Goodbye Lenin
With jury member and internationally acclaimed German director of GOOD BYE LENIN!, Wolfgang Becker

Ramiro, Marina and me
Center is Ramiro Gomez from Paraguay, who just won a BEST DIRECTOR award under the Latin American category for his documentary, Tierra Roja, and right is super producer Marina from Argentina, whom I went to Pablo Neruda's House, La Chascona, with

With director Hu Shu
With Hu Shu!! We were the only Asians in the Festival! Yellow power?

With Miriana Moro, actress producer of Drama Mex
With Mexican actress/ producer Miriana Moro, we were both the youngest guests of the festival!

The film festival may have ended, but my adventure in Chile had just begun...

Go to Swifty In Chile (Part 8): Visiting Pablo Neruda's Second House - La Sebastiana In Valparaiso