The protest capital of the world!

Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
Trip End Dec 03, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of Chile  ,
Thursday, November 5, 2009

So we had the last three days and nights here in Santiago by ourselves. We set ourselves up at a hostel and have wandered around the city sights and relaxed. 

Funny things about Santiago... there are multiple protests and rallies going on every day, some small, some larger. We have no idea what they are protesting about, but no one really pays much attention (must be a very common occurance) and they always have some music playing. Its quite funny.

Another funny thing we have noticed in Santiago is that the same kind of shops are always together in the same area or street. For example, you will get a whole street of money exchanges or a whole street of yarn shops (?) or a whole street of opticians... We canīt figure out if they just do not understand the concept of competition or not... and how they ALL manage to stay in business when they are competing with a shop that sells the exact same thing, for the same price right next door... weird.

We also came across human parking meters. Yes, thats right. Santiago pays men to sit by the side of the road and if you park in the street you have to pay him a set fee. Same thing as a regular parking meter, but its some poor schmuck who has to sit outside on the curb ALL DAY! They do not even get a chair. Some of the lucky ones have plastic buckets to sit on...

Anyway, aside from these funny observations we have done some sightseeing. We walked the downtown area on the first day and saw the Plaza de Armas (the main square). We chanced upon a great street show that two mimes were doing. That was quite funny, and good since we didnīt need to know any Spanish to enjoy it!

We wandered around and found a nice little hill/park called Cerro St Lucia which has an old "castle" on top and has a great view from a little turret on the top. A lot of the parks here are filled with couples making out.. another weird observation, but Latin Americans have no problem with PDA (public displays of affection). There are couples of all ages making out everywhere! We ran across quite a few in this park (not sure if its other name is "make-out park", but it should be!

We also visited a great coffee shop, the kind that I think might only be found in Santiago... "coffee with legs". It is a regular coffee shop except there are only women who serve you in short, skin-tight outfits and it is standing room only. It was an interesting experience, but there are quite a few coffee shops like this in downtown Santiago.

The following day we took the metro out to the country to visit the wineries. The metro in Santiago is fantastic. Quick, cheap, very clean and very modern. And great that you can take the metro to the last stop and then you're in wine country! We went to the Concha y Torro winery, which was quite modern and nice and a lot like the large wineries you see in the USA or Australia. We took the winery tour and tasted a few wines and then just sat out on the lawn and enjoyed the wonderfully sunny and warm weather before wandering back into town.

Today was our last day and so we took a hike up to Cerro San Cristobel, which is quite a high hill near where we were staying. It has a large statue of the Virgin Mary at the top that overlooks the city. There are a few ways to get up, but we took the harder way. We climbed the steep way up to the overlook. It only took about an hour, but of course, there was a group protesting and we couldnīt get the last 20 feet to the statue... (side note: every day since we have been here we have tried to get INTO the park, but protesters blocked the entrance -- apparently this time they just moved up the hill to the last bit today...!)

So Santiago was a nice relaxing stop in the middle, but weīre excited about flying up to La Paz, Bolivia and starting the next part of our trip!
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