Friday, January 20, 2012

Reflections on Santiago

Onces- One of my favorite traditions here in Chile is onces, the custom of eating a (usually) sweet snack in the late afternoon.  People spend their four, five or six o'clock hours sitting in cafes sipping coffee and eating cake (and smoking cigarettes.)  Not surprisingly our family has turned onces into an ice cream hour.  One little old lady told us that she served her husband a slice of homemade chocolate cake everyday for onces.  What a tradition!  My immediate thought was when will I be old enough for that kind of habit to be okay?

Danny’s cab ride conversations-
he could write a book

What we’ll miss from Santiago:
Tiramisu- our favorite Santiago restaurant and in our top five best list
The empanadas at the open-air market around the corner from our apartment
Nightly swim before dinner
The reading corner, banana smoothies and sand area at Almacén de Cuentos
Building with Legos
Plaza Peru park
Sunsets from our balcony
Local Chilean wine sold at Big John’s, the convenience store downstairs from our apartment
The metro
MIM, Interactive museum
Apartment soccer
The tickling shower
The elevator rides

What we won’t miss:
The washing machine that take three hours to wash our clothes
The layer of smog-dust covering our floor ten minutes after sweeping
The blazing afternoon sun heating up our west-facing apartment

(our big plans)
Sweet: fruits, nutella, nuts
Savory: lentils, roasted veggies and goat cheese, scrambled eggs, taco meat, black beans and corn

Double Decker Bus
Thanks to Cal we spent one day a few weeks back touring the city of Santiago from the great height of the Turistik Double Decker Bus.  We had seen the red buses running their routes around the city for days before, and much to Cal’s delight we a day and took the bus around the city from morning until late afternoon.  We jumped off at a few attractions, the Basilica, the Plaza del Armas, the Central Mercado, Cerro Santa Lucia, and then back home.  Most rides we were the only folks on the bus and got to ride on top in the front row of seats with Cal standing and playing that he was at work.  Pretending that he was “the stander” he stood grinning and checking in fellow pretend passengers as the rest of us saw the sights.  The worst part of the day for Cal was when we would have to get off the bus at each stop and the anxiety it created not knowing if we would get the front seat again when we were ready to climb back aboard.  Lucky for us it was a very slow day in double decker bus ridership and Cal got his wish every time but once. 
The best stop I think was at the Mercado Central where we walked through all the stalls at the fish market while vendors tried to sell us all kinds of sealife.  There were live crabs, eels, tons of fish on ice, shellfish of all sorts, and even some octopus.  Harper and Cal were brave checking everything out but the fish below with the teeth and big eyes (I think they were calling it “dog fish”) definitely gave them the heebie geebies.  We had a great lunch at the market and sampled pastel del cangrejo, a crab casserole covered in breadcrumbs.  Yum.  We are glad we indulged Cal in his Double Decker bus obsession because we might not have come by this super toursity area otherwise. 

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