Saturday, November 21, 2009

South America Day 3: The Streets of Santiago

November 21, 2009

Today was our City Tour, in the Blue Bus (we were Blues in Egypt too; I wonder if this is mere coincidence...) Our guide is Patricia:
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That's pronounced Pa-TREE-see-ah, which I think is pretty. She chatted with us as we drove through Santiago's modern residential district on our way to our first stop. Along the drive, we passed by this street:
Ave 9-11
I was a bit surprised that Chile would name a street in memory of the September 11 terrorist attacks; Patricia explained that actually Chile has a prior claim on that date. Turns out September 11, 1973 was the date General Pinochet overthrew President Allende and took over the government. About which, more later.

Things I learned along the way:

1. There is a presidential election in Chile in a couple of weeks - December 13, to be exact. Chile has a freewheeling attitude toward election posters:
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The posters were just everywhere. In contrast to our stereotyped red, white and blue, Chile feels free to use the entire spectrum:
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2. Chilean drugstores
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can and will sell you a lot of things that we in America can get by prescription only. Almost anything but narcotics and opiates. Patricia says that Chileans are all hypochondriacs.

3. It is not "earthquake season" here right now. Chile is a very geologically active country, due to the Nazca Plate's ongoing conflict with the South American Plate. (Just remember what my geology professor always told us: Subduction leads to orogeny!) However, according to Patricia, there's kind of a cycle of years when earthquakes are more common and years when they're less common. Right this minute is a "less common" time. This, we think, is good news!

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