You may not know this, but Santiago actually means "The City of a Million Opticians, Very Often More than Seven or Eight Abreast". Seriously. Even in Europe, where urban eye-level is dominated by mobile phone outlets, opticians and banks, the capital of Chile makes our towns all look like pathetic losers. I'm not even sure who all the customers are supposed to be; those Chileans who do actually sport eyewear don't seem to have more than one pair, or maybe the answer is simpler: I've ended up in the Optician District; maybe neighbourhoods like Las Condes etc don't have as many. It's pretty impressive, though, having to be seen to be believed.
There's a huge march this afternoon in the centre against the construction of a hydroelectric power station at Aysén, called, inevitably, Hidroaysén. Having got genned up on the former Colonia Dignidad last night I'm going to turn my attention to this issue and try to find out why ecologists are so up in arms about the construction of one power station in such an enormous country. This place has a fascinating post-war history and gets more interesting by the day.