Visit to Santiago’s General Cemetery [YQrtw Day 82 Jun 30]

santiago general cemetery

Location: Santiago, Chile

Despite sleeping at 3:00am in the morning, I woke up at 8:00am. I couldn’t fall back to sleep so I headed to the hostel basement for breakfast.

To my horror, the scrambled eggs were not there. I was hoping eggs would be refilled soon and I even hung around after finishing my bowl of cereal. Unfortunately, there was still no eggs no matter how long I waited.

I head back to my room and got ready for the day out. I wanted today to be museum visiting day since I had not been to any museums in Santiago yet. Plus, most museums close on Monday so I had better get my fill of museums on Sunday.

The first museum on my list was the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. I bought a transport card–adorably called “Bip”–and loaded it with some money. A ride on the subway is 600 peso (S$1.50).

When I got to the entrance of the museum inside the subway, I found out that it was closed I then remembered that today was elections day. I went out of the subway to take a look at the museum.

Near the museum, there were several TV cars and a few policepeople standing guard. I wondered if the building next to the museum was where voting happened.

Heavily guarded building
Heavily guarded building

I took a peek at my Tripadvisor app to see where to have lunch. I walked down the street, hoping to find the elusive restaurant but failed. Instead, I captured a few photos:

Santiago building
Santiago building
Santiago, Chile
Santiago, Chile
Museum of Education
Museum of Education

I headed back to the subway station and looked at the map. I saw a subway station called Cementerio. I remembered reading about how the cemetery here in Santiago is worth a visit.

I hopped back onto the subway and switched a line to reach the cemetery.

When I got there, I wanted to see if there were any restaurants around. Since I did not have a good breakfast, my energy was quickly sapped away. I needed food.

While I was waiting for the traffic lights, a young man in a small old car turned into my street, grinned and yelled, “CHINO!”

I didn’t know if that was supposed to be racist or just for fun. I should learn the word for “asshole” so I can use it in situations like these.

There were no restaurants around the entrance of the cemetery. Instead, there were stalls and stalls of florists, all selling blooming flowers.

Santiago General Cemetery

Without lunch, I walked into the cemetery.At first, the building on the left looked like an administration office.

Santiago General Cemetery
Santiago General Cemetery

Looking closer, I realized that the floors had shelves with plaques. This wasn’t an office. It was places to put urns.

There were many of such constructions in the cemetery–rectangular boxes with inscription in the front and presumably urns in the back.

Unlike Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires where only the “elite” were kept. The Santiago General Cemetery seemed to have a mix of rich and middle class.

The rich had elaborate mausoleums or underground tombs while the middle class were kept in rectangular space. It’s a little like real life where the rich could afford bungalows while the middle class stayed in flats.

Landed property for the dead
Landed property for the dead
HDB for the dead
HDB for the dead

The cemetery was huge! I didn’t walk from one end to another since the other end looked really far.

Interestingly, the cemetery had a few large buildings housing many different people. One of these was the “Circle of Reporters” where I assumed the remains of famous reporters were kept.

Circle of Reporters in Santiago General Cemetery
Circle of Reporters in Santiago General Cemetery
What's inside the Circle of Reporters?
What’s inside the Circle of Reporters?

This concept of keeping related people in the same place after life is quite fascinating. I had always assumed that people want to be “kept” near their families after they die.

I discovered one grave that was decorated with a lot of flowers and children’s toy. There were many notes printed on marble, thanking Carmenita for something. At first I thought this was where people came to pray for love.

After poking around my Spanish translation app, I deciphered that women who want children would come and pray for one (or two).

Carmencita's grave in Santiago
Carmencita’s grave in Santiago
Carmencita is able to bless you with babies
Carmencita is able to bless you with babies

Soon, it was time to head back. I took the subway back to the hostel. I walked around and discovered a large supermarket. I bought a large pack of green apples before heading to lunch at a restaurant.

Then I got back to the hostel and had a refreshing siesta.

Walking around Santiago/ Second hand clothes shopping [YQrtw Day 83 Jun 29]

santiago

Location: Santiago, Chile

Despite preferring to sleep till noon, I dragged myself out of bed for breakfast so I could go for the free walking tour for Santiago.

Breakfast at Andes Hostel was slightly better than the one in Buenos Aires. We actually had scrambled eggs. I love protein.

However, there is something foul about Santiago’s water. Drinking coffee is still ok but tea and boiled water tastes polluted.

The Santiago free walking tour starts near Plaza des Armas which is just one subway stop away. I wrapped myself up in the thickest clothes I have and walked to the gathering point.

The air was misty with the morning chill. An advertising board which shows the time and the temperature alternatively told me that it was 7 degrees Celsuis. However, thanks to the bits of sunlight, it didn’t feel as cold.

Santiago church
Santiago church

The tour started on time and involved a lot of walking. The tour guide whose name might have been Maritius brought us to different spots, to point out their historical significance.

Santiago Central Post Office
Santiago Central Post Office
Santiago square with a flag
Santiago square with a flag
Santiago
Santiago

For me, the most exciting part of the tour was seeing the snow-capped mountains not far from Santiago. It was the very first time that I’ve seen snow in real life.

It’s just as beautiful as photographs. However, I have no inclination to actually touch snow so admiring from afar will do.

SNOW!
SNOW!

On our tour, we stopped by a cafe where everyone ordered something to eat. I decided to order a Pisco Sour even though it was only about 11am. After about half a glass, I was rather tipsy.

When the tour ended in Bellavista, the guide suggested 5,000 peso as tip. I think that’s really reasonable since the tour took a very long time.

I joined two Australian girls and an English boy for lunch. We ended up in the touristy Patio Bellavista square since a recommened restaurant wasn’t open for pre-lunch coffee. I had a custard which wasn’t that fantastic.

Second hand clothes shopping

After the coffee, I brought the English boy to the second hands clothes street since he said he needed something warm. This was the first time that I’ve went shopping with a guy and it still feels really weird.

The first shop that we went to, Meicy’s, had clothes piled up on tables. The place smelled a bit of puke which made shopping not very pleasant. I found a long cardigan at the 3 for 1,000 peso bin but the shop owner refused to sell one piece of clothing for any cheaper.

We headed to another shop which had hangers. Here, I found a padded jacket with a price tag of 9,990 peso (~S$25). I tried to bargain it to 5,000 peso and was quoted 6,000 peso (~S$15). Not bad for someone not good at bargaining.

I also managed to buy a woolen hat for 1,500 peso. My sister who had been studying in Beijing where the winters are bitter had suggested that I get a hat.

Dinner and drinks

After the successful shopping trip, I headed back to the hostel. The four of us had decided to meet for dinner at the recommended restaurant at a very Chilean dinner time of 9:30pm.

I didn’t manage to take a siesta as I did a bit of blog work. I did get the chance to shower and change. I was ready with my new warm jacket at 9:00pm to walk to the restaurant.

Usually when I travel alone, I never go out after the sunsets. Luckily, the English boy “S” stayed near my hostel and we speed walked to the restaurant. With my jacket, I felt invincible.

Dinner at El Camareno was good. The restaurant walls were covered with words left by previous customers. I spent quite a long time deciphering the Spanish.

I had ceviche again and we shared a bottle of red wine. After dinner, the girls wanted to go drinking at a particular bar. Since I was at the place, I became the unofficial tour guide, leading everyone to the bar.

Before we got to the bar, we stopped by another bar. Here, I ordered a Piscola (A three-quarter glass of Pisco mixed with a 220ml can of Coke). I rather like the concoction when there’s a lot more Coke.

Being tipsy, I listened more than I talked. Everyone else seems to be downing alcohol like it was plain water. By half a glass, I was rather drunk and imagined how nice it would be to sleep in my warm domitory.

At about 2:30am, the girls decided to head to the main area. By that time, I became sober again and was leading the way. However, I brought everyone to the wrong place.

A taxi driver nearby told us that the bar was closed. (I suspect it wasn’t and he just wanted extra cash.) The girls decided to head to another bar. I tagged along as well since I did not want to walk back alone.

Thankfully, S thought the cover charge was too expensive and wanted to walk back. I was secretly overjoyed because I did not know how much longer I could stand on my feet.

The walk back from the opposite bank to the hostel was pretty fast. When I got into my dorm room, only 1 other girl wasn’t back. I slipped into my blanket and sheets and fell into a deep sleep.

How much alcohol can you drink in a night? Share your best in the comments below!