Claudio Saavedra

Go forward in time to October 2005.

Wed 2005/Sep/28
  • My summer German course finished yesterday. We had the exam past Friday and the oral exam past Monday. It wasn't too hard and it was all good for us. Yesterday was the last phonetic class and now we are free from German classes for 3 weeks.

    My schedule is as follows: tomorrow, we travel to Prague in a three days excursion. We will visit the museums, interesting places and of course the golden Prague night, thanks to DAAD sponsorship. Of course, not all is fun, we have to keep a log of what we do in Prague and in the first German class of the upcoming semester deliver it.

    Next week begin the university work. I have to choose the lectures that I will do in semester, and go to the informational lectures that will have place that week. Also, I will choose a sport class, I guess that swimming is ok to me.

    Then, the October 10th, will be the first day university. I'm a little excited and nervous about it, as I think that my German is still poor, even when I'm starting to remember more German words than English ones (e.g. I had to look for Vorlesung in a dictionary to remember the word lecture, ugh). I hope to improve a little more my hearing skills during this days, trying to avoid Spanish people contact. Spanish doesn't help here :-(.

Sat 2005/Sep/24
  • Yesterday morning did my final exam on German for the Intensivkurs. It wasn't so hard, but long.

    Monday will be the oral exam, and then the intensive German course will be over. During the semester, I'll have weekly only three hours of German class, so I'll be able to do some other (more interesting) things. Hurrah!

  • Later, in the afternoon, went to the beautiful park Sächsische Schweiz, a composition between sandstones and the Elbe river that's only 45 minutes from Dresden with the train, close to the Czech border.

    We walked through the forests and mountains for about four hours. The landscape is wonderful, but you can end up totally exhaust, if your condition is not good enough.

    It called my attention to see a lot of old men and women walking over the mountains, looking so fresh and without difficulties. It seems the people there go wandern periodically so they get used to, but many of us were a total disaster.

Thu 2005/Sep/22
  • Andrea: Thanks.

  • Today went again to the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister. This time, however, I decided to pay to go with my camera, and made some pictures of the gallery.

    Unfortunately, there is a restriction in the usage of the pictures that you can make inside the gallery, so I prefer not to publish them. Anyway, I can send a couple of pics to whoever wants them. I guess that's inside personal use.

    I still think that the Madonna is just great, but today I could admire many other pictures and started to feel curious about the Gemäldegalerie Neuemeister, where there are no Rembrandts, no Raffaels, etc. but good new artists. I will try to convince our program coordinator to take us there, but if I fail, I will go anyway. I'm starting to enjoy galleries.

Tue 2005/Sep/20
  • Tuesday, September 20th and still without e-mail. Last week I've purchased some items in Internet and arranged a meeting for today using my university e-mail account, but since Saturday the services are down, and have no idea how the transaction goes and if the meeting will have place.

    My friends in the Facultad told me that the university is in a recess for the Fiestas Patrias, so it's (i hope that not too) probable that the services won't be fixed until next Monday.

    I've trusted always in my university e-mail account a lot, but I'm seriously thinking on dumping it and sign for a free webmail account. Probably I have now like 1000 e-mails queued and counting.

Thu 2005/Sep/15
  • Next Sunday is Chilean independence day anniversary. Of course, Chileans in Dresden can't stay in home without making something, so we'll have in Saturday a dinner with typical food dieciochera, like Empanadas, Anticuchos, Asados and drinks like Jote, Piscola and Ponche (Unfortunately it is impossible to have Chicha). The music, of course Cuecas and Cumbias.

    After the dinner we'll have a party that probably will last until late Sunday. I think probably it will be a good party, but it won't be as good as would be in Chile.

    Which one is my room?

Sun 2005/Sep/11
  • Yesterday, we went to Berlin, in a fast visit to the historical points, organized by TUDIAS. We leaved to Berlin at 7.30 in two buses, in a travel that took 3 hours. Once in Berlin, the history arrived and showed itself in every corner.

    At 10.30 we had a break for lunch, close to the Zoologischer Garten. Instead of wasting half hour inside an Imbiss, went to the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche, that's just 3 minutes from the Zoo.

    This church was built in 1891-1895 by order of Kaiser Wilhelm II as a memorial for his grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm I. Later in 1943, during WW2, the church was destroyed during a bombing. Only part of the belfry survived, and the ruins remains until today, as a memorial to the pain and horrors of the war.

    And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

    After the break for lunch, we had a guided tour through the city. I have to say that I didn't like at all the tour, because we were allowed to see many beautiful places only through the bus windows, without good position to make pictures and therefore many of the pictures we made has window reflections. In the few places we were allowed to walk out the bus, we had only 10 mins. to take pictures and walk around. A total waste and so I felt really angry.

    But the visit to the East Side Gallery was enough to change my mood. Yes, I was there just 15 minutes and also was the last one to jump on the bus again, but I finally went there, in that 1.3 kms long piece of history.

    East Side Gallery is one of the three portions of the Berlin Wall that still remains. It is a memorial for freedom and consists of approx. 100 paintings of artists from all over the world and was started in 1989.

    It is a shame, but vandalism and graffitis have made this memorial's life hard. Many of the paints are not in the original state, and therefore a non-profit organization has started the restoring of the memorial since a couple years ago. Anyway, people making graffitis to express "I was here", "I love my girlfriend" and shit like that are still hurting the memorial. I saw a graffiti dated 2005 made by a guy from Valparaíso. Stupid butthead.

    The other two portions of the Wall are in Postdamer Platz and Bernauer Straße. The rest has been all physically destroyed during the years post reunification. It is somehow in the heart of Berliners the desire to forget everything that happened, to see the city as beautiful as it used to be, without a trace of the Wall. I don't know if that's possible, but feel like it is needed that somehow always exists evidence of what happened, so we and our children won't forget how many damage can be done if we don't measure our actions.

    Later, we visited the Deutscher Bundestag. The building of the Parliament is a high contrast picture, as its outside is classical as it was before the war, but its inside is modern and totally new.

    We had then, at 16.00 hrs, free time so we could eat something and visit whatever we wanted. So with Jorge and Gustavo went to Brandenburger Tor to make some pictures. Unfortunately, the construction of a U-Bahn station makes the view a little ugly, but anyway, the Tor is just beautiful.

    Finally, we visited the Mauermuseum besides Checkpoint Charlie, the most important gate between Ostberlin and Westberlin during the Cold War years. Checkpoint Charlie was well known for many events, being the most famous and terrible, the death of Peter Fechter, in August 1962.

    Fechter, a 18 years old kid tried to escape from the DDR by crossing the Wall close to the Checkpoint. He was hit by the guards of the DDR, and left bleeding to death in the east side of Wall. Neither the DDR guards nor the American soldiers went to help him, because both were afraid of provoking each others. Fetcher cried and screamed for help and mercy during about one hour before dying, in view of many impotent Berliners including journalists, but no one went to help him. Finally, DDR guards did retrieve his death body, under the shouts of the Westberliners, who immediately demonstrated against the success.

    The Westberliners placed quickly a Cross in the West side besides the place of the murder. Now it is possible to see it in the Mauermuseum.

    This museum has a lot of press material and objects of relevance during the years of the Wall. Art, objects used to escape from the DDR and many other information can be found there. Visiting this museum is a really enriching (but also a dreary) experience.

    Many of the guys that traveled to Berlin yesterday stay there to discover the Berlin night with our Chilean friends that are studying in the TU-Berlin. I couldn't. Before we went to Checkpoint Charlie, I was tired, but I wanted to stay, given Pablo, a friend from the Facultad, traveled from Karlsruhe to Berlin to see us and to party. But after being in the Museum I felt sad, a little shocked and decided not to stay and go back to Dresden with the Sommerkurs people. Too much war information for one day, maybe.

    For many people in Europe, probably the war is a fact and there is nothing new on it. However, I think that for us, those who live in Southamerica the facts and successes during and after the war are just history (in particular in Chile, very poorly thought in schools) that is no much more real than Star Wars or any other film-fiction war. I'm sorry to say it, but we just can't feel it. It is too far away and there is no way that we can measure the size of the successes that in Europe had place.

    Being in Berlin is just the second step in my communion with the War history. It has been much more harder than seeing the Altstadt in Dresden still being restored, and I know that it is nothing compared with what I'll see when I'll visit Auschwitz concentration camp. I think that will be very hard but I have to do it. I have to feel it, and think that everyone once in life should do it. It can be painful, but it's nothing compared to what felt those who really lived it. And as a way to respect them, and to keep in our lives the remember of what we shouldn't do again, we must keep the memory of the war alive. Forever.

Fri 2005/Sep/09
  • One image says more than 1000 words. So I made a selection of the best pictures of August in Dresden. If anyone wants a high quality version of any picture, please write me.

Thu 2005/Sep/08
  • When I was in Chile, I loved to see every morning (when possible) the news. I didn't matter if seeing them in Canal 13 or in TVN, both news reports are good enough.

    But suddenly (i think early this year, not sure), Canal 13 decided to stop making a news report in the classical style, and change it to a more informal report, En boca de todos, where there is space for personal opinions, and of course, less contents (or facts).

    After that, my only chance was to see the TVN news report, Unfortunately the only one in the style I like.

    Today I had time to come to my Wohnheim to lunch, and I wanted to see the Internet broadcast of TVN, to see the morning news report (Germany is GMT+02 and Chile GMT-04, so while I lunch at 13:30, in Chile it is 07:30). But I found out that TVN is not broadcasting in Internet for people outside Chile, however, the send you to a website where you can pay to receive a high quality live broadcast.

    TVN is a government TV station. They claim to be "el canal de todos los chilenos" (the "all Chileans" channel), but they don't allow us, the Chileans who live outside the country, to see the channel. We must pay. And I won't, because it is not supposed to be this way.

Wed 2005/Sep/07
  • GNOME 2.12 has been released. I'm happy about it because I love a lot many of the improvements that the community has given the desktop.

    Maybe Fabian should start sending its splash screens to the next releases. Why not dude?

Mon 2005/Sep/05
  • If my mother read this, she would cry:

    You scored as Satanism. Your beliefs most closely resemble those of Satanism! Before you scream, do a bit of research on it. To be a Satanist, you don't actually have to believe in Satan. Satanism generally focuses upon the spiritual advancement of the self, rather than upon submission to a deity or a set of moral codes. Do some research if you immediately think of the satanic cult stereotype. Your beliefs may also resemble those of earth-based religions such as paganism.



















    Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
    created with

Sun 2005/Sep/04
  • I did it. Today was my first time. I'm happy about it.

    No, it's not about sex. Today I tried one of the most popular ways to learn foreign languages, at least in Europe -- tandem.

    Basically, tandem consists of a meeting in a bar or a public place, by people who speak different languages, and want to learn the language spoken by the other one. Then, during intervals of 15 or 30 min. you talk about anything in one of the languages, and then switch. Simple and effective.

    The interesting is that normally the talk is about cultural issues, so you don't only practice the language, but you also learn about the people.

    So, I looked in the Internet for a Tandempartnerin in Dresden, and today met her in Albertplatz and went to Katy's Garage Biergarten to have some drinks. This German girl is learning Spanish because she studies Romanistik and also wants to go to South America to study.

    I felt comfortable with the chat. We switched the language every 15 mins, and talked for about two hours, and I feel I learnt a lot of new words. Also, I think at the beginning she was a bit nervous because her Spanish skills, but after one hour she began talking way more fluid.

    Probably, we'll start meeting two times a week. It is ok, because I think that I'm lacking more listening. This way I'll be able to understand better the way the Germans speak, which is right now my biggest problem.

Sat 2005/Sep/03
  • Going to the Flohmarkt can be addictive. This morning, I went to this lovely market besides the Elbe river, looking for some pots and things for the kitchen, and finished buying things that I don't need, but for a really cheap price.

    I bought a coffemachine, 4 L.V. Beethoven CDs (including Symphonies No. 6 and 9, Pathétique, Violin Concerto Op. 61 and others), The Matrix DVD, Alice in Chains Unplugged, a beer T-Shirt, PC speakers, a PC microphone, a pot and a little skillet, all for less than 23 €. I'm very happy.

  • (well, I must be honest and say that the pot, the coffemachine, the skillet and the microphone, that are the things that I really needed, cost less than 5 €)

Fri 2005/Sep/02
  • Past Tuesday went to the Technische Sammlungen der Stadt Dresden. This museum is a collection of machines that draw the past of the technology development of the humanity in several regards, including photography, music players, calculators, writing machines, cash machines, and of course, computer hardware.

    Once again, it was needed to pay to take pictures, but this time we decide to make the 3 €, and to take as many pictures as possible.

    The machine in the picture above is the famous Mechanical Calculator by Leibnitz (1671), the first mechanical machine capable of multiplications and division. It is just a beautiful peace of work. The multiplication and division in this machine are the result of subsequent additions or subtractions, therefore it is probably not a fast machine for big calculations (20 * 20 would need twenty iterations, of course that's not fast).

    One of the beauties that we saw on the collection was two old computers, one made of vacuum tubes and other made of transistors, both with a huge size and probably made in the mid-60's. I have to say that I'm ashamed of not having taken notes about both computers, but I can compensate that with a nice picture.

    After a couple of hours in the guided visit to the museum went to the tower of the building, to watch the beautiful city from another point of view. Lustig.

Go backwards in time to August 2005.

Thu 2005/Sep/01 17:42:10 +0200