“See you in… twenty minutes?”

I was just going to buy fresh, out-of-the-oven marraqueta bread around 10 a.m., the missing item for dinner. Easy task, short 850-metre walk: Monjitas all the way to Plaza de Armas, then down Catedral to the Minimarket.

But despite the green light, I couldn’t cross San Antonio—hundreds of cyclists coming from nowhere, or more plausibly from the market area, were blocking the traffic, speeding by the growing number of pedestrians waiting, a puzzled or annoyed look on their faces. Five minutes passed, then six, seven…  Gosh, how many were they? This had to be an event or an organized ride, not just Santiaguinos going places. Cycling is popular here—I noticed bikes parked on balconies—, but still. Were they making a statement? Protesting? Just having fun? I’ll never know. I can only tell you it wasn’t the “Naked Bike Ride,” they all had clothes on.

Just another activity of the people of Santiago I don’t fully understand.

I’m an observer and an outsider. Occasionally, I stumble upon weird and entertaining groups of humans.

Like the teens at the Parque San Borja last Sunday. I was walking by when I noticed people sitting on the grass, selling stuff. I entered the park, expecting one of these Sunday street markets—anywhere, anytime in Santiago, there’s someone standing behind a sheet on which goods, ranging from clothes to nail clippers, from cactus to magnets, are displayed.

The vendors were younger than expected—late teens or early twenties. The precious goods? Japanese “kawaii” stickers, pencil cases, keychains, etc. A few metres further, life-size cardboard cutouts of two Asian pop stars were tied to a palm tree. And then, further down, the park was packed with Chileans dressed like Japanese or Korean teens and practising dance routines.

I googled it later—apparently, this is the meeting place for K-Pop lovers, a growing trend in Chile.

Tonight, at Plaza de Armas, locals were dancing as well—women in flowering dresses, men with the huaso hat, flannel poncho and boots, waving white handkerchiefs.

Never a dull moment.

Baquedano
Plaza a la Aviación
Plaza Baquedano
Parque San Borja
Parque San Borja
Parque San Borja
Parque San Borja
Parque San Borja
Barrio Brasil
Barrio Brasil
Cal y Canto
Cal y Canto
Cal y Canto
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
Providencia
Av Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins
Av Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins
Av Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins
Estado
Monjitas
Catedral
Santo Domingo
Barrio Bellavista
Barrio Bellavista
Plaza a la Aviación
Plaza a la Aviación
Agustinas
Moneda
Estado
Plaza de Armas
 

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4 Comments

  1. Jeruen March 7, 2018 at 9:37 am

    I remember that when I was in Santiago in 2011, one of the weird things I experienced was “cafe con piernas” which are coffee shops that serve coffee using women that are dressed sexy.

    At the same time, I remember reading about the “male” version of it, coffee shops serving coffee using men that are muscular and shirtless.

    Have you seen either versions?

    Reply
    1. Zhu March 10, 2018 at 2:10 am

      YES! OMG, I didn’t know, I just wanted coffee… weirdest experience ever 😆 That was during our first stay a few years ago. Actually, there are only a handful of these coffee shops, in the pedestrian streets. Never noticed the “male” version, though.

      Reply
  2. Frenchie au Canada March 8, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    It’s so interesting to see that with globalisation comes a certain fascination with some aspects of very different cultures, like K Pop in Santiago.
    I wonder how it started and what attracts those teens to it

    Reply
    1. Zhu March 10, 2018 at 2:11 am

      I totally agree! I also wonder how the K-pop trend started. There isn’t a very noticeable Korean influence in Santiago, although there’s a Korean community.

      Reply

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