Friday, July 02, 2004


Last night I finally had some free time. The weather has been spectacular - the smog has been greatly reduced, and the sun is shining getting to a high of about 60 degrees. Incredible.

I walked up the street to a local shopping mall and it was like... a shopping mall. This country is so modern it is astonishing. They had a Laura Ashley, Polo Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, two Dunkin Donuts, a McDonalds, as well as some European brands - Zara, NRG, Lush, etc - on top of two department stores, a Carrefour (French grocery store) and a zillion cell phone stores. Chile may be far away, but it is certainly the most modern and safe place I've been to on my travels to Latin America so far.

The park is adjacent to this mall, so I walked up and looked at the incredible mountains as the sun started to fade. They are so HUGE. You can't miss them anywhere. It is like San Francisco being built on the edge of the Sierras, but the Sierras are 20,000 feet tall.

I walked through some of the adjacent streets to get a feeling for the neighborhood here. I am in "Las Condes" which, as I see on a map, is on the outer edge of the city. Modern, safe, everyone has cars and there are many high rise condo buildings.

Today I plan on taking the metro to the old town, then to an area called BellaVista across the river which is apparently very picturesque. I will then backtrack and go to Los Domenicos, which is a trade area with Chilean goods. Marcela, one of my colleagues here, took me to a very upscale store with nice Chilean things and if I can't find anything I like in Los Domenicos, I will go back there. My flight is at 8:30pm, so I better boogie...


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