March 13. Providence.

Friday the thirteenth. I am in a café where the waiter has bloody eyes and under the glass plates of the tables are roasted and unroasted coffee beans. Santiago de Chili is a magnificent city, a metropole with many faces. I’ve been here for a couple of days now and moved about the center enough to get a first impression. A lively, colonial city, the people seemed a little bit more relaxed than in Argentina, though street vendors and shoe polishers were everywhere. A grand network of square blocks constitutes the heart of the city, the part where restaurants and shops await their visitors and most of the money flows. Walking on those streets makes a European feel like he never left home.

From the hill “Cerro San Cristobal” (you don’t need to write that down, you won’t miss it in Santiago) the view of the city is impressive. Its multifariousness is even more noticeable from here: under the thick cover of smog that cannot escape over the surrounding mountains we see the commercial district with its high-rise glass-facade buildings but also the wide cuadros of low colonial houses. Tourist instincts awoke as we walked up to the Maria statue. The Virgen is popular here. I could look up why but I only want to play. Taking a picture with the sun behind her head like a halo. On our way down we discovered two new functions in Silvia’s camera: baby1 and baby2. The camera was able to keep track of the age of the baby when a picture was taken in baby1-mode. This could be done for more than one baby, too. That’s where baby2 kicks in. Having more than two babies simultaneously is not advisable for technical reasons. I volunteered to be baby1 and baby1 was 30 years, two months and 1 day old. It’s not very young for a baby.

The park was huge and included a botanical garden, some cultural centers, a cablecar, a beautiful swimming pool and many barbecue spots. We walked down through the botanical garden that displayed species from all over the 4200 km long country of Chile and then exited the park. We trodded down the hot Avenida Providencia where a trumpet player let us take a picture of him, pointing knowingly at the “Providencia” street sign.

The meat I bought and prepared that night was really bad. A writer should have an eye for details and this is not a detail.

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Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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