The Stories Behind Santiago Place Names

Being a history buff of considerably nerdy proportions, I have long been observing the street signs in Santiago and across greater Chile. Many of the names pop up several times – for example, Av. Caupolican exists in Providencia, Cerro Navia, Peñalolen, Renca, Santiago Centro, Ñuñoa, Quilicura, and many more, as well as being Theatre (Teatro Caupolican) and a Square (Santa Lucia).  So without further ado, let´s dig a little deeper into who these people really are …

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Looking out over a (smoggy) Peñalolen

Caupolican (birthdate unknown-died 1558)

Like Leftraru (Lautaro), Caupolican suffered a name change from the Spanish: Kalfulikan was his actual name.  Kalfulikan has gone down in history due to playing an important role in the poem, La Araucana, and is one of the most famous historical figures from the Arauco War.   He became Toki in 1557 after the death of Leftraru, a role he had for one year before famously being impaled in a gory and well-publicized death meant to scare the Mapuches into finishing their resistance. In order to become chief of all the united tribes, Kalfulikan had to demonstrate his strength to the caciques, which included Colo Colo.  To do this, he famously held a thick tree trunk on his shoulders for two days and one night. According to the writer Fernando Alegria, he he had one son who was blind in one eye that his wife Fresia famously threw at his feet when he was captured,  refusing to raise the child of a man who could allow himself to be captured. Ercilla writes that Kalfulikan fought to the very end, and actually jumped upon the spike himself.

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Photo taken in the Mapuche museum in Curarruehue

Tegualdas

In the famous poem, La Araucana, Tegualda meets author Alonso de Arcilla while frantically searching through the fallen casualities of war for her husband.

Cerro Blanco

Formerly known as Apu Huechuraba, this hill was a spiritual hub for local Picunche people that was given a name change due to its white rock, used for the first version of Puente Cal y Canto.

Plaza de Armas

This central square is believed to have been originally inhabited by Incas before being taken over by Pedro de Valdivia, Ines de Suarez and their troop in 1541. The term Plaza de Armas was given due to it being frequently patrolled and defended over the years against uprisings.

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Baquedano

Named after the soldier and politician, Manuel Baquedano, who served during the Guerra del Pacifico and who briefly became Chile´s president in 1891.

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Bernardo O´Higgins (1778-1842)

In 1810, the Spanish government was being controlled by France which was not supported by many of the local leaders here in Chile. On the 18th of September, they got together to self-govern until the time came when Spanish rule returned to Spain. Tension grew as people became divided between their loyalties to the Spanish Crown and the desire to become an independent nation.  O´Higgins was a well-born (though illegitimate) man who famously fought against the royalists, was exiled to Argentina and who later became the Supreme Director of Chile when independence was won after the Battle of Maipu.  During his time in power, O´Higgins proposed various radical reforms but was accused of being abusive of power; in 1823 he was relieved of his role during a political coup lead by his former friend and ally, Ramon Freire.

Barrio Yungay

Named after the Battle of Yungay of 1839, where the Chilean Army destroyed the Peru-Bolivia Confederation which united the states of Peru and Bolivia together.

Diego Portales (1793-1837)

A former entrepreneur, Portales was an influential and powerful politician known for drafting up the Constitution of 1833, backbone of the Chilean state for more than 100 years. He was murdered in 1837 when conspirators from the Chilean army captured him for being pro-war against the Peru-Bolivia Confederation.  After his death, the Chilean public united in support for the government and the War of the Confederation.

Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna (1831-1886)

Of Irish and Basque heritage, Mackenna was a man like few others. Known as the ¨hero of the Chilean Independence¨, he is noted by Memoria Chilena as being a former fireman, senator, historian, writer, philanthropist, social agitator, diplomat, and defender of modern ideals. Over the years he took up many causes including the occupation of La Araucania, and was fiercely mourned when he died.

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Jose Manuel Balmaceda (1840-1891)

The 11th President of Chile, serving from 1886-1891. His disputes with Chilean Congress lead to the Chilean Civil War of 1891, which resulted in Balmaceda committing suicide.

Autumn Giveaway!! (1)

 

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Did you like this article? Have a look at these:

5 Names You´ll Recognize in Chile

5 More Names You´ll Recognize

The Original People of Cerro Blanco

The Original People of Tierra del Fuego

20 Things You Didn´t Know About Chile

A Snowy Santiago

We woke from our slumber to the sound of shrieks and squeals of delight piercing the usual quiet of the early morning. Outside our windows, children were jumping up with arms outstretched to catch the lightly falling snowflakes, touching down on hair that had never before felt its icy touch.  The dark sky looked as though it had been painted, shafts of pink and white blurring together to create something that was at times beautiful but at other times surreal and eerie.

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Photo: Yorka Abarca

The snow that fell in the wee hours of the 15th July was something of a rare occurrence. It certainly had not snowed in recent memory here in Recoleta. According to the website Weather, snow is ¨slightly more common than snow in Los Angeles.  The two cities are at similar latitudes, surrounded by mountains and bordered by water to the west¨.  As a result (in typical Santiago fashion given it also can´t cope with rain) the city nearly fell apart. A worker died trying to clear ice, others were injured by a fallen power line while – mindbogglingly – 337,000 were hit by power cuts, lasting for days in some areas.  My friend Yorka (with the mad photography skills) was at the Bahai Temple in Peñalolen, and reports that some 9,000 people showed up to enjoy the snow there … and destroyed the temple gardens and facilities in the process resulting in temple closure.

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Photo: Yorka Abarca

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Photo: Yorka Abarca
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Photo: Yorka Abarca
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Photo: Yorka Abarca
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Photo: Yorka Abarca

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Photo: Yorka Abarca

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10 Fun Things to do with Kids in Santiago

Having two children, we spend a lot of time going to places with their happiness in mind.  What follows is our list of the best places for youngsters in the city of Santiago, with top accolades going to the Museo Interactivo Mirador, a science and technology museum that will honestly blow your mind and take up most of your day. Chile is also very family friendly, and restaurants will not blink an eye if you pop by with children or babies (and some even have play areas, especially in areas like Ñuñoa and Las Condes).  Further afield, you could stop by:

The Alpaca Farm in Quintessence;

Aguas San Ramon for family-friendly hikes:

Santuario de la Naturaleza to immerse yourself in nature;

Snow fun at Farrellones;

river swimming at Rio Clarillo;

the beaches of Viña del Mar;

the animal farm at Lonquen;

or one of the various Mampato theme parks for little ones.

Selva Viva

There is no better introduction to the jungles of the world then Selva Viva. This is an indoor, living museum where you can hold parrots, snakes, even hermit crabs, whilst learning all about the world´s ecosystem.

Price:   Adults – CLP$9.950 per person / Children (3 – 17 years) and Senior Citizens – CLP$8.950 per person
Address: Av. Presidente Riesco 5330, (Metro Manquehue, inside Parque Araucano), Las Condes

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Museo Interactivo Mirador (MIM)

This interactive museum takes the fun side of science very seriously. It takes it so seriously,        in fact, that the whole family will be amused and entertained for hours – if not the whole    day!  Visit the website here.

Price:   Adults – CLP$3,900 per person / Children (3 – 17 years) and Senior Citizens – CLP$2,700 per person
Address: Av. Punta Arenas 6711, (Metro Estacion Mirador), La Granja

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Museo Aeronautico y del Espacio

Put simply, this is a stunning museum curated with love and maintained with care. This two-storey building is filled with replicas and models of aircraft in all their forms, and there is an outdoors area to explore where you can step inside a real plane.

Price: Free
Address: Avenida Pedro Aguirre Cerda Nº 5.000 (Ex camino Melipilla), Los Cerrillos

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Parque Bicentenario del Infancia

There´s toboggans, a caged maze, sandpit, swings, water fountains and tree huts to entertain your child, plus an amphitheatre for events.

Price: Free
Address: Avenida Peru 1001, Recoleta. Metro Cerro Blanco

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Fantasilandia 

The best theme park in Santiago, Fantasilandia provides entertainment for all ages. Also in Parque O´Higgins you can find a dinosaur museum and an aquarium.

Price: Adults CLP$11.990; Children and Senior Citizens CLP$5.990; Kids less than 90 cm in height enter for free
Address: Beaucheff, corner Tupper (Parque O’Higgins)

fun places to go with kids

Parque Quinta Normal

Choose from one of the museums or just wander this colossal, and historic, park. Museums on offer include the Museum of Natural History, the Science Museum, a railway museum (Ferroviario), and the Artequin children´s art museum.

Price: Free
Address: Metro Quinta Normal

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Buin Zoo

A zoo to rival the world´s best, Buin Zoo packs a huge punch that everyone will enjoy. There´s also a marine show (additional price) and a dinosaur park.

Price: Adults CLP$7.500; Children CLP$5.000; Senior Citizens CLP$4.000; Kids less than 90 cm in height enter for free
Address: Panamericana Sur KM 32, Buin.

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Santiago Planetarium

Chile is world famous for the quality of its night sky and its observatories rank as some of the best in the world. Learn as much as you can at this city planetarium located within University of Santiago (weekends only)

Price: Adults CLP$3.800; Children, Students and Senior Citizens CLP$3.000
Address: Av. L. Bernardo O’Higgins 3349, Estacion Central.  Metro Universidad de Santiago

 

Granjaventura

Give your kids a break from touring and instead take them to meet all manner of cute and furry critter at this farm located in the pre-cordillera.  There are also adventure activities to enjoy in the extensive grounds.

Price: Weekday CLP$4.500; Weekend and holidays CLP$4.900
Address: Av. Larrain 11.095, La Reina

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Cerro San Cristobal

From summer swimming pools, a hillside furnicular train, a zoo, Japanese Botanic Gardens, a dazzling-high cablecar (teleforico) and a city lookout, this gigantic hill dominating the Santiago skyline will provide for the whole family.

Price: Various entrance prices
Address: Pio Nono 450, Recoleta. Metro Baquedano

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I´d love to hear your recommendations and feedback!

Other blogs you might enjoy:

Parque Fluvial Renato Poblete

Museo Artquin & Ferroviario

Family Fun Day

Street Art: Museo a Cielo Abierto

 

Largest collection of streetart in Chile

The Museo a Cielo Abierto is located in San Miguel, originally a settlement housing the families of copper mine (MADECO & MADEMSA) workers that today houses some 7000 people.  In 2010, it was falling into disrepair, classed as one of the most populated areas in the Metropolitana region and prophesized to die in 50 years.  Many of the buildings suffered from damage, electrical faults and issues with plumbing. It caught the eye of artists from the MIXART cultural centre, who proposed painting the gigantic murals to residents which was enthusiastically accepted. Extraordinarily, many residents – young, old and from different walks of life – became involved during the endeavor, while the artists themselves collaborated even though they too were known for different styles and from different worlds. The paintings were put onto the most vulnerable buildings, in a sense ´immunizing´ them from further decay, intended as a way to show the world that the people of the area care about their home. This work concluded in 2014.

40 murals that tower on 80m2 apartment blocks

Created by national and international artists, these murals are gigantic.  Many face the road but others you find by walking around the complexes, or painted onto bus stops and other building walls.  Ten of these murals allude directly to Chile and its history, with some being quite political, while seventeen have a free theme expressing ´a love of pure art´.  Last word on the artwork always came down to the residents; ROA, from Belgium, who is known for his macabre style, had his original design (horse eaten by piranhas) rejected.

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Horse by Roa (Belgium)

Artists include Colectivo La Mano: Basti and Jano, Aislap, 12 Brillos Crew, Lo Rekolectivo Ha: Gesak, Santiago Under Crew, Charquipunk + Larobotdemadera, Cruda, Depanité, Agotok, Echoes, Kata Núñez, Jamberta, Roa, Colectivo A La Pinta, Soledad and Sofrenia, Salazart and Inti.

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This mural by Jamberta (Germany) depicts the feelings and frustrations that parents unwittingly pass on to their children (as seen in the words painted on her face). The girl is looking with nostalgia at the flower as it only has nature and the wind to shape it.
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The Offering by Ian
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Resignation by acclaimed Chilean artist, Inti

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Dia del Joven Combatiente (Day of the Young Fighter) by Dasic
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Humanidad by Degra, Nao, Teo, Yono and Mona
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One of the first murals.  This one inspired the locals as it depicts the popular band, Los Prisoneros, who came from this area.
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By duo Aislap, this mural depicts the symmetry of native cultures. In the center there is a Mapuche machi (healer) who is surrounded by Aymara, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), the Ona (of Tierra del Fuego, now extinct) and the ¨digital man¨ who represents the emerging culture of today´s technological world.

More Information

Metro: Departamental

Parking: On the street

Other: The murals are located within a poblacion. While the area is perfectly safe in the day, it is recommended to be vigilant with your personal security and belongings.

Tours: Miles & Smiles Chile offer private guided tours in English and Spanish.  This trip can be combined with the Palacio Cousiño.

 

If you liked this, you might like:

5 Names You´ll Recognize in Chile

Valparaiso

Birds Eye View of Santiago

Ghosts of Recoleta General Cemetery

Autumn Giveaway!!

The Original People of Cerro Blanco (Pueblos Originarios)

If you have been following my Instagram feed, then you will know that lately I´ve been spending a bit of time at Cerro Blanco (Recoleta).  During my four years in Chile, I have been past this hill countless times and never thought of anything of it.

Now I feel quite silly.

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E enjoying the nature on Cerro Blanco

This unassuming hill, which separates Avenida Recoleta and Avenida La Paz and which is dwarfed by the colossal Cerro San Cristobal in front, is literally a treasure trove of history and culture.  In the early 2000´s, it was a place used heavily by delinquents until the Municipalidad of Recoleta declared it a Cultural Heritage site.  Today it has been transformed into a cultural space for the original people of the land, the pueblos originarios, who use it for ceremonies and activities as well as an aldea.

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Why is Cerro Blanco so interesting?

This was the first Catholic site in Chile, where in 1545 Ines de Suarez made the first shrine to Montserrat and later constructed the Iglesia de Viñita. 

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View from the hill. The site of Ines de Suarez´s original hermitage was destroyed centuries ago, but is believed to have been halfway up the hill facing Independencia.

The hill was already sacred, however. Known as Cerro Huechuraba, it was named after the region´s toqui and was an important site for the local Picunche people.  In fact, the remarkable Piedras Tacitas, holes cut into the rocks facing Avenida La Union, can still be seen today and are remarkable proof of how little we know about the past – no-one knows how or why they were made, but they are considered to be the largest concentration in all of the America´s. They were first discovered in the 1970´s, and what is interesting about the Cerro Blanco site is that the holes were made into what is known as living rock, rather than loose rock.  In 1992 the Piedras Tacitas were declared a National Historic Monument.

 

 

Cerro Huechuraba became known as Cerro Blanco after becoming famous for the white rock used to make various constructions including the original bridge crossing the Mapocho River at Cal y Canto in 1887.  The entrance to the original mine is still visible.

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Former entrance to the original mine

Cerro Blanco Today

The space is shared by multiple indigenous groups led by CONACIN (Coordinadora Nacional Indianista), which promotes multicultural coexistence, and Jose Segovia, who is regarded as the overall guardian of the hill. However, the situation today is not that simple. In 2001, the land was loaned to CONACIN and the group worked with the Ministry of Housing on a combined plan to develop the hill, which Segovia has said was abandoned by Serviu.  The various groups continued on their own, setting up sites for Aymara, Mapuche and various others, and for sixteen years they were left alone. Last August, Serviu responded to complaints that originated from inside CONACIN and have no rescinded the agreement, leading to a difficult political situation. The mayor of Recoleta has set up meetings with CONACIN and various other indigenous groups such as CONADI (Corporacion Nacional de Desarrollo Indigena), but this has not been successful; CONACIN have stated that they distrust the intentions of the municipality who are thought to want to develop the area.

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Kano Llaitul, who is Mapuche, explains that ¨We want to transform it into a Pillanhuenpul, a sacred hill [for our ceremonies]. As well as that we want to recover our language, Mapundungun … many words have been lost, many Mapuche ceremonies have changed their structure. Now the need to express ourselves in our language has resurfaced.  For example, our people could talk to the birds and the trees, the rivers and the sky. The whole environment has a language and that is Mapundungun.¨

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The Arbol Canelo.  Not only does this sacred tree have various healing properties, it is also used to make the ceremonial drum, the kultrun. This tree represents ones connection between the worlds: this world and the magic world beneath us, and its branches reaching up symbolizes the Mapuche four pointed cross which represents peace.
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The Aymara flag

CONACIN carries out various activities on the hill that are open to join, including various classes for children, and there is also a machi on site that anyone can visit.  The area has also been planted with various species of native flora and fauna, and at the summit there is a park dedicated to organ donors.

 

 

To Find Out More

Visit CONACIN´s official Facebook page here to find out more about their work and the state of the ongoing dispute.  Visit their Instagram page here.

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Love learning about the Aymara! Blog coming soon

What The Words Mean

Aldea – village

Machi – Mapuche healer

Toqui – Mapuche chief

 

 

How To Get Here

Metro: Cerro Blanco (line 2)

Autumn Giveaway!! (1)

The Santiago I Know

The morning begins by donning my shoes and jacket, and trudging to the store. The still-warm marraquetas are firm beneath my touch as they tumble into the yellow bag before being weighed by the same woman who serves me everyday.  To them I´m known as ¨vecina¨, one of many who frequent the store when something – anything – is needed.

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I toast the bread on the oven before spreading avocado mixed with oil, salt and lemon, purchased in bulk the day before from the feria, from one of dozens of vendors competing with their palta  at various degrees of beauty, ripeness and pesos.

Around me, the day is cool and the hill that dominates my daily view is smeared with grey fog, the air thick with sound. Car horns beep incessantly and their alarms sing a lullaby to my children. I hear engines humming, the chug of buses in the distance and music sounds from every direction.  I hear cumbia, mournful flamenco, bachata, salsa and somewhere someone is blasting my daily dose of reggaeton.  The noise is everywhere, bringing with is echoes from another life.  I hear their tears and their joy, and with time I come to listen for it.

There is a routine when I speak to the people. The same gestures, same questions, the same answers. With this there is monotony but also comfort. I embrace it as a lifeline while also standing apart – my skin, eyes, hair and voice ratting me out to the crowd that I am not one of them. There is distrust too, a lurking shadow that is often hidden but always there, that makes its presence known in the constant chatter of the street.

Sometimes there is silence. I hear it at that moment right before the goal when all of Santiago takes a breath and crosses their fingers. I hear it on the feriado (national holiday) when everyone is too hungover to shout, venturing out only to buy an empanada (cooked filled pastry) someone industrious has sacrificed.  Sometimes the noise is so much that I don´t hear it, and then the silence becomes deafening.

Santiago is my home now. It is not always a place of comfort – is anywhere? There are days when I wish to curl up in a ball and hide my face, and other days when I feel like nothing can touch me.

But the city has touched me.  I butter my bread with avocado, I douse my sopaipilla with pebre and cilantro is a central component in every cazuela that I make. But I also can´t help longing to throw the manjar the window – the milk too while I´m at it.

Sometimes I find myself listening to – and joining in – the gossip that peppers the conversations. Even though sometimes I know that the gossip is about me.

That is the Santiago I know.

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What The Words Mean

Marrequeta: type of bread

Palta: avocado

Feria: market

Vecino/a: neighbour

Empanada: oven baked or fried snack similar to a Cornish pasty

Manjar: milk-based spread

Cazuela: type of soup

Pebre: spicy salsa made with tomatoes

Sopaipilla: hot fried snack usually served in winter


If you enjoyed this blog, then you might like to read:

Notes from the Street: Made in Recoleta, about my interactions with the neighborhood children and the story of Diego;

Notes from the Street: Santiago´s Children, which is my most popular blog post;

Essay on Poblacion La Pincoya which I wrote for university about the class elements found in a local poblacion;

Essay on The Milk Chain, where I research some of the factors influencing why Chile only sells UHT boxed milk.

Notes From The Street: Marta´s Story

¨The drugs were always there. They were there for my father when we had nothing to eat. They were there for my mother, when my father was in jail.  They were there for my sister after she was raped. And they were there for me, as I looked after my family and vowed that I would always rise up – raise my family up – so that nothing could hurt me.

I fell pregnant when I was 20, to a man I always thought was the greatest guy ever. He was so good looking then, and he was tough. No-one wanted to fight him – plus he was skilled with the knife. We met at a friends house when I was sixteen and I was just blown away by him. His charisma, his green eyes, the way he didn´t care what anyone thought.  I felt lucky that he chose me.

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After the baby came he moved in with my family.  He went to work, I stayed with the baby and took care of my nephews.  But then one day he didn´t go to work. And everything changed.  He took to dealing drugs from our home, which was nothing unusual for me as I knew all about drugs – I´d grown up with them. But the coke messed him up, it really did.  Every day was the same. I couldn´t stand it. I couldn´t stand him. We would fight in front of our children – we had two by then – because there was no where else we could go to fight.  He´d hit me and I´d hit him back. But I always stayed because I didn´t know how I´d be able to support myself and our children without the income he brought him from drugs. I was also a sucker for those green eyes.

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In the end it wasn´t a decision I had to make. He stabbed someone one night after a soccer match, got arrested and I never saw him again. I don´t think of him. I took over his job dealing the drugs, not because I love drugs but because I needed the money. It became something I was good at doing and to be honest I enjoyed the power

I met Pablo three years later. He is a quiet guy, someone that let me be go about my business. We had a lot of fun together. He also worked, which I liked. We have three children together and we live in the same place where I lived with Daniel, though we have bigger rooms because I´m the boss.

I am the boss. I bring in the most money and people are afraid of our family because there are a lot of us and we´ve been here a long time. There are fifteen adults living here and we have everything we need to defend ourselves in a situation. Situations do happen but I´m not afraid. Things do happen in front of the children because we can´t shelter them, though we do try to protect them. They are growing up the same way I did, though more stable because this time around there is always food on the table. They all go to school too. My sisters all work, and most of the men too, though there are a few bad eggs in every family that sponge off the rest of us. I don´t like the man my eldest daughter chose and I was not happy when she fell pregnant because of the strain it would put on me to feed an extra mouth, but I am surprised by how she has matured since her daughter was born.

I am proud of how I have built my family up. I am proud of how strong our name is. I live for the little things, for my children, my grandchildren and my nieces and nephews. I save for months to throw the best birthday parties and I love any excuse for a party.  I love watching soccer and I support Colo Colo. Sometimes I wish things were different – I have so many scars, seen so many horrific things – but I´m not bitter.

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I am strong.¨

 

Notes from The Street is a series of interviews conducted with various people I have met during my time here. My aim is to humanize a different world to what expats normally encounter, but a Santiago one that thousands live none the less. For more stories try:

Jose´s Story

Santiago´s Children & Maria

Luis´Story

Jose & Pasarlo Chancho

Manuel & the Taxi Pirata

Luisa and being a mother

Luis, and the role of education

Diego

 

The Santiago List 2017

Santiago – a city that is appearing in magazines and soaring up city polls everywhere. A stable place broken only by strikes, car horns, taxi/Uber strife and the odd delinquent. The restaurant scene is thriving, bursting forth as one of the top food destinations in South America with a growing ethnic scene that can rival overseas capital cities. Here is the list of places to see this year:

FOOD

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Cafe: Wonderland Cafe  (Barrio Lastarria)

Quirky and shabby chic would probably be the best words to describe Wonderland. Located in the best barrio for cafes, this addition deserves a mention just for its Drink Me: dessert and drink in one (chocolate is best). It also serves up a pretty decent brunch, that includes baked beans, sourdough bread and bacon.

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Cakes:  Pasteleria Lalaleelu (Ñuñoa)

Yet again, Lalaleelu takes the number one spot for cakes in the city. This tiny, family run establishment thrives, firstly because of its amazing customer service and secondly (its a tie) because of its quality tortas and pasteles that blend fine dining, french pastry techniques and casual. Order the Diablo or the Jeezy Limon.

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Casual: Tiramisu (Las Condes)

A few years ago, Tiramisu was the place to go. It´s star has faded a bit since then, but it still remains a good option for those needing something fast, casual, tasty and filling in a nice setting. The pizzas, pastas and breads are all good, as are the desserts, and the service is extremely professional. It is a great option for families and is not expensive.

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Ethnic Restaurant: Rico Saigon (Recoleta)

The restaurant doesn´t have the wow factor that its neighbour, Vietnam Discovery, does, but the food wins by leaps and bounds in the taste stakes. This is genuine, home cooked Vietnamese food – in fact you could easily think you are sitting in Mai´s dining room (you are).

Fine Dining Restaurant: 99 Restaurant (Providencia)

This restaurant is winning in every way. It´s been named one of the 25 best restaurants in Latin America and is frequently lauded by the dining out community, though it has yet to become common knowledge. Excellent value, service and food – make your booking before it really reaches its stride.

Food Delivery: La Paloma Saludables (Santiago)

Organic fruit, vegetables, Weleda products, vegan options, and things such as almond flour and coconut oil – all delivered to your door. Friendly service and they have a refrigerated van.

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Photo: Agricola Tinajacura

Free Range: Agricola Tinajacura (La Reina)

The physical store is in La Reina, but Tinajacura deliver to all of Santiago. This family run business sells free range eggs and meat from happy chickens, and antibiotic-free lamb.

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Home Cooked: South Indian Flavours (Las Condes)

Ingredients brought from India combined with lengthy fermentation techniques and prepared from scratch using the best fresh vegetables and meat from Tinajacura, this is the best option for Indian food, south Indian style, for you to enjoy in your own home.

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Romantic: Zully (Barrio Concha y Toro)

Visually, Zully is a restaurant that cannot be beaten, nestled in a sector with the power to transport you back in time. Its steps are laden with rose petals, there are expansive flower arrangements on each table and the themed rooms are dimly lit, quiet and private – perfect for eye gazing. The food is impressive – visibly stunning – and the restaurant frequently has deals.

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Touristic: Peumayen (Bellavista)

Peumayen is a beautiful restaurant. The service is amazing, waiters are bilingual and professional and the food … the food is so good. It might not be for everyone given that it combines various indigenous foods and amalgamates them into a fine dining experience (that means ingredients like horse, testicles etc).

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Vegan: Vegan Bunker (Ñuñoa)

This place is my go-to for a quick bite to eat that is healthy and cheap – bonus points for being vegan. They always have a filling set menu but the real highlight is the cake display – so good!

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Vegetarian: El Huerto (Providencia)/ Quinoa (Vitacura)

This was a difficult toss up. On the one hand, El Huerto has huge portions that are delicious and spread across various cuisines, but it also has average service and a below average seating arrangement. Quinoa, on the other hand, has a relaxed and calm setting with good service and excellent food but the menu is smaller and portions are definitely so.  Varanasi (Vitacura) is another excellent option for vegetarians but it is not strictly veg-only – the menu contains meat, chicken and fish, as well as gluten free and vegan meals.

 

SIGHTS

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Bahai Temple (Peñalolen)

Joining temples in India, Australia, Uganda, Germany, Panama, Samoa and North America (among others), this center of religious worship welcomes all creeds and provides a relaxing, tranquil setting to commune with oneself or a higher power. The temple is awe-inspiring, perfect for photographers, but it is also incredibly romantic.

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Costanera Center Observation Deck (Las Condes)

A jarring addition to the Santiago skyline, this behemoth skyscraper reaches upward with phallic splendor, providing the most impressive views of the city and leaving the mighty Cerro San Cristobal hill far below. It isn´t cheap to ride up but it takes just two minutes and the vista is worth it, particularly during sunset.

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General Cemetery (Recoleta)

This is the oldest cemetery in Chile and one of the biggest in South America, this is a colossal place to lose yourself amongst the tombs of history.  The skeletons contained would fit into 117 football fields and date back 11 generations. Come here to walk or bike, and lost yourself in silence.

DAY TRIPS

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Salinas Salt Flats and Reserve

Just outside of Cahuil, near to Bucalemu and Pichelemu, are the salt flats of Salinas. This beautiful setting makes for a pleasant walk, particularly for the bird watchers among you, and can be enjoyed by families. Best combined with the beaches.

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La Campana National Park

You can hike, bike, horseride or casually walk to your hearts content in this biosphere reserve, once traversed by Charles Darwin.  This remarkable park is home to a dazzling array of flora and fauna, including the Giant Hummingbird and the majestic Chilean Palm, which is sadly endangered.

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Photo: Trish Shaw

Embalse el Yeso (Cajon del Maipo)

The Maipo Canyon is like a detox for the soul – particularly after the city.  One of the best ways to escape it all is to detour to the Embalse el Yeso, a huge reservoir that supplies water to Santiago.  The drive is scenic and you would be hard pressed to find a better spot to experience the mountains.

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Casas del Bosque (Casablanca Valley)

This winery has been named the best Chilean Wine Producer at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London for the last two years, and it´s restaurant, Tanino, has been named as one of the best twenty winery restaurants. Aside from the wine (click the link for more information), the winery makes for a lovely day out, perhaps for hiking or bike riding.

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Valparaiso

The hills are perfect for walkers, art lovers, amateur photographers or those seeking a bit of culture, while the flat city and the port are for those looking to immerse themselves in history. For centuries, Valpo was the most happening place in Chile, port of entry and departure, and throughout the course of time has been plagued by pirates, been a center for the South American slave trade and attracted innumerable artists – all of which have left their mark upon this incredible UNESCO heritage spot.

 

Where are your favorite spots? Share them in the comments so I can check them out!

Cover Photo: Trish Shaw

Ghosts of the Past: Exploring the General Cemetery

Those of you who have used our business, Miles & Smiles, may have noticed that we offer a tour named after my blog, Querida Recoleta. It was important to me to have an option that was a little different to all the usual options offered by agencies, particularly if it showcases how so many people in Santiago live.

It also includes a visit to the General Cemetery, which is probably my favorite place in Santiago.  Where else can you go to immerse yourself in history, take some great photos and walk or bike to your hearts content, sometimes to the sound of nothing but your breath and the distant hum of engines.  I like to go here to look at the architecture, read the names and think about all the people that came before me and called this place home.  I don´t find it to be morbid or unsettling – in fact I find it to be a calm, peaceful place to go when I need to step away and reflect.

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It is also almost alive with history.  This is the oldest cemetery in Chile where you can find 11 generations buried with enough skeletons to cover 117 football pitches. It was born in the 19th century beside hospitals and medical institutions so that bodies could be quickly taken away and looked after; before 1821, bodies were buried under ground which is today underneath the city pavement.

Patio 29 is where you can find all the unmarked graves of the disappeared, many of whom were abandoned in the Mapocho river, and close examination of tombstones will reveal the deaths that occurred during various epidemics (one particular area is dedicated to the lives lost during the 1887 cholera epidemic, which claimed 100,000).

 

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