It’s been a long trip here, but the time has actually gone by really quickly. Here are the details of the last week-and-a-bit in Santiago:
- Mon 11: Worked from home all day today, then watched a movie in the evening. I had an upset stomach so wasn’t feeling too crash-hot to get up to anything exciting.
- Tue 12: Did some more laundry, worked from home, then tried to go to Santa Lucia in the evening. Apparently it’s not easy to ride the Metro around 7pm, because it was completely packed, so that we couldn’t even get on. We gave up and went in the other direction instead, towards Tobalaba. We walked around for a bit there and ended up having some tasty sandwiches and more Kross beer for dinner.
- Wed 13: Worked at home in the morning, then made our way to the Santa Lucia stop at lunch time. We walked around a bit, then ended up working from a place called (I think) La Observatorio. Before it closed, we went up to Santa Lucia to have a look at the amazing view of the city. From there we came home and then went back over to Barrio Brasil for dinner and drinks. We were at a huge place called Baires, which seemed to take up a few buildings next to each other, and go back further than possible from the street. We caught some music from some street performers and then headed back over to our neighborhood. Heading for a nightcap, we went to Laguria and ended up with a straight Pisco. For future reference, don’t bother: it’s horrible on its own! Pisco Sour = good, Pisco Neat = bad. We also discovered that one of the fun places along Providencia, Bar Central, had shut down that very day!
- Thu 14: More working from home today, and grabbed a sandwich from Castaño (bakery-type chain which is everywhere) for lunch. Turns out it’s quite good. In the evening I joined Robin at Basilica after her “language interchange” meetup, where she was the only English-speaker. From there we headed over to Bellavista to meet up with Laura and her friends for mas cervezas y chorrillano (fries, onion, meat, eggs, all piled together; perfect drinking-food)
- Fri 15: Another day of working from the apartment, and then we caught the Metro to watch Rodolfo play handball again. Afterward, Emily and Rodolfo joined us back at our place for a vodka watermelon (inspired by the melon con vino) at the pool on our roof. We ordered in some pizza and just hung out chatting and drinking/eating.
- Sat 16: Went on a day-tour to Valparaiso/Viña del Mar (again), this time with Pastor. Separate post coming soon covering that day of adventure.
- Sun 17: In addition to the Santiago Metro Marathon (post coming soon!), there was another election today here in Chile. By the end of the day, it had been announced that Piñera had won. The streets went crazy. People driving around waving big flags out their windows, honking their horns, throwing confetti. It was nuts. We met up with Jorge and decided to walk to Baquedano/Plaza Italia, where everyone was partying it up like it was 1999. I’m a little paranoid about things like that, so we headed back to our apartment, had a bottle of wine up at the pool (with an amazing view over the city), then walked over to Jorge’s house and had an amazing bottle of wine there (again, with a fantastic view). Turned into a pretty good day 🙂
- Mon 18: Started working at home in the morning, then went out to Los Dominicos (last metro end-point) for lunch and to hang out with Jorge one more time. There is a small “village” at the Los Dominicos station full of artesenal handicrafts, hand-made things, jewelry, etc. For lunch, I had pastel de choclo, which is a very traditional Chilean dish. It was amazing. I absolutely loved it. We bought some handmade Chilean clothes here and also a couple of clay pots. The village was really cute and I’d recommend it, although most of the things there were very clearly “tourist-priced”. In the evening, we went to Giratorio Restaurant in Los Leones, which is one of those revolving restaurants. We had our last “nice” dinner here in Santiago and enjoyed a delicious bottle of wine.
- Tue 19: Last day here! Sorted out some things in the morning, then went to Macumba Café for a coffee. Yes, café con piernas exists, and it’s a bizarre experience! Finished uploading/writing this post, did some more work in the afternoon, packed bags and getting ready to be picked up by Jorge who was kind enough to offer to take us to the airport.
It’s been an epic trip, and in the spirit of being an experiment, I think it was a success. It’s been quite hard for me to stick to working, which is part of why I just worked from the apartment a lot of the time; because I felt like I wasn’t “getting in my hours”. We’ve both had a wonderful time, and already want to do it again. Here are some final observations for now from our 40 days in Chile:
- It was more expensive than we’d though/hoped.
- Service in general (in cafes, restaurants etc) is not as good as in the USA, but then the US is very service (tip) oriented.
- We felt like a lot of things here were almost there, but not quite. Concerts were good, but the audio was off a bit, the host was strange. Service in expensive places looked good, but then left out things like a glass per person when you ordered water. These little things added up to be kind of annoying (I know, I sound like a picky American). I might post a follow-up about this one when I get my thoughts together.
- There are a lot of beautiful women here 🙂
- There are “genie-pants” and similar, puffy clothing are everywhere (I assume to try to stay a little cooler in the heat).
- Tights also feature prominently on the ladies here, especially under one of those dress/shirt things.
- The Metro system is fantastic, I love it.
- There is a pretty strong police presence, and they seem to be reasonably friendly (and apparently NOT corrupt, unlike some other South American police forces).
- The pollution is bad, but I guess you kind of get used to it. It’s a pity to look out on what would otherwise be a beautiful landscape, only to have it obscured by haze. Most people here don’t see any hope for it, because of the geography of the area.
- In general, we weren’t too excited by the food. Seafood is good, fruit is good, most other things were only OK.
- There are lots of parks and trees throughout the city and they are generally quite well maintained and very pretty.
- Stray dogs; everywhere. Seriously. Every park, street corner, plaza, etc has stray dogs in it. Apparently there are no “dog catchers” or dog pounds here, so they just roam free.
Just for fun, here’s the fountain in the park near our apartment (on Providencia). It’s really impressive at night!