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Published: August 25th 2007
My Spanish class is made up for three students - me, Paula (who is Swedish) and Amelia (who is also Swedish). Amelia's father is Chilean. She said when she was growing up, her father spoke to her in Spanish but she replied to him in Swedish so while she can understand Spanish, she can't speak it properly. The other student, Paula, can speak some Spanish so that just leaves me, the idiot, sitting there scratching my head and asking the girls what it means in English. There is a rule that no English is to be spoken during the lesson so when I ask for a translation, I get a dirty look from the teacher. So I find I'm reciting the answers she wants from memory as opposed to actually understanding what I'm saying.
There are two currencies here: cuban convertible pesos (CUC) and local pesos. There's a huge difference in value and it's frowned up on for tourists to use local pesos but with the Carnival on it's the only money I can use to buy things at the stalls.
I asked my salsa teacher, Ramon, whether there were nightclubs in Santiago. He said there were a few, and they mix all music styles. So I asked whether there were any gay nightclubs. He paused and then said no, he claims gays mix with straights in all the clubs. I don't believe that -- there has to be some kind of gay scene separate from the straights. I want to find it but it will be difficult seeing as I'm female, white and don't speak Spanish.
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