Sunday, April 2, 2017

More from Santiago, Chile

A few photos from a chilly day in Chile.  BTW, while I was wandering around for several hours yesterday, I encountered five blind people out walking.  Is it just me or does that seem like a lot?  When I commented on the large number of albinos in Malawi I was told it was because they were considered cursed in other countries and murdered, so albinos came to Malawi for safety.  I doubt if something similar is happening with blind people in Santiago.

I experienced my first rude behavior today.  Most of the time people have been very friendly, although a bit pushy when walking around, which I think is more indicative of big city dwellers than Chileans.  Today I was checking out of the grocery store and the clerk said something about the apples.  I didn't hear her.  The older clerk next to her said "Panaderia" and made a motion as if weighing.  She had to repeat panaderia a couple of times before I got the drift.  I ran back, got the apples weighed at the bread counter and returned.  Luckily the store wasn't busy.  After completing the transaction I looked at the older clerk who'd "explained" what I needed to do and said "Muchas gracias por su ayuda."  I believe that means "Thanks for your help."  She ignored me.  No customer, she just sat there staring past me.  The young clerk said "Ella dice "muchas gracias por su ayuda"...basically calling her out for being rude.  Finallly the older woman said "de nada" and the younger clerk rolled her eyes at her.  One rude (sort of) person in three days in a big city?  Pretty good, I'd say.

And now, the photos:

And here I was, worried that I wouldn't be able to find Tiger Balm (or its no-name cousin) in Santiago.  There are quite a few Asian stores in the area but I have yet to see anyone who looks Asian.

Same fountain, different day.  Yesterday a man was bathing.  Today, a dog.  After a few minutes he hopped out and strolled off.

He seems to belong to the lady on the bike.

This man was demonstrating knitting outside a yarn store.  There were about a dozen people watching.

Nearby, this guy was selling "yarn" that looked more like thick thread.  He had samples of things made from it.  It looked warm and beautiful.

A dollar store!  Except it's $1 and more - does that mean they just don't sell anything under a dollar?

In case you've always wanted a butter dish with a cow.

Lunch was seafood stew from the fish market.  It was bubbling hot and filled with whole shell fish.

These people are eating seafood next to guys selling seafood.  Be sure to wear shoes that you don't mind getting covered in water, melted ice and seafood remnants.

I was so surprised to see some empty sidewalk space I took a photo.  The area around Plaza Las Armas and Mercado Central was PACKED with people on a lovely fall Saturday afternoon.

This store reminded me of Buenos Aires.  They sell freshly made raw pasta.

These shoppers were waiting to get in the pasta store.

There were several "mote de huesillo" stands around so I figured I should try it.  One of the things I enjoy most about travelling is trying new food and drinks.  The kid in line in front of me was literally jumping up and down he was so excited about getting one.

This "drink of Chile" is made from wheat and peaches.  Seems to be a popular non-alcoholic summer time drink.  Copihue is the brand name, I think. The drink was both a snack and a drink since it comes with rehydrated peach halves in it, along with the chewy wheat.  It was tasty but a bit challenging to enjoy as I strolled along with 2,000,000 other folks.  And that number is not an exaggeration.  That is the average number of people using this pedestrian walkway every day.  Bottom line, glad I tried it but won't be having another.

Another thing I love when I travel is checking out the street vendors.  I've been greatly disappointed here.  They are selling junk.  Literally, junk.  Used items, hair bands, belts, watches,  hand lotion.  Not quite a flea market and definitely not the original art I've seen for sale in other countries.  And, not cheap.

This guy was demoing a product used to grate vegetables.  A crowd had gathered.  It seems people gather whenever anyone demonstrates anything here.

See how hot my lunch was?  Muy delicioso.  They brought a plate of lemons to squeeze over it.  I passed.  I thought the only thing it needed was a dollop of brandy.

Even this short video does not adequately express how crowded the streets were.  BTW, I seemed to fit in since several people randomly started chatting with me in Spanish.  One lady seemed a bit surprised when I couldn't give her directions.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Santiago, Chile - March 29 - April 8, 2017

Thanks to the nice folks at United, I had no problems getting to Santiago.  I flew in coach from Orlando to Houston, with an empty seat next to me.  From Houston there was space in business class.  They don't have the new Polaris seats yet, but the service and food were great.

I rented an apartment through Air BnB.  After a 20 minute ride from the airport, my taxi driver found it with no problem.  I think I took the most expensive option for a taxi since it cost 20,000 pesos (about $35) but I was tired and it was convenient.  The driver didn't seem to mind my limited Spanish and we chatted the whole ride.  He told me (correctly) that in the historic area where I'm staying, very few people would speak English.  Here's my first day and a half in photos.

Added to my bucket list is to be able to fly in this "cocoon".  It's where the pilots rest during a long flight.  Regular business class seat but with padded walls.

I really, really wanted to knock.

My first two meals in Santiago were different kids of empanadas.  There are a lot of different kinds.  This one is chunks of beef with a slightly spicy gravy.  1,000 pesos is $1.50.  Cheap dinner from the grocery store.

A ground beef version, I think.  That's what's fun about my poor Spanish.  I never am quite sure what I'll get.

My dinner of an empanada, a few olives and some cheap (and good) Chilean wine in my apartment.

I love Inca Kola.  Tastes like creme soda.  Now they have a diet version!

Because the Polaris business class service is new, each business passenger got this Ursa bear.  With some Chilean cash.

In the Centro - where I'm staying, there's a mix of old and new architecture.

I commented to my taxi driver that there are a lot of pharmacies (like this one).  He replied "We're sick a lot."

I always like to get a sense of prices of every day stuff.  This toaster was 17,890 pesos which is about $26.80.  Seems a tad high.

As in Buenos Aires, kioskos are everywhere, selling snacks, newspapers and cigarettes.

At a cheap restaurant near my apartment these specials are only about $4.50.  But I do wonder about "Diente Dragon con carne."

Another menu.  I take photos then come back and Google to see what I might have eaten or will be ordering next.  Sometimes, it works.  Not always since some things are called by local slang nicknames.

Terre Munk, there are yarn shops all over and they are big and busy!

Just in case you want to start a dental practice.

Lots of fresh fruit juice made with milk or water.

And of course, sex shops.

As I was walking down the sidewalk I noticed what appeared to be a doorway - it was actually the entrance to a minimall.  These are very common and fun to explore.

This small convenience store had ready made sandwiches and empanadas along with fresh bread, cold cuts and cheeses in case you preferred to make your own.   
Here's the cheese/cold cut compartment.

Hot dogs, topped with a variety of stuff, seem to be VERY popular and seem to be almost readily available as empanadas.

I read on the internet this is considered a national dish.  French fries topped with hot dogs and eggs.  Or other meat or cheese and eggs.   
This Italian style hot dog is large and about $2.

I went into this beautiful church - the Metropolitan Cathedral on Plaza Las Armas.  They were having mass, so I stayed.  There were at least 100 people celebrating mass on a Friday afternoon.

There is a metro stop in the Plaza.  It is large, a nice place to relax with street performers who seem to be very well received.  I took this early in the morning before the crowds rolled in.  By late afternoon it was packed.

Fresh juice drinks available at the subway exit.

Rental bikes - take the subway, rent a bike, return it at your next stop.  Good way to limit cars.

Lots of ladies undies on sale on this street.  Store after store.

Panaderias - bakeries selling a variety of breads are everywhere.  Last night I had a roll that was like a bread/corn bread mix with cheese.  It was $.15 and delicious.

Stuffed churros!

It is fall in Santiago.  Temps in the high 80's and clear blue sky.

Only one guy seemed surprised that his man was bathing in the fountain.  I'm guessing that water was very chilly.

Yarn on sale!

There was a row of fortune tellers.

Awesome - leggings for my next United flight! 
A mall which had Hush Puppy, KFC and other American brands.

I bought shower soap in this store where they sell the kinds of stuff we'd buy at a Walgreens or grocery store.

So here's the deal when you buy something.  A clerk helps you choose your items.  But they keep them.  You walk over to the "caja" to pay and receive a stamped receipt (in some cases handwritten, others are from a register).  Then you take that receipt to another counter (where the man in black is standing) and a clerk there gives you a package with the items you selected from the first clerk.  This happens even in tiny places with no customers where all three employees are watching and commenting on the entire transaction.  In a "supermercado" or grocery store, it's like in the US where you take what you want to a cashier who checks you out.   Kinda fun, even if a little slow.  And if Trump really wants to create more jobs...

"I won't drink any more"  a headband at a party store.  Most were stuff related to New Year's Eve.

This dog with no leash either waiting for his master or just wanting to go in this grocery store.

He's going for it.

Main entrance to the central market - a large, old fish market.  It's a huge space (about a block square) filled with fishmongers and small restaurants.

Patrons seemed to be both restaurant owners/chefs and housewives.  The fish appeared to be fresh and very reasonably priced.  

Lots of shell fish.  I'd be shopping there a lot if I lived in Santiago.

Those are mussels on the bottom  and fresh sea urchin on the top.

Crab claws - $3.75 a kilo.  That's 2.2 lbs for $3.75.  of crab claws.

Fresh scallops  - $.60 apiece if I have my math right.

Fresh octopus for just over $3 a pound.

According to the taxi driver, salmon is very popular. About $6 a lb.

There are big fish and small fish. 

This restaurant has four tables.  Set in an alcove next to where the fish are being sold.

This is where people who don't like to shop for fish can wait.

I need to find out what kind of crab this is.  Looks the fishy cousin of the spiky durian fruit,

Samples of the food on offer in one of the many restaurants.

The original wrought iron at one of the entrances.

$2.25 per crab.

These are "locos" or what they described as abalone.  It's what I had for lunch.

$9 a lob for abalone.  I paid $15 for my abalone lunch/bottle of water at the restaurant.  Dare you to find a restaurant in the US that sells abalone for less than $50 a portion.

This guy was carrying jugs of wine to one of the larger restaurants.

One of the old doors to the market.

Fast food, Santiago style.  Remember that 1,000 pesos is about $1.50.

Cold cuts are very popular.

I had some pichanga, fruit and a roll for dinner last night.  A marinated salad of cheese, olives and something like baloney.

Oh, I also had some of this fresh cheese.

Before shopping I got a massage at this outdoor place.  People walking by, subway entrance, busy street adjacent and a guitarist playing near by.  He played my travel theme song (long story) - Hotel California.  Sounds odd but it was a very relaxing way to spend 15 minutes - for $7.50

When you see the three red diamonds you know you've found a subway station.

At the outdoor massage place you can also get a manicure.

Some streets are pedestrian only.  But sometimes crossed by streets with cars.  I wasn't paying close enough attention and almost got hit by a truck doing 35 MPH.  Scared the bejeebers out of me and the truck driver wasn't too happy, either.

Ok, here's where I get confused.  Regalo means present/gift.  Fresa is strawberry.  But these are strawberries and they aren't free.  Good price, though - a bit over a dollar a pound.

And beautiful raspberries for $1.70 a pound!

Don't feel like chopping?  They'll do it for you.

Here's another example of my Spanish confusion.  I know the word for avocado is aguacate.  I learned that in Guatemala, the land of aguacate.  I'd never seen smooth skinned ones like these, though.  They have Hass avocadoes and these, but neither is called aguacate.  I bought one and it looked and tasted on the inside like a regular Haas avocado...but a cheaper variety here.

Just over $.50 a pound for avocados?  I'm in!
Lots of people walking across the street and shopping.  The streets were busy on Friday.  On Saturday it was wall-to-wall people.

I want a meat market in my neighborhood that looks like this.

A very popular meat market.

This store sold pasta.  I saw a lot of that in Buenos Aires but not as much here.

Fresh green pasta.

At the cheese store, next door to the past store, they had inexpensive Roqufeort.

Olives and all things pickled are very popular and very cheap.

The cheese store.  So many kinds.  So much deliciousness.

Less than a block from the meat store, the pasta store and the cheese store is the bakery.  Yes, this is how it should be.

And on the street are a couple of old ladies selling spices and herbs.

Some of the very old wrought iron at the fish market.

Map of the central fish market

The map's legend.

I happened to choose a restaurant at the fish market that provides an English translation.

Just outside the restaurant they are selling fresh fish.  It is so fresh that it does not smell like fish.

At noon, it was a bit early for lunch in Santiago.  But my stomach was on American time.

That's potato salad on the right and three abalone, chilled.

It came with a wonderful roll, two kinds of mayo - one plain and one with garlic and a salsa that was a bit spicy with a vinegar kick

Outside the fish market in the pedestrian area.

I'd read about this tradition drink.  More on this tomorrow!

Outside the church in la Plaza de Armas, people wandered and watched buskers.

The Metropolitan Cathedral.  The interior is huge and beautiful.  It is clearly a working church.  They began mass as I wandered around so I stayed.

Have I mentioned the bakeries? Very expensive when compared to Buenos Aires but the cakes looked delicious.

There are carnecerias everywhere - meat markets where beef, pork and chicken are stacked high.

This is the other side of the counter where shoppers are lined up.

Whenever I see a new type of fruit or vegetable I like to try it.  The one on the right looks like a large lemon on the outside but when I cut it open I realized I'd had one before.  Can't remember the name but the texture is similar to an apple - and tart/sweet like an apple.  The avocado is an avocado just with a shinier skin and I haven't tried the one on the left yet but someone said it's a kind of guava.