Tag Archives: public space

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Old

Yes, I’m getting a late start on last week’s challenge, but better late than never! This past week’s WordPress Photo Challenge theme was Old, and having just returned from Italy, I had plenty of “old” to choose from, but I wanted to shoot for the less obvious, so how about this: Old Graffiti!

Old graffiti in the Vatican, Italy

Graffiti dates back to the 19th century in Raphael's Rooms in the Vatican

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Santiago de Chile Part I: Memories by Bike

US anthropologist Kathleen Skozcen recently visited Chile for the first time and left with much to remember—and much to think about. She begins sorting through what she saw, heard, learned, experienced, and felt, forming her own memories while reflecting upon the city from the bike lane… Continue reading

BYOTP in Chile

I suspect that anyone who has done any amount of traveling outside their comfort zone is familiar with the acronym “BYOTP.” For those who are not, let me spell it out for you, because if you’re a woman in Chile, this is going to become pretty important: Bring Your Own Toilet Paper.

Confort toilet paperOf course this is an odd—less than delicate, shall we say—topic, but let’s face it, there are things that a traveler just needs to be forewarned about, and the whole idea behind Cachando Chile is to let you in on the things that no one else ever bothers to mention!

And since Eileen kicked it off today with her piece on “The Case of the Hot TP,” I figured it’s time to pass on a bit of advice for newbies that I’ve been planning to haul out at the right time… and it seems there’s no time like the present. Continue reading

Good Graf: Santiago Graffiti-Villavicencio

I love good graf. Graffiti art, street art, urban expression, bright colors, and freedom in design. And,in my opinion, Chilean graffiti is some of the best. As promised, I will be posting some of my “Good Graf” photos from time to time. (Remember Río Mapocho? And the “official” mural in front of Diego Portales?)

Graf fans… lucky day! Continue reading

Día del Patrimonio Cultural: Chilean Cultural Heritage Day

For information about the 2010 version, see: Día del Patrimonio Nacional 2010

Have you ever noticed that it seems like you always hear about cool events AFTER they’ve taken place? Well, here’s a heads up. This Sunday, May 31, 2009,  is Chile’s Cultural Heritage Day and no matter where you are in the country, there will be plenty of cultural activities to whet your appetite.

Fiesta del Día del Patrimonio:

Fiesta del Día del Patrimonio: http://www.diadelpatrimonio.cl. Be sure to check "National Monuments" and "Buildings to Visit"

Ten years ago, Chile declared the last Sunday in May to be the “Día del Patrimonio Cultural,”  a day set aside to celebrate and stimulate pride in Chilean culture. It is particularly geared toward architecture and a highlight of the day is the opportunity to visit a number of public and private buildings that are normally closed to the general public. The event has proven extremely successful and has expanded considerably each year. This year Santiago opens the doors to 110 buildings and has organized a multitude of activities in its museums, libraries, and cultural centers. Cities around the country are doing likewise.

This year’s theme is “The Fiesta del Patrimonio” and celebrates the concept of fiesta in different moments of time and cultural expression throughout Chile’s nearly 500 years of history.

I strongly suggest taking a look at the Día del Patrimonio Cultural (Cultural Heritage Day) web site and check out what’s doing around the country. If you click on “Programación nacional” you can find activities in each of the country’s 15 regions and then download an excel file with activities in your area.

To avoid making you go through a long series of clicking here, clicking there, just go straight to this link:  La Fiesta del Patrimonio: Guía de Recorridos (Cultural Heritage Festival: Guide to Tours)to download a pamflet in pdf format that lists the different buildings that will be open to the public on Sunday.  Choose a couple of options and go out and explore! This is your opportunity to get into those old mansions and the back rooms of government buildings you’ve always wondered about. There will also be plenty of music, food, games, and fun for the whole family.

Check it out and come back to report in on Monday!

I just found this great link: Cultura Mapocho which gives more information in Spanish about some of the tours available.

Other sources of cultural pride for Chile are its 5 Unesco World Heritage Sites.

World Heritage Sites  in Chile:

Easter Island: Rapa Nui National Park: Chile’s 1st World Heritage Site, named in 1995

Churches of Chiloé:  16 characteristic wooden churches were added to the WH list in 2001

Valparaíso (historic quarter): 2003

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Nitrate Mines) (2005)

Sewell Mining Town: (2006) Chile’s first copper mining camp

Elvis Junior, Brighten Up My Day

There’s nothing like a bit of Elvis—Chile’s own Elvis Junior, that isto brighten up a Santiago afternoon. Para español, hacer click aquí

Elvis Junior and his amazing homemade 1-man band

Elvis Junior and his amazing homemade 1-man band

Santiago has its share of characters… those folks on the street that everyone recognizes, people who are an essential part of the cityscape and who add to the human side of making this city unequivocally Santiago. Continue reading

Men at Work / Hombres trabajando

There’s nothing particularly unusual about seeing stuff hanging from trees in Santiago. In fact, a jacket, a backpack, and maybe a thermos are a sign that someone’s at work…

  • For Spanish, use the translation tool on the top right of the page…

Santiago is full of informal jobs: car attendants, band-aid vendors,  knife sharpeners, and paper hander-outers, to name just a few. Future posts will cover a host of unusual ways that people make a living here in Chile, but today’s topic refers to an aspect that is so common that most people don’t even see it: personal belongings hanging from a tree mean that someone has staked out that territory and will be working there that day.

Men at work, Santiago Chile

Men at work, Santiago Chile

This picture was taken in a residential-transition-to-commercial sector of Providencia (a Santiago neighborhood).  The man in yellow is a human parking meter, paid by the municipal government to keep track of how long cars are parked there and make sure they pay their due rate. On the tree we see his jacket and thermos, a yellow bag full of who knows what, and just to the right (and above the thermos) a stack of parking slips impaled on a nail. An empty Pepsi can dangles from another nail and will probably be recycled for cash at the end of the day. He spends the entire day there taking care of traffic on that block.

This is actually a fairly new job. Until recently, most parking was technically free, and cars were “cared for” by voluntary attendants who laid claim to certain blocks and “took care of your car” for tips. Some ask for payment up front, especially in areas with a nightlife and the attendants might want to go home before the owners come back. There are plenty of stories about pushy hustlers in Bellavista who demand payment up front and defiant drivers who defend their right to free parking and return to find their car scratched up. Moral of the story: pay up or park somewhere else…

Fewer informal parking attendants are seen in commercial areas these days because the municipalities have caught on to the fact that there’s considerable money to be made… it’s even enough to make you miss the old days when “park for a tip” was the norm!