Great Surf in Santiago!
Trip Start Aug 01, 2011
57Trip End Apr 04, 2012
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For a start, it was great to leave behind the wet and windy towns further south - when you're living out of a backpack it is better not so be trudging around with a bag full of wet and smelly clothes! We could even feel the heat at 9am so we knew we'd soon be back to shorts and flip flops. To give an idea of quite how dry Santiago is, our host Ravi said that he has seen it rain a mere 5 times in the past 14 months!
We headed into town to see the sights, with the first being the central food indoor markets, which were humongous. Not just the markets, but even the vegetables were oversized, with peppers as big as your head. There were also kittens strewn about the place, making themselves at home in the baskets (see kitten with onions!).
A walk to the main square was worthwhile too, the stunning cathedral being one of the most beautiful we have seen in South American. Also whilst having a drink (rehydrating from the powerful sun) in the plaza we were entertained by a typical Santiago busker, a one man band who spins rapidly whilst drumming, very impressive.
Another great thing about couchsurfing is the hosts tend to know the ins and outs of a city far better than any travel guide and this was true for the next thing that Ravi introduced us too. He suggested that we went for a coffee, but this is no ordinary coffee, this is 'Cafe con Piernas' - coffee with legs. This is a Santiago phenomena. In a dark, curtained shop off a busy downtown street, customers (mostly men) stand at a bar where they're greeted and served espresso by a curvy, seductively dressed women standing on a platform ( which ensures the customer's eye level is at the waitress' chest level). It sounds seedy and we were both pretty wide-eyed when we entered. However our waitress was really chatty and friendly and it was an enjoyable coffee (probably more for Ravi and Tom!). Amutha did ask our waitress if there was a male equivalent (i.e bare-chested six pack waiters who serve coffee), but unfortunately there isn't - a definite gap in the market - she thinks!
Santiago has a really relaxed, fun vibe. A huge thanks goes to our hosts and new friends Ravi and Ellie, as they made our stay so great and massive congratulations as their family has just been extended by five new kittens!