Wow. Where to even start recapping my first impressions of Santiago? For the sake of my over-tired mind and the fact that I just ran out of wine and need to go re-up, we’ll stick to bullet points.

  • The airport smelled like Lemon Pledge. The cab smelled like Lemon Pledge. Even the hostel smelled like Lemon Pledge. In fact, the only place that didn’t smell so chemically lemon fresh was the restaurant I had lunch in today. Um…
  • Speaking of lunch, I’m pretty sure I ingested something endangered:

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  • I say, “pretty sure,” because even after I ate it, I still can’t tell what the hell it was. I’m guessing it was Chilean Sea Bass. All I know is the waiter pointed to some words on a menu after I so elegantly asked, “Que comida sabrosa Chilean-o?” Probably not a coincidence, this suspected Sea Bass was also the most expensive thing on the menu, clocking in at just over $5. Lest I forget, it also included soup and the following:

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  • And, no, I still don’t understand why I was served chunks of lemons with my rolls. If I could’ve asked what the lemons were for, I would’ve. Alas, I’m pretty much mute. But aside from all that, the pièce de résistance (I can’t stop speaking goddamn French down here…), was the “postre,” which consisted of two shots of alcohol.

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  • On the right is amaretto and on the left was something else that tasted even sweeter (I mean that literally, unfortunately). If you can imagine what it’d be like to dissolve a couple sticks of Big Red gum into a jigger full of corn syrup, well, you’d have this. And yet I still drank it. Mostly because I have no standards. But also because I didn’t want my $5 to go to waste. Thank you Mercado Central (and, for the record, that’s not a quaint name for a fancy restaurant, but literally, just the central market) for the delicious, yet confusing, meal.
  • I’ll tell you, though, it wasn’t easy to work up that big of an appetite. I first had to get lost in the labyrinthine mess of streets that makes up downtown Santiago, where I learned apparently, the global recession has not affected the vision industry:

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  • That nonstop string of “optica” shops continued for over two blocks. I’m thinking maybe they’re all fronts though, because as I walked by I couldn’t spot a customer in any of them. Weird.
  • Finally, I found my way to Cerro San Cristóbal, which is probably Santiago’s biggest tourist attraction. It’s basically a big-ass hill with a big-ass Virgin Mary on top that you can either drive up, hike up, bike up (which I vow to do in the next few weeks) or ride this train-like, pulley contraption called a “funicular” up for the cost of about $2. (And I mean up the hill, not up the Virgin Mary…) I chose the funicular not only for it’s sheer value, but because it’s fun-icular to say. (Har!)

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  • Now, after such a jam-packed (or, as they must say in Spanish, jam-packtido) afternoon, I’m debating what to do with my night. As I was making my way back to my Lemon Pledged hostel, I ran across a club that looked rather inviting in the Bellavista neighborhood:

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  • Now, I’m not sure whether the club is called “Terror Night,” or if this is just some random graffiti that happened to be on the club’s façade, but I’m tempted to assume the former as when I panned the camera over to see if Terror Night was explained, I learned “kinky killa rats” are involved:

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  • And although it probably seems like it’s right up my proverbial alley (who doesn’t love a kinky killa rat?), I’m just not sure I’m feeling up for any sexed-up murderous rodents tonight. Which means I might just chill out and enjoy a Nut Kiss or two.

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God Bless Santiago’s heart. I can’t wait to try and get into the Nut Kiss empire and start exporting this delicous treat to the United States of America, which, as far as I know, reserves its kisses solely for Hershey’s. For shame! I say let’s expand them to Hershey’s nuts! Who’s with me? (Investors, feel free to write me here. Thanks and you’re welcome.)

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