Friday, 10 June 2011

Las Condes - a breath of fresh air.

With my time in Santiago running out and still not having anything in my case for the Fingernails I decided to track down a mercado artesanal and found one in the neighbourhood of Los Dominicos in the urban community/town/city of Las Condes, a sort of Chilean Beverly Hills tacked on to downtown's eastern border. The guide books instructed me to take the metro to Escuela Militar, then take the 401 or 407 bus and get the bus driver to tell you when to get off. Having obediently bought my Tarjeta Bip, a sort of latino Oyster Card, I did exactly as instructed and consequently wasted about half an hour. I could have stayed on the metro until Los Dominicos then just walked the two minutes straight ahead through the park to the church and found the market on its right hand side. Still, taking the bus enabled me to see quite a lot of this rich town (average annual household income: US$67,500 - a chunk of change in any country or language, let alone Latin America) and rather nice it looked, too. It also helped that the sun was shining, but, then again, it's all it ever seems to do, here.

Once you hit the end of the line it's like stepping into a different country: one where you can breathe. There was space, too, in abundance:

So off I headed over the park towards the church:

That's a pretty crappy picture, but you get the idea. The market was delightful; I spent a happy three hours, there:

That's where I had lunch. Nothing spectacular, but OK.

It's like a two-acre campus with little streams running through the pathways, little caf├ęs here and there and unexpected little pathways that lead off to little, shady squares. Fantastic, actually; really well done.

I caught this man polishing off his bishop in a studio. I took other pictures, but they're pretty much the same as these. The lens on this little digital camera doesn't have great depth of field, so you can't really make out the mountains in the background, which is 90% of the charm of places like this. Anyhow, I got lots of lovely prezzies for Mrs. F and the Fingernails and then headed back to Lastarria to Skype with the missus and then run off to work, which I shall do now.

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