I think it’s interesting that this city is titled as it is: Santiago de Chile. It struck me today that in less than one year we have been in Santiago de Compostela and Santiago de Chile. And they couldn’t be more different. Well, I guess they could be more different, but the point is that they are different. In fact, I was ruminating on the differences among cities. I can’t necessarily pinpoint the exact differences, but they are there. I wouldn’t mistake Barcelona for Montevideo or Buenos Aires for either of the Santiagos or Santiago for Mendoza or Oaxaca. Each has it’s own particular feel, rhythm, layout, qualities. The sidewalks are pretty much shit in any of them. Actually, there’s less dog shit on the sidewalks of Santiago de Chile than other cities. That’s something.
We did’t get out of the apartment today until around noon. I had a late night, up posting until 1:30 in the morning. And as it was a Friday night, there were lots of festive gatherings in the apartments in our building. And as it was a Friday night, and this is Latin America, we expected parties until the wee hours. Plus, it was pretty hot and the apartment is without air conditioning, so sleep was a little challenging. But, that’s the beauty of travel and being out of the habitual. We didn’t have anywhere specific to be and where we wanted to go was there at cualquier hora.
So, where did we want to go? Cerro de Santa Lucia for one, which is right down the block form our place. It’s a rocky promontory in the middle of the city. Charles Darwin has a memorial with his words inscribed on a rock face.
Of course, being on a high point of land, a fort is located here. The gates were closed and we couldn’t tour it. So different from forts in Portugal. Then, it’s a history unique to the region.
This photo gives an idea of the rocky promontory upon which the fort was built. The rock formations are like columnar cubes. You can see that they were formed horizontally, then some cataclysmic earth movement pulled them up and out and sideways. Then Mother Nature added her own beauty to the scene.
As Chile sits on the Ring of Fire, this type of geophysical activity is to be expected. The last big erthquake was in January of this year at 6.5. Prior to that, the last major quake to hit wa in 1960 and it was recorded at 9.7 – the strongest ever.
I love the juxtaposition of old and new buildings that can be found in cities. So, what I wonder is, how did the old buildings withstand the earthquakes and how are new glass buildings being constucted to be able to withstand the earth’s upheavals? I know there’s an answer to that; and I know that it’s probably far more technological and complicated than I can handle.
Here is something that I just love about this city. Children are allowed to play and swim in the fountains! The carabinieri were right there. I was surprised that there weren’t more children in the water. It was a hot day. And this is a big city.
Hey. We went shopping in Paris today. That’s a big department store. I decided I needed a new t-shirt to replace the dingy white one. Ed/Charlie needed new swim trunks.
On a more sober note, here are a few pics from the Museo de Bomberos. I’ve noted that in each major city we’ve been in here in South America there is a museum to firemen. Generally the old trucks are restored by volunteers. That both impresses and humbles me.
Check this out. This mall type structure consisted of salons – hair, nail, depilatory, barbers, all on three floors. The lower floor is an arcade. Wild.
And this shop sells dolls and figurines. Who is buying this stuff? Find Piglet for extra points. And is that Bud Lightyear?!
One thing I do love about latin countries is the predominance of small shops catering to specific needs: paint, underwear (ropa interior – how I love that phrase), cell phone needs, household items, chicken take-out… There are all of these small businesses that somehow make a go of it. I assume they make a go of it – there they are, after all.
Today at lunch Charlie thwarted a would-be thief. This guy came and sat at a table next to us. My back pack was on the ground at my feet. Boom! Next thing you know, Charlie grabs the pack, the guy non-chalantly gets up and leaves. Charlie saw him bending over and finagling his own bag, saw my pack moving and grabbed it. So, now the pack goes between my feet. Of course, I don’t keep anything of value in my pack. I carry it for water, hats, and in case we buy something. Argentina and Chile are both countries that charge for providing a bag, whether at a department store or a grocery store. Uruguay still provides plastic bags at no cost. Curious.
Once again, the hour grows late. And I am off to bed. I wish you all sweet dreams and pleasant days – wherever you are in the cycle of time in the world.