I came downstairs today from our room and was pleasantly surprised to see Panteras, our guide from yesterday. He was out front gossiping with the male staff. And some say men don´t gossip, bah. After some chatting he offered to take us to our first subway stop. Panteras is a very friendly guy and loves to talk. We ended up with a tour of Santiago courtesy of him. He showed us Nerudu´s house (famous Chilean poet) and basically everywhere we were going to go. This got us off to a great start as now I had my bearings. Dena and Arlene have no sense of direction so wandering a city like this is basically all on me. The stress! But now I was fine.
Our first stop the Mercado Central (central market) that is famous in Chile and some say, a tourist trap. The art nouveau building is designed by the same guy that designed the eiffel tower in Paris. (Gustav Eiffel) This central market is famous for the fishmongers and we had fun looking at all the bizarre fish, wandering around and snapping photos. Someone warned us to keep our backpack in front as it was dangerous but since it was not busy on sunday I did not heed the advice. Besides, there was nothing valuable in it. From there it was on to the National Cathedral (built in 1571) in Plaza de Aramas, then a short walk across the river to La Vega, another truely local market that I had read about on the web.
I knew it would be different as no tourists or white people were anywhere to be seen. The area was definitely local and poor- We made our way to the market which was very colorful, everything sold in bins and certainly not much actually refrigerated on this 90 degree F day. The smell was atrocious, rotting fruit and veggies, so we moved on to the area known as Bella Vista. I liked the local market. I like seeing how local people live and not just how it is portrayed to tourists. Seeing the world, opening our eyes and minds and experiencing life throughout this great big planet, that´s what it is all about.
Now, I have to sing my praises here as I was doing perfectly fine, not complaining about the heat, Dena and Arlene on the other hand looked as if death warmed over. I found this amusing. Imagine, me being full of piss and vinegar and these two, in great shape, having so much trouble with the heat and humidy. hehe. So I guided these two to a park bench while I found an open restaurant. We had a lovely lunch of ceviche and camrones (shrimp) with pisco sours of course, then worked on getting a cab back to the hotel. These two were done in.
I got a cab and the cabbie and I had an enlightening conversation in spanish about the city, volcanoes and the like. Dena and Arzie were quite amused since I speak so little spanish, but i was surprised at how much I could figure out. The afternoon was spent lounging by the pool. Sometimes on vacation you just have to chill. We went to the market this evening and a bottle of chilean wine and the superbowl game are calling my name, so I must run. It´s 9pm and the game is just starting. by the way, look for pictures below.