A surprisingly quiet capital

Trip Start Jan 12, 2013
Trip End Mar 15, 2013

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Flag of Chile  ,
Thursday, January 17, 2013

Catching a ride with a local Chilean, I got to spend a day in Santiago. The first stop was a bit south of the capital city in Buin. The Buin Zoo had animals from around the world, but I was most curious about the ones from South America. They had lots of big cats that I liked seeing (jaguar, lion, tiger, black panther, ocelot) and my favorite was the alpacas. Alpacas are similar to llamas but more slender. They have wool that is commonly used local clothing and accessories.

The next stop was to a traditional Chilean restaurant. I had oysters in a nice white wine & butter sauce. It was delicious. Then we went to "La Moneda" which is the square where the president's palace is. From that square, we went through the "Paseo Estado" which is a main walking street with many shops and the "Plaza de Armas". Afterward, we stopped by the market and went on to the "Cerro Santa Lucia". We climbed up the hill and got some good views of the city. Finally, we relaxed in the "Barńo Lastarria" or the Lastarria neighborhood where there was a secondhand market on the street and cool cafés.

Overall, I got a good impression of the city. It was like most cities with how busy it felt, full of shopping areas and businesses and a wide variety of residents. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised with how quiet everything was. My Chilean friend explained that the atmosphere of being quieter was unlike most other Latin cities. There was almost no honking, few scooters/vespas and nobody shouting on the streets to sell things. Too bad more cities aren't like that!

Edit (3/1/13): I added a video with one of the most fascinating things about the city. In the crosswalk, the person who guides you walks faster and faster as time runs out. Amazing!!!
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