A Week in Chile

Santiago Travel Blog

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Hustle and bustle could be two words to describe our week in Chile.  Since the moment we got into Santiago it seemed I never ceased to move.  Our agenda was packed with tours to Valparaiso, the Concha y Toro winery, a day of classes, a day of meeting with US embassy representatives and the ambassador of Chile to North America.  All of these events were great experiences but when packed into one week it seemed to get a bit overwhelming.  I feel a great sense of relief sitting here at the Residencia in Buenos Aires with nothing on my mind but my morning flight tomorrow to Rio, Brazil.          

Given more time to enjoy Chile I’m sure it would have been a much greater experience.  Santiago itself seemed a bit bland when compared to the crowded streets of Buenos Aires.  Of course that had much to do with the area we stayed in.  On our free day a group of us decided to return to the square in front the Cathedral in Santiago, which we had briefly visited during one of tours, in hopes that we would be able to interact with some people.  What we experienced is exactly what we had hoped to.  As we walked from the subway stop to the square we saw a city more like the vibrant Buenos Aires we knew.  People were everywhere and seemed to have happy demeanors about them.

As soon as we walked into the square we encountered a large crowd gathered around a point near the cathedral.  When we investigated we found street comedians performing kits for the public’s pleasure (and of course some pocket change). After having some minutes of laughter we decided to move on and sat around one the many garden circles in the square where a Chilean girl, interested by our tongue, came and taught us how to play a card game.  We played cards and our laughter could be heard resonating off the Cathedrals walls and joining the laughter of those still watching the street comedians. 

Many other Chileans became interested in us and smiled every time we had an outburst of laughter.  Looking back now I realize that that was what the Ambassador of Chile for North America was talking about when he said that Chileans took pride in their country when they saw Americans or “otros extranjeros” enjoying themselves.  Reliving the afternoon, I see how each smile reflected that Chilean orgullo the ambassador spoke of. After playing a few more games of cards we walked to the north side of the square where we saw yet another large gathering of people.  We walked over and found ourselves in the middle of a mime’s act.  We stayed there until the hilarious show was over and then decided to head back.  That Thursday was the first day, the only day, I felt I got to see the true Chile Chileans are proud of.

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1,109 km (689 miles) traveled
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photo by: Bluetraveler