Santiago taxis have a standard basis fare of 250 pesos (roughly 50 cents) and charge anywhere between 90 to 120 pesos per 200 meters of traveled distance. Something which G and I caught on to right away is how many drivers don’t recognize (or are simply feigning ignorance of) a startling number of street names in the city center. Granted, Santiago is a huge city but you’d think someone whose job it is to be familiar with her intricacies would be a bit more well-versed. Also, you always have to be vigilant when cabbing it, with one eye on the meter and the other on the drivers’ hands, as a nice trick that taxistas have down to a science here is flicking a little hidden switch that will make the meter jump a few hundred pesos in rapid succession. They especially like to do this when you’re engaged in conversation with them, laughing at their jokes or casually staring out the window. The irony is that cab drivers are an invaluable resource for otherwise little known tidbits of information about the city and make for great conversationalists when the mood strikes them. Their ability to suss out intimate details about you with just a few glances in the rear view mirror is uncanny. And by no means are they all dishonest or keen to con you if they can, it’s just that there are enough of them out there that are to tarnish the reputation of the rest.
This week’s post is a bit late. Between a short stint of technical difficulties and getting out of town for the weekend I just hadn’t gotten around to it until now. Luckily, any time is ¡Bacán! Time so without further ado, this week’s selection of cool Chile-related goodies.
- Between the size of the city, uninformed drivers and a host of little tricks to bump up the price a few hundred pesos, taking a taxi in Santiago can sometimes be a real headache. Make it easier by planning your route and getting an estimate of how much your journey will cost before you leave the house so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
- Check out this short film of legendary Chilean street artist INTI talking about where he finds his inspiration at the 2011 CityLeaks Festival in Cologne, Germany. He also did an impressive series of pieces a bit closer home, in Valparaíso, earlier this year.
- Anyone who’s ever been to Chile knows that Chilean Spanish is in a world all its own. Some of the most humorous misunderstandings I’ve experienced here thus far have arisen from a lack of knowledge of the endless number of chilenismos used on this side of the Andes. North American anthropologist Margaret Snook has been living in Santiago since 1991 and constructing an impressively thorough glossary on her site Cachando Chile. She also runs a great food and wine blog called Tasting Chile.
- I’m really digging Fernando Milagros‘ music, especially this song, which has been on constant repeat for the past few days. Oh, and this one too. Completely unpretentious indie pop folk homegrown right here in Chile. Great stuff. Have a bit more time? Check out the 3-part tour around Valparaiso with him, shot and edited by the guys over at La Blogothèque.
- This just blows my mind. Pyura chilensis is a living, vanadium-secreting hermaphroditic rock found off the coast of Chile and Peru. But does it weird the Chileans out? Hell no. They call it Piure and use it in any number of dishes from the well-known paila marina to ceviche. Only in Chile, my friends.
Chilean Design, while certainly not visible on the scale that one has come to expect in places like Berlin, Rotterdam or Copenhagen, is most definitely on the rise. Young, inspired artists from all over the country are converging in the capital and slowly setting the scene for what could prove to be a design powerhouse someday.
At first glance Santiago may seem quite devoid of authentic Chilean influence, with bland dime-a-dozen highrises and American-style shopping complexes outnumbering and overshadowing the limited number of historic buildings which have survived the past decade of modernization. By throwing its doors open to principles of free market capitalism Chile has scrambled up the ladder of economic prosperity, leaving it’s neighboring countries like Peru and Argentina in the dust. But this surge of wealth comes with a hefty price tag and unforeseen repercussions, one of which being an unchecked amount of coca-colonialism leading to the steady erosion of Chilean identity from the face of this and many of her other cities.
Fortunately, an ever-growing number of young Chileans is starting to find its voice and reclaim its identity with methods far-removed from the student protests which have been rocking the country with little to no progress for over a year now. Rather than take to the streets, they rock up to the ateliers to speed along the progression of change and innovation this country so direly needs through a flux of creativity. Made in Chile is becoming a concept that not only sells, but also inspires, and that could very well change more than just the Santiago skyline someday.