21.11.2008 - 26.11.2008
Shaking off the jet lag and a hounding cold, our lovely host Paulina escorted us to have a look around the city centre. The metro system here is efficient, clean and easy to navigate. The city centre is a conglomeration of old and new architecture, the streets were bustling with vendors, buskers, beggars and lots of pedestrians. We made our way through the pedestrian promenade, borded by rows of maple trees on each side, towards plaza de Almas the old city square. A tourist mecha: its a central point for most of the museums, artists and buskers and a good place to sit and people watch.
Taking a quick rest, we were witness to traditional performance: Chilean drummers, who have a bass drum and cymbals on there backs, they whack the drum on one side with a stick and on the other with a mallet to create two different sounds, they also have a strap to there feet which connects to two cymbals (hihat style). They then begin to spin around really really fast, still playing, its very impressive.
We then endevoured to attend to our museum studies begining with an old Metropolitan cathedral, which was a lovely sanctuary from the days heat. Then on to a museum of Chilian history that contained artifacts dating back to 2500BC and up untill the assasination of Salvador Allande, and closing note was the insinuation of Pinochets take over...a bit sombering. A part of Chilean history that has no place in museums only in cemeteries and poeples collective memory. The museaum of Precolombian cultures has an astonishing collection of articacts from the various tribes that have populated the South Amerian continent. But seing an exhibition of Frida Kahlo paintings was a highlight of the day for Tanya.
Everyday we are more and more alarmed by the expanse of this huge city. We visited a park located on a hill close to the city centre, San Cristobal. The long winding road up led us to a magnificant veiw of the city and to the statue of the Virgin (like Rio but smaller).
The urban development spans into the horizon, the only limitation to its expanse are the hills. 7 million people and growing is an astonishing sight. The locals tell us that Santiago is not representative of Chile. The day in the park was a lot of fun, just cruising around taking in the sights and enjoing the sun. To decend from the hill we took a cruisey gondolar ride.
Tim; Things I could get used to,
The temperature, it hasnt dropped below 24 and is a balmy 29-31C most days, no cloud and apparently summer lasts from October to March.
The price of Liquor, a bottle of Grants is about $24 and a 12y is about $55! A good bottle of wine is about $10.
The Pool, its a pool, what more can I say, except that it is on the roof of the apartment. easy.
Things I could not get used to;
The kaos, its Kaos.
The noise, its non stop, all day all night.
The dogs, so many street dogs layin in the sun and lookin hungry. (maybe I can take a few home on the plane...)
Dairy, all milk is in cartons and generally long life, sour cream is runny and cheese is bought by the slice.