Peace and Protests
Trip Start Feb 02, 2013
41Trip End Mar 25, 2013
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We flew into Santiago and found a city that is the most European place we have been to so far. The people all dress in European (or USA) clothes and, except for the fine architecture and statues around the place, there is little to distinguish this city culturally from many others. The weather is fine and although it is after 7 in the evening, it is still broad daylight. We wandered down to the food district, past one of the many universities, and found some excellent food. It is far more expensive here than any other place we've been, although apparently the real estate is as cheap as - only US$2000 per square metre.
Then this morning we were picked up for a city tour with a guide who told great stories about the local history, politics and personalities. We had the joy of going past a street protest. No idea what they were protesting about but apparently here there is a season for it and that season has just begun. They looked like young adolescents though not students, and they were blocking one of the major roads as they walked down the middle. There were riot police and media everywhere and a couple of the participants gave me the eagle, (or the finger) as we passed by.
Then when we were at lunch, we saw on TV water cannons being used against them on the street we'd been on. These were the same safe, peaceful streets we walked going to dinner last night.
In comparison to the other places we have been on this trip, this is the least impressive destination. I think its because it is so much less different, if that makes sense. However, the joy of being in a city where I have little (well, realistically, no) language still brings much laughter as I try to achieve even the smallest tasks. I do try and sometimes I have successes. Other times, I just have to say gracias and walk away.
Helen and I walked all over the city this afternoon, finding a district full of clothing and shoe shops. Santiago is a very organised place and different districts sell different products. So, if you want clothes, you go here. If you want furniture there is a different place. We searched for a bookshop and when we finally found one, there were 20 others near by. Bit of a crazy system I think. Still, it was a fun day.