After the debacle of trying to navigate Sao Paulo without internet, we sort of wised up (Janet Weiss) and printed out our apartment address in Santiago to avoid hassle. Unfortunately, at a second glance we realized the email from the airbnb.com host contained 2 separate addresses one of which was an abandoned theater and the other was an awesome apartment on the 27th floor with a sick view of the city.
The next morning bright and early, on still less than 3 hours of sleep we headed over to take a bike tour of Santiago. Martin, our tour guide was adorable and gave us a great tour of the city including Bellavista (the bohemian area) Pablo Narutos house dedicated to his lover (“you see the image of the woman with the hair sticking up. That is because the hair gets messed up after having lots of sex”) some historical buildings and Mercado Central and La Vega Market both of which are on my list of shit I needed to see in Chile.
Mercado Central I’ll get to later but La Vega Market was amazing. The indoor market consisted of a few food stalls and tons of grocers selling fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and dog food. And the occasional pachinko parlor which contained a few degenerate gamblers. (Don’t worry hunny, I’ll go to the market and pick up the ingredients for dinner…)Everything was fresh and delicious, and our tour also included lunch of fresh fruit juice and sopapillas.
Oh and another note about Chileans. They fucking love stray dogs. The market had bins of what I thought were spices but turned out to be food for Fido. We also passed dozens of stray dogs that would follow us through the streets, or just walk along side us obeying traffic signs. They’re seriously smarter and cleaner than any tourist I’ve ever seen in New York. When I hear “stray dog” I immediately think of a scruffy, mangy thing and these dogs were beautiful, friendly, and had gorgeous coats that some of my friends aren’t capable of maintaining on their house pets. Martin also showed us a park where people had built dog houses so the mutts wouldn’t go unprotected from the elements.
For lunch that decided that we wanted to head back to Mercado Central to have a delicious seafood lunch from the seafood market inside the building. Being a bunch of big fat Americans, we ordered a fish empanada, scallops, seabass ceviche,octopus and a plate of uni. Really looking forward to a delicious lunch that included a giant bowl of fresh uni prepared table side I have to say this was one of the worst meals I’ve ever eaten. The uni while a beautiful color, tasted and smelled like it had been left out in the sun soaking in fish juice for about a week. When we didn’t touch it the waiter commented that it was too strong for us, but after smelling and tasting it I really felt like sucking on a hobos toes would’ve induced less of a gag reflex. If anyone reading this knows about traditional preparation of sea urchin in Chile please let me know whether I’m lacking this acquired taste or if I did the right thing to avoid food poisoning. I also wasn’t thrilled with any of the other dishes either – the octopus was kind of fishy, the ceviche was okay, the scallops were probably my favorite, and served with their egg sac or something, and the emapanada was good.
After the bike tour we checked out our rooftop pool and met some random guys who looked Dominican but were apparently Chilean, Colombian and Italian. Go figure. They also spoke only Spanish and some Italian so I didn’t understand much of the conversation. Except that one of them was a masseuse, liked to dance and kept talking to Mark. I didn’t understand much of the conversation since it was in Spanish, so can anyone tell me what “Soy gay!” means?
Dinner was up next and we went to Galinda, a traditional Chilean restaurant in the Bellavista that our tour guide had suggested. Not wanting to miss out on anything we ordered two orders of ribs that came with a side, an order of blood sausage and a side of razor clams with Parmesan cheese. Anyone who wants to make fun of Americans for being fat and having insane portions, try to get a “light meal” in Chile. The ribs were supposed to be sort of an appetizer portion and were gigantic. The sides were meals in and of themselves. The “appetizer” of razor clams had at least a dozen clams doused in Parmesan cheese. The size of the sausage would’ve put Ron Jeremy to shame – and there were 2 of them! Incidentally, they were also delicious and I loved putting them in my mouth and swallowing.
Waddling out of the restaurant 2 hours after we started, we decided to get a drink before heading home, and after wandering Bellavista for half an hour trying to digest the food and passing reggae bars, gay bars, club bars, expat bars and numerous other drinking locations we ended up in Harvard for one drink, because we are so smart. S-M-R-T. I mean S-M-A-R-T.