Lost on the Plaza de Armas

Santiago Travel Blog

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Plaza de Armas, Santiago. Spiffy reflection of this church in the next building.
Some park downtown, 12 noon

Trying to look confident makes it difficult to figure out where I am, but I think I finally know (by triangulation) which direction to go.  I'm getting rather thirsty, so hopefully there is somewhere to buy water and snacks around here.  I am a bit hungry.  But getting oriented is pretty important.  I'm still not 100% on which part of Merced I am near, but I think if I follow it, I'll either get to where I am going, or back to the metro station where I started.  Lets go!

Alison's place, 7pm

What a day!  I walked almost all day long today!  I just awoke from a a nap of approx. 1 hour.  I took the metro downtown to check out the Plaza de Armas.
Plaza de Armas, Santiago. Some sort of political parade.
  It was my first time on a subway, which was pretty fun!  The subway map worked great.

Today was an adventure of many natures, one of them linguistic.  I can't believe I walked for so many hours! My limited Spanish failed me many times, and I was so paranoid about getting pick-pocketed that I didn't want to stop to pull out my map and advertise my status as a lost tourist.  This resulted in me actually being a lost tourist for the majority of my walk!  Once in awhile, I found a park bench that I could sit on, and read my map while pretending to write in my journal.  During one such stopover, I got to see a short political parade with people on stilts in what I later figured out was the Plaza de Armas.
Plaza de Armas, Santiago. Some sort of political parade. Love the stilts.
  This was quite colourful!  There was also a protest against the use of animals in zoos.  A lady was lying down handcuffed in a cage.  Actually it was circus animals, not zoos.  Whatever.  Anyway, great people watching in the Plaza de Armas!  I met a few interesting characters.  One man came up and sat by me on a bench.  He spoke English, which was a great relief, but unfortunately he kept asking for my phone number.  It was interesting to hear his experiences with racism in Chile!  I was surprised, for some reason.  I think he was Colombian.  I also met a man who would ask for money, and then try to look very solemn and meek.  Very strange methods. 

My favourite encounter on the plaza was with a student at the University.
Plaza de Armas, Santiago. Beautiful day!
  He was trying to make a bit of extra cash by offering written poems in Spanish and translated to English.  I was pleased to find someone offering something rather than just asking for money, so I engaged him in conversation.  He kept testing my horrid Spanish, and I definitely allowed him some practice with English.  It was fun. 

One lovely thing about Santiago is the plethora of gelato shops.  I love gelato.  Getting the gelato from the shop to me was an adventure.  The linguistic kind, of course.  In the USA, when you go to an ice cream shop, you get your ice cream scooped for you, and then pay at the register.  However, the process here was different.  It actually makes more sense, and probably keeps them from getting ripped off.  But here I was, all proud that I figured out how to order in Spanish, and the guy just kept saying something back to me that I didn't understand! So I repeated myself...duh.  He finally motioned for me to follow him, and I went to the register, where I had to pay and then get my receipt to give to him before he could scoop my gelato.  We had a nice laugh about it.  The gelato was great!

It took me forever and ever to find the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art, but I did finally find it!  The artifacts were incredible, and in surprisingly great shape!  Groups of school children on field trips wandered through, most of them in uniforms.  Unfortunately, photographs were not allowed.

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Plaza de Armas, Santiago.  Spiffy …
Plaza de Armas, Santiago. Spiffy…
Plaza de Armas, Santiago.  Some so…
Plaza de Armas, Santiago. Some s…
Plaza de Armas, Santiago.  Some so…
Plaza de Armas, Santiago. Some s…
Plaza de Armas, Santiago.  Beautif…
Plaza de Armas, Santiago. Beauti…
photo by: Bluetraveler