southof30

Nichol and Matt go to Chile!

In search of bagels.

We ventured out to the edge of Providencia today, where it meets with the more residential Nunoa district. Unfortunately our trip up Cerro San Cristobal had to be postponed due to an unexpected stomach ailment that struck Nichol yesterday. Nothing serious, but it meant that we took yesterday pretty easy, with a stroll through a really lovely ‘sculpture park’ across the bridge a few blocks away replacing our planned hike up the hill.

The park, ‘Parque de Esculturas’, is beautiful. Heck, Providencia itself is beautiful! As much as we love BC, we can honestly say that Providencia’s wide sidewalks, lined with vibrant green trees, ever-present benches (perfect for people-watching) and sun-drenched plazas easily matches the nicest of BC’s neighbourhoods. Every corner turned brings into view at least one open greenspace dotted with happy (and remarkably affectionate) couples enjoying the incredible weather. One thing is for sure, Chilenos in love are not shy! The park itself runs between a major avenue and the disappointingly brown Rio Mapocho and contains about 30 abstract sculptures created by a number of different Chilean and European artists; some are a little too abstract (for Matt’s tastes anyway), and some quite striking. We’re sure that it won’t be our last stroll through the sculptures.

Our trip this afternoon was inspired by Nichol’s discovery of a business at the edge of Nunoa called, of all things, ‘Montreal Bagels’, apparently one of the only places in town where you can find bagels. So off we went down Ave. Pedro de Valdivia with the sun at our backs (as Nichol’s currently red shoulders can attest) in search of tasty bagels. We were stunned by how nice this street is, especially considering that it is a major artery between Nunoa and Providencia! We passed several schools (including at least one English speaking), local bistros and many Chilenos walking at their (sometimes frustrating!) ‘relaxed’ pace. After about 2 km we finally found ourselves at our target…only to find that it was closed. C’est la vie. They will tell you that they don’t take siesta; we’re beginning to wonder if this is really true. So back up Pedro de Valdivia we went with the sun at our fronts (as Matt’s red nose can attest).

Having been here for a week, we’ve observed some ‘different’ aspects of Chilean culture. For starters, the 80’s called and they want their mullets and fanny packs back. Not that we’re really the ones to be judging here, but some things are just not meant to be revived. They’re everywhere. On a slightly more disturbing note, the addiction to plastic bags and the unawareness of recycling here is downright depressing. We’ve already garnered more plastic bags in one week than we typically would in about about 3 months in Victoria! Bottles have ‘not returnable’ (in Spanish) written on the as often as not, and even then there seems to be very few options for returning them anyway. But it is what it is, and we’ll just have to do the best we can with what services there are. With all that said, their sidewalks are immaculately clean!

Tomorrow we’re going to go on a 4 hour walking tour of Santiago Central with a local troupe that operates based on tips. Online reviews of the tour are fantastic, and the trip conveniently goes up Cerro San Cristobal in addition to some of the more historic and culturally significant sights. We probably won’t lug our DSLR around the whole time, but we’ll try to snap a few photos with our iPods and return to some of the more photographic spots another time.

Next up: Chile’s urban mutts, including our block’s 3 perros whom we’ve dubbed ‘Blacky’, ‘Willie’ and ‘Chuck’. Until then!

-M&N

PS We found bacon. And it was good.

1 Comment»

  Chris and Jeannine wrote @

Sounds like you guys are getting acclimatized fast (maybe not Nichol’s stomach!). Hope she’s feeling better. Awesome pictures. We are really enjoying your blog; your writing style is very engaging and fun to read.


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