Round the world in 90 days!

Travel time: December 2006 - March 2007  |  by Carolina Martinez

Santiago - The Only Gringos In Town

We finally made it to Chile! As I was checking through immigration, the officer was not only bopping but singing (rather loudly) to Whitney Houston´s I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY and I knew we weren´t in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Chilean TV is really hilarious. They have made Chilean version of all the popular american sitcoms like MARRIED WITH CHILDREN and THE NANNY and quite a few others. The reality tv is way too much, they have a really good one called FAMA which is like a cross between IDOL, BIG BROTHER and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE? Great stuff! Also, the morning shows will use any excuse to have no less than 3 bikin-clad ladies on screen at any given time. Oh, and don´t get me started on the Tele-novelas!

Arriving at the airport and greeted by my two aunts Tia Mona and Tia Gaby

Arriving at the airport and greeted by my two aunts Tia Mona and Tia Gaby

again with Maria Paz my cousin/niece

again with Maria Paz my cousin/niece

My cousin Gabyta (mother of Maria Paz)

My cousin Gabyta (mother of Maria Paz)

Shortly after we arrived, my family decided that where we were staying was no good, too dangerous, not close to anything, etc, etc, etc. Fortunately, my cousin Gabyta has a house that she doesn´t use which happens to be on the same property as my Tia Mona and my cousin Cono. And so it was decided, and this is where we are staying.

From left to right (spot the gringos) -
Maria Paz, Cono (cousin), me, Gabyta, Julius, Tia Mona and Tia Gaby in the house we are staying in.

From left to right (spot the gringos) -
Maria Paz, Cono (cousin), me, Gabyta, Julius, Tia Mona and Tia Gaby in the house we are staying in.

Julius and I have been a little shocked by Chile. So much is said about ´how far Chile has come´ but there is still such an incredible rift between rich and poor. I guess some things in Latin America just don´t change. The cost of living has certainly gone up but wages don´t seem to be high enough to warrant it. It really makes me angry. The contrast between the poor and rich suburbs is truly astonishing.

Alcalde Flores, the street we are staying in.

Alcalde Flores, the street we are staying in.

In front of our little house.

In front of our little house.

Side view of our house.

Side view of our house.

Backyard and shared thoroughfare to other houses on the property.

Backyard and shared thoroughfare to other houses on the property.

Side view of my Tia Mona´s house with Tomas their dog.

Side view of my Tia Mona´s house with Tomas their dog.

Our neighbourhood chook

Our neighbourhood chook

The kids on the same property have been quite fascinated by us and are harrassing us on a daily basis. We are quite literally the only Gringos around this part of town and it is a little intimidating. We are constantly warned to look after our belongings and make sure we don´t get ripped off especially ¨Julito with his Gringo face¨. Apparently I can pass for Chilean if I just keep my mouth shut. I´ve aleady had a fight with a local shop-keeper that I suspected of trying to rip us off. If we speak English in the street it is as if the whole world stops and stares.

Maryland in my Tia Mona´s house - one of the kids that come to harrass us.

Maryland in my Tia Mona´s house - one of the kids that come to harrass us.

We haven´t walked around Santiago too much yet but my cousin Macarena took us out recently with her now ex-boyfriend. I was quite sick and over-whelmed so didn´t get a chance to really take anything in. We´ll have another stab at it shortly.

Macarena (born last time I was here) and Marcello

Macarena (born last time I was here) and Marcello

It has been a little tougher for Julius without knowing any spanish at all and having the face of a gringo. He had a rather jolly night with my Tio Memo involving a whole lot of whisky (pronounced weekee in spanish). I left them to it. They are now ´compadres´.

Tio Memo with MeJulito

Tio Memo with MeJulito

Me with my cousin Cono.

Me with my cousin Cono.

Tia Mona and me.

Tia Mona and me.

Because we have been unwell and a little scared to venture out, we haven´t seen much Santiago night life (yet). My aunt and uncle took us out the other night to an area where there are a lot of cute looking bars. The national drink in Chile is Pisco sour which I´m loving!

Us out and about drinking Pisco sour in the trendy district.

Us out and about drinking Pisco sour in the trendy district.

You are here : Overview The Americas Chile Santiago - The Only Gringos In Town
The trip
 
Description:
Julius and Carolina's dash around the globe. Let's see who will cross the finish line first . . .
Details:
Start of journey: Dec 10, 2006
Duration: 13 weeks
End of journey: Mar 07, 2007
Travelled countries: Thailand
Denmark
Spain
Chile
Argentina
Brazil
Uruguay
The Author
 
Carolina Martinez is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 15 years.
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