09.01.2007 - 11.01.2007
View Latina America on Gitan Jean's travel map.
Santiago with a population of almost six million people, about one third of Chile's population, is, like most big cities, polluted and noisy but it has some things to see, too.
There is 'La Moneda' where Salvador Allende committed suicide on September 11th, 1973, when Pinochet launched a succesful coup. At 10 am, you can watch the changing of the guards at the back entrance. Furthermore, there are two nice hills overlooking the city, Cerro de Santa Lucía and Cerro de Santo Cristobál, the latter by far the highest one.
Again, there is a Pablo Neruda house, in Bellavista, the bohemian barrio in Santiago. The house named La Chascona (tangle-haired woman) after Matilde Urrutia, Neruda's last wife, is now an interesting museum that can only be visited by means of guided tours. Like the other two Neruda houses I can recommend La Chascona very much, there is this nice atmosphere about it and I can only conclude that the man must have had a very good taste.
Next to the two hills, there is also the Parque Forestal to escape from the stress and the heat.
Santiago must be the fast-food capital of the world. It seems like everyone is eating fast-food. Empanadas, hot-dogs, hamburgers and other unhealthy food is to be found on every street corner. The Spanish name for hot-dogs, by the way, changes from country to country in Latin-America. Whereas in Argentina they call them panchos, they are called italianos in Chile, perros calientes or just hot-dogs (Spanish pronunciation) yet in other countries.
Did you know that Santiago has more taxis than New York?