The Journal  

19 February 2006


Author: Jeremiah

Photographer: Holly


Santiago , Chile : Part I

January 26-29

In Santiago we stayed at a hostel just off of the Alameda , the main street that cuts through downtown. Our guidebook described Santiago as having a “strong European and American feel,” and Central Santiago is much like the Mall area of Washington D.C. Filled with businesses and government offices, downtown Santiago begins to die after 6 p.m. It's easy to find lunch, but hard to find supper. Lunch time crowds of young professionals in suits and ties fill small cafes, grabbing a quick beer and a “completo” hot dog, although most businesses are shut down for a two hour afternoon lunch break.


Empanadas and a hot cortado (coffee with milk and sugar) are a favorite snack of Chileans.


Jeremiah picks up a wireless signal in a cafe where we stopped to have breakfast.


The Palacio de Bellas Artes museum has a collection of various national artists.

The other infamous dogs in Santiago are of the canine variety. In Santiago , dogs are everywhere, traveling in packs, dead beside the street, tearing apart garbage bags in search of food, fighting in the parks. The dogs aren't aggressive towards people, they're just all over, a reminder of Central America in an otherwise thoroughly modern city.


A dog wakes up from its nap at the bottom of a playground slide.

On the Saturday afternoon before we left Santiago the first time, we visited Cerro San Lucia, the downtown hill that served as a fort and then a monastery before becoming a park. From the summit we could see the Chilean capital, sprawling in all directions until it ran into the mountains. Santiago is the fourth most polluted city in South America , we overheard a tour guide telling his group, with the mountains trapping the smog and holding it over the city in a greenhouse effect. While you sweat in 80 degree weather, just west of town you can see snow capped Andes peaks.


Santiago has a population of about 13 million people. Its smog problem is due to the city's location amongst high mountains which traps the pollution.


Santiago 's smog problem ranks as fourth worst in South America.


A dead pigeon lies in a gutter among cigarette butts and trash. Many of the pigeons seemed to be in poor health, with their feathers falling out and generally looked dirty.



All photographs © Holly Marcus / Page design by Robin Marcus