I had envisioned Santiago to be somewhat like Moscow, not sure why i had the impression or what created it but it was there. So, i was rather happily suprised to pull into a very green, developed city with lots of history and culture. I liked it instantly and the feeling only grew as we explored more. We checked into a wonderful hostel again and despite being rather tired decided to hit Bellavista and see how the Chileans party. We started out in the Patio, a development set around a courtyard filled with cool bars and cafes. We then went to find a bar called Constitution and along the way had our first experience of Chilean machoism. Picture the scene, a sidewalk filled with tables and chairs and people out enjoying the night and drinking.
Outside Pablo Neruda´s house
We realise that the tables are filled with just guys and as we walk past one table starts to clap and then all tables (around 20) start to join in and as Maggie and i walk past we had a round of applause worthy of an Oscar winner. At first i thought maybe i had my dress caught in my knickers, maybe one of our dresses was not so well positioned but no. It was just a normal activity. Strange! We did finally make the bar and fortunatly we only had the odd "tst tst" and "i love you´s" as we walked by. The bar was really cool and full of young hip Chileanos dancing to a mix of Reggaton, bad 80´s English music and a rather interesting mega mix. They might be cool but their music choice might need some work!
The next day was a full on site seeing day and there is a lot to see in Santiago.
A view of Santiago
We managed to walk through the city centre and see the beautiful National Library and walked into the main Palaca - Palacio de la Mondea where they had the Terracotta Army on display. For 1,000 CP (the equivalent of a pound!) we went in and checked it out. Loved it as much as i did in London ... think China may be my next trip! Next up we walked to the mercardo for a fresh lunch as Maggie wanted to try the local fish dishes. It was an experience to sit amongst the fish stalls, market sellers, street performers, beggars and fruit sellers whilst eating lunch. A colourful and expensive way to do it! We also checked out Pablo Neruda´s house, the most famous poet from Chile and a brilliant eccentric. His house was incredible, spread over three levels and filled with so many artefacts and nik naks that he collected. Fascinating to see it and in such good condition despite it being ransacked by Pinochet´s army. Fascinating place.
All in all a busy day in Santiago and topped off by eating empanadas in Bellavista, the Bohemian district filled with bars, restaurants and cool cats and then dancing the night away. Ah the life of a traveller!