While walking around in Santiago I noticed that the local people do not have the typical indigenous looks as you see it while visiting Ecuador, Peru or Chili. It is more a mixture of colours.
The first morning, we started for a guided city walk. And already a few steps from our hotel, at Baquedano square we alredy encountered some ladies in traditional dresses.
We friendly asked if it was allowed to make a picture - no problem at all, they answerred. They looked very proud to pose in front of our cameras.
The ladies were Mapuche.
These Mapuche are the indigenous inhabitants of Central and Southern Chile and Southern Argentina. Mapuche make up about 4% of the Chilean population, who are particularly concentrated in the Araucania Region, while over 60% of Chile's population is believed to possess some Mapuche ancestry. meeting these friendly ladies
My wife and I always use small backpacks. If we can't carry it on/off the plane, we leave it at home. Travel light! It works for us.
A small day pack is handy for shopping and carrying necessary odds and ends while wandering around. When you travel, it can be strapped onto your bigger pack. I pack / wear a total of 1 pair of heavy duty shoes, 2 pairs of light weight socks (you really can wear them for a week or more), 2 pairs of shorts, 2 pairs of pants, 3 shirts and a light windbreaker. Anything else we need, we buy. Obviously, we don't camp, hike, etc.
The shirts and pants should be a blend of cotton and polyester. They wash easily, dry quickly and won't wrinkle. You can even sleep in these shirts without wrinkling. TIP: Don't forget your deodorant! Don't forget to pack toilet paper and those little 'handiwipe' things that come in small individual packets. Outside of Santiago, it
is normal that the bathrooms in bars and restaurants often lack toiletpaper, soap and handtowels. Strangely, they often lack even a toilet seat. On the positive side, most all of these bathrooms are clean.
Always bring prescription medications, but you may be able to purchase them in pharmacies. On my last trip, I bought antibiotics, throat medication and pain pills (non-narcotic) without any doctor involvement. I didn't have the equipment to recharge my camera batteries in Chile, but AA batteries were easy to find.
Santa Lucia handicraft fair
The Feria Artesanal Santa Lucía is one of the most visited points for buying handicrafts and jewelry in Santiago.
Its central location makes it handy for almost every visitor, virtually every city bus passes in front of it, and a subway station is just half a block from it.
Although nothing special from outside (there's always a huge commercial advertisement on top of its roof), inside is shaded and quiet, sheltered from rain in winter, with seats and a couple of snack shops. The compound is watched by private guards, and one can shop around relaxedly and check items with no hassles.
In some shops, is possible to see crafters at work and/or have items made on demand. Handicrafts of every kind, woollen and leather items, handmade bags, coloured glass bottles and glass handicraft, ponchos, jackets, hats, Andean and Mapuche musical instruments and crafts, photographs, prints (serigraphy), posters, music records, a wide range of jewelry (including piercings, but there are no shops to "install" such items in the fair), lapislazuli items (prices are slightly lower than in Bellavista, although variety is more limited), cacti, etc.
There are also a few shops selling Peruvian and Ecuadorian handicrafts and clothing, which is brought from those countries by their owners, who are nationals of them, and that make a good chance to buy that production if you're not going there in your South American journey (but it is more expensive than in Ecuador or Peru) It depends on what you are looking for; handmade clothing is slightly cheaper than in souvenir shops in the city centre, and lapislazuli items are about 10% cheaper than in Bellavista.
One of ours . . . . .
While walking around in the Barrio Bellavista, in order to go to Cerro San Christobal, just at the entrance towards the Funicular, there was a bus which I recognised.
I thought what is this, this is one of our Jonckheere busses, and of course I did recognise the model.
It was a former Belgian public Transport bus, used by the Flemish company De Lijn, even the white and yellow colours where still visible on the sides and the front, they had only added some red, blue and yellow stripes, and now the bus was used by the municipalidad de san Antonio.
If I still remember well, we delivered these busses in the beginning of the nineties, and I think they use them for 15 years.
It was quiet funny to see your work along the road at the other side of the world.
Dining in Bellavista
For so called welcomes dinner, our guide Andre took us into the cosy neighbourhood of the Barrio Bellavista. A quarter filled with colourful bars and restaurants.
We entered a typical local restaurant, nothing fancy, only good decent dishes (he had promised, and he was right)
The plates where big and the food was just delicious.
I tried a local specialty : Lomo a la Pobre (Lomo for the poor), a big juicy beef Sirloin steak with two fried eggs on top and fried onions
That was just yummy . . . . (During the following days that was my favourite plate - see coming tips of destination where we passed during out Trans South America trip) Lomo a la Pobre - price 5700 pesos
Pisco Sour - 1500 pesos
(1 dollar = 500 pesos)
(1 euro = 772 pesos)