My name is Leah, and I am a 24-year-old American living in Santiago, Chile. How did I end up here? Well, my passion for the Spanish language definitely has something to do with it. After getting my Master’s degree in Spanish translation and interpreting, I knew I wanted to fulfill my dream of moving abroad. So, in July 2014, I made the move from Atlanta, Georgia to Santiago. After a brief stint as an English teacher, I finally found a job in translation! Now, I work remotely as a Spanish-to-English translator and mainly work with research papers that are to be sent to academic journals for publication. After 2 years in Santiago, I hope to show you what a day in the city is like!
Good morning from Santiago, Chile. You may not know this, but Santiago sits in a valley with the Andes mountains surrounding the city. You can look up from almost any point throughout the capital and spot these overbearing giants! Quite the beautiful view to start your day to!
If we’re going out into the city, we’re going to need some cash. So what exactly does our money look like in Chile? Each bill is a different color (20,000= orange; 10,000= blue; 5,000= red; 2,000=purple and 1,000=green). We also have quite a few coins, with 500 pesos and 100 pesos being the most important. To put things into perspective, $1 USD is currently valued at about 670 pesos. Let’s bring 31,000 pesos along ($46USD).
While I typically eat breakfast at home, I sometimes treat myself to a special morning out in the city. This morning I decided to go to my favorite breakfast spot, El Taller. This bakery is located in the Providencia neighborhood and has so many scrumptious breakfast options. One of my favorite things to eat for breakfast in Chile (and that is quite typical here) is bread with avocado (palta, in Chilean Spanish) spread on top.
After breakfast, when it comes to getting around the city, public transportation here is quite easy to use! Since I take the metro so often, I use what is called a Bip! card. This card can actually be used for both of Santiago’s transportation options: the metro and the public buses (called micros). Today, I’ve decided to take the metro.
While living in a big city can sometimes feel overwhelming (1/3 of the entire Chilean population lives in Santiago), it can also offer really exciting opportunities. For me, one of these opportunities are exploring the many different neighborhoods Santiago has to offer. One thing in particular that I like to look for is street art. Here, you can see my absolute favorite spot. I love the way the colors pop!
For lunch, I think I’ll show you one of the many delicious food options in Chile. It may not be the healthiest of choices, but man, does it taste good. A lomito includes a large portion of pork slapped onto a hamburger bun with avocado, tomatoes, and mayonnaise. It may not sound that tasty from this description, but I promise you, it’s amazing. One of the most popular places to try a lomito is Fuente Alemana. Don’t worry, Chile has plenty of healthier foods too; this is sort of Chile’s version of fast food. I think it’s important for me to point out that lunch is eaten a bit later in Chile than in the United States, and this took a little while for me to adjust to! For example, in Chile, restaurants don’t normally open until 1 p.m.
To get from lunch to my next destination, I’m going to take a micro (remember, this is the word for public buses). To properly catch the bus, make sure to know the number of the bus you are looking for. If you find a bus stop, you’ll notice that the numbers of the micros that pass through that stop will be shown on the top right corner of the bus station sign.
Next up is a new attraction in Santiago that has only recently opened. For those of you out there who are photographers, this is one of my favorite places to come and try to get my best shots of the city. I often come here, but always during the week! The price is much more expensive on the weekend. So what is this mystery destination? It’s Sky Costanera, offering a 360-degree view of the city. I like to end my day with this beautiful sunset! What do you think?