Monday, March 19, 2012

Santiago Exploration

Today I spent the day exploring downtown Santiago.  I had met someone who lives here a few months back in Seattle,  and we had coffee together,  she pointed out various things to me before taking off and leaving me to my own city navigating skills.  No problem. 

As such,  this is a photo heavy post,  although I do have one good story.  I wandered into what was essentially a small mall.  It had a 4 story centrally located atrium,  with a ramp that curved around the outside edge,  gently leading from the basement floor all the way to the top,  making one circuit around the atrium per floor.  The stores in the building were mostly hair care and salons,  the basement floor was a video arcade,  which made me smile,  because I haven't seen anything like that in my travels so far.  There was also a spiral staircase,  so I walked down to the arcade,  then to make my way out,  entertained myself by navigating along the ramp.  As I walked the length of one part of the ramp,  I noticed a storefront whose windows had been darkened entirely,  it was impossible to see in.  I didn't pay any attention to it until the sliding door opened a few inches,  and scantily clad girl in her 20's appeared in the door and waved to me.  I smiled graciously and continued to move up the ramp.  She waved again,  and I smiled again back at her,  waved back at her,  nodded,  and continued on my way. 

In other words,  I declined her offer as politely as I knew how. 

Probably the establishment was a strip club,  and I say that because I've seen quite a few strip clubs and adult movie theatres in town.  Santiago,  more than any other city I've been in,  has sex fairly close to the surface of every day life.  The strip club in that mall was only a floor away from the video arcade,  and right next to a nail and hairstyling place.  There are coffee houses,  primarily for men,  where the women who are making the coffee are all somewhat provocatively dressed,  and these places have stand-up counters with no down-panel so that the women are all able to be viewed fairly easily.

Sometimes it's difficult to know what to judge and what not to when in a foreign culture.  Discuss. 

On that note,  here are my photos from the day.

More excellent stencils and street art in Santiago,  although there is less of it.  Santiago is a cleaner city the Buenos Aires.

Hey....a photo of the inside of a cathedral?  Who would think it?

Chalk drawing rendered in front of said cathedral.  It was quite good.

Jacques in Santiago!

Reminded me strongly of Trinity Church in Boston,  which is likewise right next to a modern,  very reflective building.

Walk path across the Pan American Highway

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