(original article is from Megan’s Travel Column on Life2PointOh, entitled Weekly Wanders)
My first week in South America was spent in Santiago, Chile. Unlike the last time I was in South America, I made sure to take my time with wandering around the city. As a result, I really got to know the different neighborhoods and get a feel for how the locals live. Here are a few highlights from my time spent in Santiago.
Wanders from the Street: You never know what you’ll find in any given city, and Santiago was no exception. Although the student protests were going on, that didn’t stop Santiago locals from having a little heritage fun. August 6th celebrates the Fiesta de la Independencia de Bolivia so there was a huge parade in the streets on that rainy morning. Women and men marched in clothing representative to their native tribes, singing and dancing along the way.
The View from Santa Lucia: Located just outside of where I was staying, Santa Lucia is a small but beautiful hill that gave me a stellar view of Santiago. At the very top you can see the extreme contrast between city and nature. There’s also a beautiful garden a little lower down where I sat and read. Perhaps my imagination got the best of me, but I sort of felt like a princess in a castle.
Café con Piernas (Coffee With Legs): Apparently, this concept is unique to Chile but I’m sure it would be popular in other cities all around the world. Basically, there are no seats. Instead of chairs and tables, the men stand and stare at the scantily dressed waitresses behind the bar. After doing a bit of research I found that some of these bars offer “Happy Minute,” where women serve coffee naked for exactly one minute. When I walked in one of these just for the fun of it, I was clearly outnumbered by men although many of them seemed more interested in their coffee than the pair of legs in front of them.
Visit your Local Coffee House: Just like I would in New York City, drinking a cup of coffee in the morning is an essential morning activity. I was surprised by how many “normal” coffee shops there were just in my neighborhood of Lastarria. Another perk of hitting up a local spot is meeting locals themselves. A few trips for a cafe called “Wonderful” got me a front row ticket at the premier of Martin McDonagh‘s The Pillowman (no family relation). Although I could not understand much of the dialogue, seeing a live performance in another continent is definitely a cool experience.
The always amazing Pisco Sour: I first discovered my favorite drink two years ago when I was in Peru. Since then I’ve been craving this delicious drink at just about every Manhattan bar. Turns out that it’s not just the Peruvians who specialize in Pisco Sours. Santiago offered them at every bar and I never passed up the opportunity to down one…or two. Pisco’s also come in other flavors like grapefruit. Another popular variant is Pisco mixed with coke. My tip to you would be to see how you feel after one pisco before ordering another. They are certainly tasty but very very strong!