In Chile the standard tip in a restaurant is 10% which is sometimes added onto the bill but more often than not you need to leave behind on the table. If paying by credit card you can ask to add the tip to the bill and indicate the standard 10%.
Do not tip taxis.
If you drive a car in Chile, in particular Santiago then there are places where you can park for free but there may be a man or woman "helping" you to park. This person works for tips. They can wash your car while you are away usually also. The tip you pay them should be anything from 200 pesos or more depending on the length of time you stay. I usually pay around 500 pesos.
In supermarkets the people who pack your bags only work for tips. They are not paid by the supermarket. Depending on the amount of groceries you could tip anything from 50 cents up to around 500 pesos. The 10% rule is not hard and fast here, just whatever loose change you have.
One thing we quickly realized is that there are lots of stray dogs in Santiago and those who do have an owner are rarely kept on a leash. The dogs we met did not seem dangerous at all, I would even say they're pretty well adapted to life in a bit city - we even saw one patiently wait at a crosswalk for the pedestrian light to go green before crossing the street! In general, dogs in residential areas seem to be in pretty good shape, while those living downtown are a bit more skinny but most don't look sick. In other words, even if you're not a big fan of dogs, I don't think you should be too concerned about the ones in Santiago :o)
At 10 am every other day, Plaza de la Constitucion -the square in front of La Moneda - is filled with ranks of very smartly turned out jack-booted police as a Changing of the Presidential Guard is acted out to the sound of a brass band and a a smattering of clapping from thel crowd that gathers around the low barriers. What with the band, mounted troopers and the outgoing and incoming guard, they put on a good show. This being Chile, the odd stray dog is never far away and likely to join the marchers.
There's lots of heel-snapping and rifle slapping but despite this and the military uniforms (the afore-said jackboots, riding breeches and caps that pay more than a passing nod to 1940's German style) and the arm-swinging march, these guys are an elite branch of the Carabineros - the paramilitary police force, not the army. They're all volunteers, well-educated and highly trained who enjoy considerable respect both in Chile and throughout South America. There's more than a few women among them - officers included.
Once the ceremony is over, the barricades are removed and the inner courtyards of La Moneda is open to visitors.
Monuments for famous people of chiles history can be found all over Santiago and here you will see a few of my favorite ones :
1 &2) Pablo Neruda was a chilenean novelist who won the Nobel prize for Literature and his former house is a museum nowadays, In Valparaiso you will find another house and museum of Pablo Neruda.
3)Ramon Vinay (1912-1996) Cantante Lirico
4)Salvador Allende, former president of Chile
5)Portales, who-ever that is, in any case it is one of the many monuments in the small park behind the seat of the president
The best murals in Santiago de Chile will be found in Barrio Bellavista, a quarter that is close to the place, where the funicular to Cerro San Cristobal starts and when you take a walk from the citycentre to the funicular you will pass by plenty of them, the best ones are shown in these photographs but there are still a lot more.
users of wheelchairs may easily cross the streets and they will in most cases also find ramps to leave the sidewalk. Pinochet spent lots of years in a wheelchair, maybe this fact led to some approvements in this field. In various museums - not only in Santiago - I also saw wheelchair-lifts.
From many houses there is not more than just the lovely facade left over and they seem to wait for better times and some money to be integrated into a new building-complex with a modern interior and this lovely, traditional facade of the end of the 19th century. At the moment these houses look like the ones in Potemkin, the one on my pictures is just about 200 meters from Hotel Majestic.
Electricity-plugs will look like on my photograph, so it makes sense to search for an international adapter including this one with 3 holes already at home. In Chile it might be difficult to find the right adapter for your hairdryers, battery-chargers etc.
Voltage is 220 Volt and with my plug-adapter I had no problems to charge my camera-batteries !
Stray-dogs can be found at many places in Chile and this one is well known for living on "Cerro Santa Lucia" and on my photograph you can watch it taking a bath or rather a shower on a hot summerday. The water-sprinkling-system is jumping there automatically from one side to the other and the dog is waiting for the moment, when the water is coming its way...
Stray-dogs in Chile are not agressive at all, the only problem seems to be, when they are sleeping in the middle of the street in the pedestrian zone and you dont see them and step on their tail or whatever. (take a look at my last photo: a dog is taking a sleep in the pedestrian zone...)
Misunderstandigs - especially those that are obvious - are always quite funny, when taking a walk far away from home. This Lady-Man shop is a simple hairdresser offering service to ladies and men and not what you might have expected ;-)
I found this shop in the big complex behind of the statue of holy Santiago.
Understanding spanish doesn't mean you will understand what we speak :)
Even though we are nice and generous, especially with foreigners, we're also very uptight and famous for speaking very fast and with lots of slang.
For the untrained ear, understanding an average chilean can be a nightmare. English-Spanish dictionaries will be useless here.
If you like to make friends during your travel, you will find the book HOW TO SURVIVE IN THE CHILEAN JUNGLE a fantastic companion.
I am sure you can find it at your local travel book store. If you don't, contact me (email@example.com) and I will be happy to get you a copy (US$ 10.00 aprox.).
St. Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland and it's said that he banished the snakes from the country (we don't have any snakes at all in Ireland!).
As an Irish Cailin (colleen/girl) you cn imagine my surprise to arrive at the Santiago Sheraton and find signs for St. Patrick's Day all over the place. Indeed, the hotel was devoting a whole week to the celebrations (which is more than we do here) and offering free drinks to anyone named Patricio.
On enquiry I found out that Chile has very strong connections with Ireland and it was an Irish man by the name of O'Higgins who founded the Chilean Navy.
Here's a pic of Mum posing in the lobby of the hotel beside a giant shamrock.
Pisco sour is the national drink of Chile.
I first tasted it in a restaurant in Puerto Montt further south in Chile and I was hooked straight away.
It's a cocktail made from pisco (a local brandy), lemon, egg whites, and bitters. The primary taste is of lemons and it's extremely refreshing. I noted most people drinking it as an aperitif but I'd recommend it any time:-)
In Chile in general (not just Santiago), it is nice to give a 10% tip in restaurants and bars, but otherwise there are basically two occasions when you should definetly tip:
1) to the "maletero" on most bus companies (about 100-200 pesos). Don't be surprised if they abruptly ask you for a tip - this is normal. (Tip in Spanish is "propina").
2) to the grocery bagger, around 100-200 pesos for smaller amounts of groceries, but perhaps up to 500 pesos if you have a lot.
This is important to know, because oftentimes people in these two positions are actually not even being paid, that is, they are depending on your tip for their wages.
In chiel a almost all hispanic countries, when you know a women you kiss her, no handshake. if you dont know her, and you have a distant relationship, no kiss. normally men betwen men dont kiss each others, even dho, today is more common, like our neightbors argentinians,everybody kiss everibody.
only one kiss not like europe