This post will be my about my first impressions of Santiago, remember some of these impressions will probably change over the next couple months. But I think first impressions of a grand city like Santiago are important enough to warrant a post.
First and foremost, the smog. This city suffers greatly from the inversion effect, much like Los Angles. Right now the smog is especially bad because there are some forest fires in the central valley (near Valparaiso). Its almost too dangerous to do much physical activity and you can't even see the Andes which are no more than 15 kilometers away from downtown. Think about that mountain lovers: Sam, Kyle, Rachel, and Claire if you are reading this.
|The view from Cerro Santa Lucia|
Second, the graffiti and dogs. Graffiti is everywhere throughout the city, the universities, windows, banks, and even churches. It almost seems like they just let children run around with spray paint. There is a movement to "beautify" the marks, but it hasn't taken off in most parts yet. Also, stray dogs are commonplace, almost like how we see squirrels. They don't bother though and there is a movement to sedate them going on, but of course there is some opposition.
I should say that these problems are mostly downtown, Bellas Artes, and Rebública. In addition, the smog from the fires will clear up in the coming weeks. Where I live it is clean, nice, and full of fresh, clean air.
Even though the city might not be the prettiest, the people are amazing. Which brings me to my third and most important part of the city, the people. They are extremely nice and friendly. You can have a conversation with almost anyone about anything, and it will go on for hours, despite my broken Spanish. My family, teachers, and new friends are all wonderful people that I look forward to seeing everyday.
Please don't judge this city by its cover, that's my first impression.
|We are all gathered at a restaurant near Plaza de Armas. Era muy rico.|