Adventures Abroad: Chapter Two
Having officially landed in the city of Santiago, after Peter and I harassed a local store clerk in Auckland about whether this specific water brand (which claimed to cure jetlag) was economically viable in a saturated drinks market, we made our way into the first South America city of the trip.
First impressions of Santiago were good. And good is the perfect adjective to describe this place: positive energy, but laid-back. Isn’t desperate to be your friend or impress, but will certainly knock back a beer if you seemed cool enough. Santiago already strikes me as a ‘home away from home’ as cliché as that is. It’s not a show-stopping city nor is it trying to be, and I admire that it’s a city absolved of ostentatious glamour. It strikes me as the girl in the group of friends that doesn’t contour or wear a push-up bra, doesn’t wear a fresh shirt for an interview and doesn’t see the point in switching from hair gel to wax for a sharper aesthetic. If Argentina is the Regina George of South America, Chile is definitely the “If you’re from Africa, Why are you White?” version of Cady Heron. Or a Janice Ian. Depends where you go.
The Andes are as capitvating as they are flippant in their presence, forming peaks, crests and valley in no particularly informed nor aesthetic way. They’ve got a face as textured and asymmetrical as Seal and looking at them from the highest building in the city, Sky Costanera, I must say, it’s an incredible city. Littered with American shops and chain food stores, globalization certainly has painted a red, white and blue touch across the streets of Santiago, and yet the fashions seem stuck in this kind of cool, kind of kitsch time warp. Like Britney and Justin’s denim duo outfit would still be regarded as chic and an excess of colours manifests the height of style. My inner fashion blogger cringes, but it is a sight to see. Anyway, after roaming the streets, I got my first taste of Chilean cuisine, eating my weight in ceviche and Peruvian influenced sushi. Utterly divine, and recommend Osaka restaurant for those in need of gastronomical grandeur. I also had my first twelve Pisco Sours, and I think I’m going to successfully sleep through the jet lag tonight.
I lied, it’s 4am, the family’s awake and I need a five dollar packet of Malboro’s stat. So considering its an ungodly hour, I thought it’d be a great time for an epiphany. They say you learn the most about the company you keep when you”
a) Live with them
b) Travel with them
As someone who’s lived across three continents with their family for the past twenty years, I’ve certainly done both. But it took two days in Santiago to unleash Roula and Peter’s beast mode. Now don’t get me wrong – anyone who encourages me to piss away my future rent funds on some Fenty Pumas because fashion is a more justifiable investment (which in this housing market, it probably is), and pays for one Pisco Sour too many is regarded as a friend, but lets not blue the parental boundaries just yet. Kicking off the day with a stroll through the ‘Double Bay’ of Santiago, I was informed by my Greek parents of the absolute necessity of upholding our European customs… in South America. I’ve already touched on the vulgarity of Western influence, so please refer to earlier reflections.
Never would I thought that the European Union that is my parent’s marriage manifest their influence so profoundly here and safe to say after just forty-five minutes of life lessons and an ethnic-style ‘landed gentry’ approach to education, the days of me shamelessly soy chai lattes are gone –“expressos” are my only morning option. Maybe an Aperol to get me through a big one.
Moving on, we ventured to downtown Santiago to soak up the cultural foundations of the city. However, seeing as we neglected to do an organized tour (and I neglected to include the ensuing argument), every monument, facade and area we went to were described through allegories to places we’d visited prior – we took photos at the “Trevi Fountain” of Santa Lucia, gazed as the virgin Mary of Chile’s “Sugarloaf Mountain” and dined on the streets of Santiago’s very own “Soho” and “Rodeo Drive”. I will never know the real names of those places, but its safe to say I won’t forget them either. Speaking of memory, following a voluminous vino tasting session at lunch and pre-drinks as the hotel whisky bar, I ended up eating Mediterranean Pizza at an Italian restaurant aptly named Tiramisu. We came full circle since this morning.