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Santiago day 2-3

My default plan for a new city: walk around a lot. I've mostly done that, plus a museum trip today.

Yesterday at 5pm there were parade-like sounds again, which I tracked down to two dummers and a flutist making an impressive amount of sound for three people. Street performers, I guess; a fair number of those on Huerfanos, the street I'm on, which is pedestrian-only for a good length.

Stopped by a hole in a wall and got a sandwich, churrasco italiano. The proprietress seemed to ask if I knew what I was getting, I got 'carne' and 'palta'. "Si." After while, it came, lots of tastiness on a high-end hamburger bun. Slice of roast beef I think, bacon, avocado, sour cream... I tried eating it like a burger for a while, but it was so juicy I gave up and went to the provided knife and fork. Very good, and 2 mil pesos with tip, which is about $4.

Found markets northwest of Plaza de Armas, lots of meat markets suddenly, and produce stands on the sidewalk, getting bananas or oranges or peaches for about 40 cents a pound. Or avocados, though I haven't gotten any yet.

Further north, the density drops off rapidly. Buildings are wall to wall, but 1-2 stories. Got empty feeling and depressing and I'd been walking for a while via twisty paths. The tourist map I got from G&S doesn't print all the streets outside of downtown; good that the blocks aren't as long as they look -- long enough in reality -- bad that I lose track of where I am. There was that "Sunnydale at dusk" feeling I described in London last year, though this being around 30 S latitude, actual dusk was a ways off even at 8pm.

Websites suggest Chileans are not big on public displays of affection. Visual evidence suggest otherwise, especially along a riverside park.

The Museo de Belles Artes seems to be the fine arts museum. Cheap - 600 pesos ($1.20) admission - and perhaps free when I went, I think the staff was on siesta so just "guaranteed admission"; a ticket seller was back when I left at 4. Museum is big but the accessible collection isn't that big, I'm not sure it's bigger than the IU art museum. Three galleries are each devoted ot a single artist; I was intrigued by Palolo Valdés Bunster, a sculptor with a lot of works that looked inspired by pre-classical Greek or other really ancient but high-dynamism stuff. Then there's a sequence of rooms for Chilean painters, from 1800 on. The style sequence is fairly standard: early 19th century portraiture, mid-19th photorealism in portraits and landscapes, late 19th/early 20th Impressionism and Picasso-ist and friends, modern art wackiness.

I've been to one supermarket, which had the lameness of downtown supermarkets. I got Brazilian steaks from it, they didn't have Argentine ones. Peaches have been decent, not top quality like I had in La Serena.

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Damien Sullivan

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