The Americas Revisted travel blog

Today we start a bit more research into the next part of our trip, Buenos Aires and Uruguay. We have been looking at things to do in both places and we need to make sure that we don't double up in Buenos Aires with what is on the Explore Itinerary.

We finally tear ourselves away from the computer and go to Migalitos Cafe who make the best coffee in Santiago. Fortuantely for us they are just around the corner.

We then go for a walk through Parque Forestal. The sun is out but it is still a bit cool, 19C here today. One the way back through the city we change some money and then drop by the supermarket for a few things. We leave Friday so we are trying not to get both, too much money or too much food so it seems we have frequent trips to the money changer and supermarket.

Home for lunch so we can use up some of that food. At 2.45 we head to the Museum just at the end of our street as we have a City tour by Tours4Tips. There are 14 on our tour and no other Australians. In fact the only other Aussie we have met this whole time (apart from Nick our tour leader) is a man at the harbour in Hanga Roa and we spoke to him for about 5 minutes.

The start the tour and we head straight to the murals painted near our apartment at the Bellas Artes Subway Station. They were redone 3 months ago. Yes they have definitely changed since we were here last. We then continue down past the Catholic Church to Plaza de Armas. Our guide explains about the many dogs wandering around. They all look remarkably healthy and well fed. Apparently, years ago as people moved to the city, where 40% of the population live, they brought their dogs with them. These dogs were used to roaming and the owners were used to them roaming too. Of course these dogs multiplied but people in Chile are used to having them around and so they are looked after by everyone. One park even had a row of dog kennels with bowls of food and water outside them. We look inside the Cathedral and then continue on to the Palacio de la Moneda which is the Presidential Palace although the President does not live there but he has his offices there. It used to be the Mint and the name has remained 'Palace of Money' but its the Presidents office. Our guide explains about President Allende was overthrown in a coup by Pinochet and a dictatorship began. After Pinochets rule ended many of Chiles government owned public services, like schools, electricity etc were sold off to give the government money as Pinochet corruptly syphoned money from his people. Now there is a big divide between the have's and the have nots and it is very difficult for the poorer classes to improve their life. For example education is now very expensive. The average wage is US$500 per month and it costs between US$500 to US$1,000 a month for University. There is no social welfare and many homeless, so Chile has its problems! We then walk through the city to a subway station and catch the train two stops. Then we look through the Arts Centre. Allende wanted to make the Arts Centre for the people but was vetoed because of the cost. So he appealed to the people of Chile and tradesmen and companies volunteered materials and labour to build the structure, which they did in a record 275 days. Pinochet during his dictatorship took over the building as the Palace had been bombed to kill Allende, although, he was actually shot. Once Pincochets dictatorship ended the buidling mysteriously burnt down. It was then rebuilt as a symbol of democracy that now exists and it is a space for concerts, music etc and for the people of Chile. Interesting!

The tour ends at 5-45 and we head home for some pre-dinner drinks and bbq chicken and salad for tea.

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