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So, Santiago

I flew back into Santiago Chile yesterday. I'm avoiding taking lots of notes on a visibly expensive smartphone, so you'll get what I remember in my room instead. 'room' is actually a small downtown apartment off Airbnb; it's good, though I've got some minor complaints, but I'm paying less for more than I'd get out of a hotel, so whatever.

($62/day for over a week, $75/day if shorter; other Airbnb places kind of bracketed that, from 40-90. Hotels seemed more like 90-150.)

Walk signals: they count down in red, telling you how long you have until you can cross, as well as in green. This was confusing at first, fortunately I hadn't taken the (red) numbers as a cue to step into traffic. Today I noticed that the cartoon figures are actually animations; instead of a green guy snapshot, you have a green guy actually walking. And walking faster and faster as the numbers approach zero. Seriously.

Like downtown La Serena, some of the downtown area has the walkway level with the streets, sans curb, and both in some sort of tile or hard plastic rather than the usual substance. I still have no idea why, though I wondered if the material might be more pothole resistant -- not that this climate seems good for them -- or just harder in general, and thus worth the investment for busy streets you don't want to disrupt.

CentroPuerto bus from the airport to Los Heroes station was 30 minutes, I think. Bought a BIP card from staff in the station, had a quick ride to Santa Lucia. So far I've just walked around downtown a lot. Small block, and mall arcades in the middle of blocks too, so there's quite a lot to keep one going in circles. Lots of Chinese restaurants, seems harder to find 'native' ones. I had an Ecuardorian dinner last night -- steak, rice, beans, plantain slices? The Ecuadorian bits were probably the spices and sauce of the beans, the presumed plantain, and the tangy avocado sauce for spreading on the appetizer bread. Also the table came with the world's lightest olive oil, if it was olive, and what seemed to be lemon juice.

I've seen the big central square, Plaza de Armas, and entered the Basilica de la Merced, which looks very impressive on the inside to someone who's never been in many churches. (Partly because I haven't done that much tourism qua tourism, partly because while I heard of people going to see churches, my parents never told me what the etiquette was so it still feels a bit foreboding. Foreign territory and all.) Mass was going on, a bit after noon; there weren't all that many people.

There was what sounded like some big loud parade around noon, but I didn't find it when I finally got out to look for it.

Found a couple of comic stores and poked my head in. Both have all their material wrapped in plastic; no browsing! Wasn't sure about one, the other was clearly all native or translated material, not straight foreign import. Los Legion de Superheroes.

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Damien Sullivan

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May 2018


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