Sunday, 21 December 2014

Walking Tour Santiago and ending up Drunk

It was day two in Santiago and also day two in Latin America. I still haven’t learn much Spanish but that was not about to stop me from exploring. Hostel can be too comfortable sometimes, when everyone does not speak English in the country, in the hostel there are bound to be English speaking travellers.  So I was out the door as early as 12pm. It’s been two months traveling and I am starting to finally slow down.

Armed with a borrowed lonely planet guide from the hostel I started walking heading towards the city centre aiming for tourist information to get better maps and recommendation.
Traffic Light Red …. So do I walk and ignore the signs like in Malaysia or do I wait … I decided to take out the guide book and check my bearings while silently observing the road crossing culture of Chile. A pretty girl was looking at me with wide eyed ….. ‘smile’ ……. Couldn’t be more than 24 I reckon and I smiled back with a polite nod. Back to my book and stole a glance …. She was still staring like I was a delicious candy mouth slightly open drooling …..Ok maybe that was my imagination but she was definitely curious and finally mustered up the courage to speak to me.
I haven’t even started asking the locals for direction help yet and here is a Chile Girl trying to talk to me. I could not understand a word though.
Smile, raise shoulder, look blur, look more blur, swing eyeball left and right …. I had no idea if I was going to be scammed on the second day in Chile. Pretty girls can be dangerous.  
First wavering words of English after many pause came from her ….. “Tourist?”
Art Sculpture at Plaza Del Arms Santiago
Yes I said and I now know she was a kind and curious soul that always help blur travellers like me showing them her lovely city. That was my first teacher and as she walked me to the city centre I got a crash course of the Spanish Language. With every try the conversation or meme got better and she was slowly remembering more and more words in English.
I would love to tell stories that the first Spanish word I learned in Latin America is : -
“Uno Cerveza Por Favor” …… One Beer Please
But that was not really the case. With so many words being thought while I walked with Stephanie (Yep we manage to exchange name by pointing and pointing) the very first Spanish word that stuck in my head after a drunk night was
“Disculpe” ……. Excuse me
She showed me a quick glimpse of Santiago and soon her mother phoned and we parted ways. I was left at the Plaza del Arms, Tourist information centre watching her go finding Chile a very friendly country.
Santiago Free Walking Tour
Push Cart Street Food
Just in time after Stephanie left I joined the free walking tour at 3pm just outside the Plaza. Introduce Felipe our Free tour guide for the day which earns his living through tips. He gave such a nice flare and speech it was like a presentation in a theatre throughout the walking tour. People, travellers like me were very friendly and soon I was chatting in and out of the whole group within the walking tour. Mostly Germans, a few Swiss, Finish and Swedish.
Felipe brought us to all the main building in Santiago and gave us a history with a flare trying his best to keep the tourist interested in Chilean History. In between even all the small push cart food along the streets was given its brief history of how the dishes came about and we got to try the nuts, sweet drinks, and finally took a break in a café. A walking tour with a break in between. I got the first taste of empanada and the first beer in South America.
Coffee With Legs
Of all the stories Felipe told of course the weirdest one would stuck in my head. It was the “Coffee with Legs” type of establishment which somehow became a tradition. According to Felipe, back then all the office workers along the office blocks would come downstairs during breaks to buy coffee and there was this café that only sells coffee with nothing else but legs.
Girls would dress up nice and formal like suits or uniform but always, always with miniskirts to show off those damn legs. Hence the term coffee with legs outlet. They would not sell beer, nor food or anything else but back in the days says Felipe, every day at a time unknown to the customer the owner will come out and ring a bell. The shop would close shut with all its customer in it and the girls would start to strip and dance. And after an hour when everyone was dress again the shop would open and NOTHING ever happened inside the café.
End of the tour, 4 hours and all I could say is that the Free walking tour was worth it and as the suggested tip amount I gave Felipe his CLP5000.
Then Came the After Party
The Beginning of the End
Some went their separate ways while others suggested going for a beer. I joined in caught in the flow of things and did not think too much of it since it was a nice group. Beers in pub must be bought in 1 litre volume. You can’t buy a 375ml nor can you buy a pint. Big group of 10 ish we drank quite a bit till the sun set at 9pm and Felipe suggested going for a couch surfing event. I was tipsy even then and had no idea how to get back to the hostel. Follow on … to the next venue
The Couch surfing Event Party
So next up was a couch surfing event which I just followed blindly or rather all of us followed blindly with many wrong turns and finally ended up in an apartment neighbourhood. I was totally lost. Met more people and had lots of deep conversation about culture and people and politics comparing all the countries and just exchanging stories while drinking Pisco & cola a national Chilean drink. Everyone was getting drunker and drunker. Then when 1 am came naturally we could not party all night at the host place so someone suggested going to a dancing club.
Dancing Club Party
I was half hearted at this point for I have no idea how I would be able to get back to the hostel which was across the city. Felipe pointed out where we are at the map and I was guessing nearly an hour plus walk so it was basically ignore the problem for now and continue on to the club. Dancing club …was interesting. It was not a salsa dancing club but more retro dancing with many many English songs played. More Pisco Please.
Observing was fun for I do not dance but the club had a huge amount of girls that comes there single and I felt for a moment glazed passing over the men. I was not sure who was being hunted at this stage, they sure know how to party in Chile. Somewhere between drinking and observing the girls shake that ass I needed a smoke and started rolling a cigarette. People suddenly started walking up and was observing what I was doing. When they determined it was not a joint of weed but just pure tobacco they left as fast as they came. One guy lingered longer and asked if he could try one.

Separated with the group …. I was alone with the locals …
The guy needed a light and so did I and was too lazy get it out from my jacket which was rolled up in my bag so (I didn’t tell him that) so we went outside looking for a light. Two girls sitting alone just being quiet and the guy asked them if they have a light. The girl had and entertained us with her humongous flame lighter. It was nearly 4 inch tall when lighted up. Naturally all general chatter was in Spanish and soon my skin colour attracted questions. Spanish talking question address to me. I put on my biggest smile, shake my head and wave my hand around ….. No espanol I said.
One of the girl Antonia could speak English and hola I had a conversation. The other two girls barely speak with me but entertained the Spanish guy instead. Standard questions was fired away to me such as where I was from, what I was doing in Chile and with each answer Anto eyes got bigger and bigger. I guess she could not believe an idiot is visiting Chile from so far away with no plans and speaks not a word of Spanish. I slowly got to know about her, just turned 18 yesterday …. OMG …. First legal outing in a club and she wants to be a doctor.
The group found me back eventually outside just smoking and we left for food. No lunch, no dinner and it was 2 am … everyone was starving for who knew a walking tour can last so long. Charly Dog we settle on for supper and boy does Chile knows how to make a hotdog. Layer upon layer of dressing and top of with tiny fried French fries.
After that it was back to hostel and I was convince at 3 am with all the drunkards around smashing bottles and being rowdy that I will take a taxi back to the hostel. Cost me CLP5000 but it was an honest taxi although I could not speak a word of Spanish I manage to work out the place for him to drop me off. He drove straight …. Never once tried to detour a longer route.
Just the 2nd Day in South America ….. oh Boy …

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