Friday, January 14, 2011

Santiago, finally a piece of the puzzle

We are having a hard time figuring out Chile. The cost of goods and traveling is comparable to the US or higher, more like Europe (Chilean wine being one of the few exceptions), yet the level of development is barely discernible from Peru where the cost is half.

After a few days in Santiago, we are finally seeing signs of development that begin to justify the prices.
  • Santiago has more miles of downtown pedestrian streets than anywhere we have been. People love them, overflowing the streets all day long.
  • There are all kinds of pleasant neighborhoods in the city center, blending residential and commercial, the old and new. There are street cafes everywhere.
  • The subway system is modern and clean. The stations not only have stores but also services outlets for train, bus, bank, etc. Except the system is not so tourist friendly. The per ride cost for us is more than the Washington DC subway.
  • The Changing of the Guard is among the biggest of the dozens of such spectacles we have seen, while it may not be the most unique.
  • We found the best vegetarian restaurant of the whole trip, where we he had all three lunches there though there are over a dozen ineffectual alternatives.
  • Santiago is supposed to be one of the most dramatically situated capitals with the snow capped Andes to the east. We could hardly see anything through the brown haze of auto exhaust. Development.
As sophisticated as Santiago may appear, we still think the exchange rate with the U.S. dollar is wrong. Of course our opinions are biased here.

Pedestrian Mall.

Changing of the Guard.

Evergreen Vegetarian Restaurant.


Crash Eddy said...

So, the Evergreen is better than Sweet Tomatoes? AYCE?

john said...

Yes, much better. IMHO, it's the best vegetarian restaurant in the whole world. Amazing variety, tasty of course, and a tremendous value.

Dayle In NC said...

I'm just catching up on your blog. Glad to find all is well. I was a bit disappointed not to see you two in the photo at the busy beach -- did you find yourselves in los trajes de baño???

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

john said...

Just catching up on comments. We get enough beach beach time in NC, no need to hit the waves in SA. ;-).
All the best in 2011!
-john and sun-ling