Secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius)
Secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius)

Santiago, Chile

Chile Comments Off
May 062011
Santiago and its smog
Santiago and its smog

To be honest, Santiago was a bit of a let-down for me.  It is mostly my fault as I had a preconcieved notion that it would be a mountainous version of Buenos Aires!  Though it is a lively and clean city, it just doesn’t have the same flair as BsAs.  Nevertheless, we still had some great food and fun adventures there.

Santiago has plenty of shoe shiners
Santiago has plenty of shoe shiners

On our first full day in Santiago we got up at a decent hour and headed over to Plaza de Armas, the main square in Santiago.  We wanted to take one of the “free english tours” that we saw advertised at the hostel.  There are actually a couple organizations running these tours and they are indeed free though you are expected to tip the guide.

A few minutes in to our “free english tour,” a group of Spanish speaking ladies walked up and pretty much demanded that our guide give the tour both in Spanish and in English.  Surprisingly, he complied.  Now I don’t mind listening to both languages (it is good practice, after all) but the way in which this ladies approached the situation was amazingly tactless.  There were a few occasions when we were making small talk with the guide and the ladies marched up and demanded a translation.  Awesome.  I sure hope they tipped well at the end of the day.

The tour lasted about 4-5 hours and took us past the main sights in the centro, Santa Lucia and Bella Vista.  There was a short 20-minute stop for lunch at some cafe (in cahoots with the tour guide, no doubt) but we escaped that trap and got some cheat eats at a kiosko nearby.  The tour provided a nice overview of the city but if I had to do it again I would seek out the organization that runs the shorter 1-hour version.

Mote vendor
Mote vendor

Amy and I went to see a Chilean movie called “La Vida de Los Peces” that won the Spanish equivalent of an Oscar last year.  Thanks to the Chilean Spanish I barely understood what was going on and even Amy said she only understood about half of what was said.  Chilean Spanish is a good bit faster than Argentine Spanish as they are very fond of slang and shortening words.

Mote con huesillo: the street drink of choice in Santiago.  Peach juice, some peach pieces and wheatberries
Mote con huesillo: the street drink of choice in Santiago. Peach juice, some peach pieces and wheatberries

Food-wise, Santiago treated us well.  My favorite (and cheapest) meal was at a stall at the Mercado de Flores where many of the pushcart vendors seemed to be eating.  I had cazuela de vacuna, a soup with beef and a mix of veggies.  Amy managed to find herself some vegan empanadas at one on of the city’s vegan/vegetarian cafes.  Another culinary highlight of Santiago is a drink (or snack?) called mote con huesillo.  It is served on the street and is something in between a drink and a food.  When ordering mote you get a cup filled with cooked wheatberries, a few pieces of peach and then topped with lots of peach juice.  It is a sweet and filling cheap snack that you can find just about everywhere in Santiago.  Perfect for hot afternoons!

Cazuela de vacuna: a soup with chunks of beef and all the fixins
Cazuela de vacuna: a soup with chunks of beef and all the fixins

The blog is starting to run quite a way behind our travel progress.  We reached Bolivia yesterday and will be leaving on a 4-day circuit tour to the Salar de Uyuni starting on Saturday.  We will be way out in the boonies for this tour but I am going to do my best to get some posts scheduled today.  That is, if this Bolivian internet connection cooperates!

Santiago, Chile
Climbing Cerro Santa Lucia
Climbing Cerro Santa Lucia
Santiago and its smog
Santiago and its smog
La Moneda - the government palace
La Moneda – the government palace
Amy and the rest of our tour group
Amy and the rest of our tour group
Santiago has plenty of shoe shiners
Santiago has plenty of shoe shiners
Mote con huesillo: the street drink of choice in Santiago.  Peach juice, some peach pieces and wheatberries
Mote con huesillo: the street drink of choice in Santiago. Peach juice, some peach pieces and wheatberries
Mote vendor
Mote vendor
Cazuela de vacuna: a soup with chunks of beef and all the fixins
Cazuela de vacuna: a soup with chunks of beef and all the fixins
Parque Forestal
Parque Forestal

© 2011-2012 RoamingRyan.com Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha