Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Day 15: Santiago

Day 15:  Santiago

Weather:  Great at 10:30 then increasingly warmer, hitting low 90s in late afternoon

Quotes of the Day: 
  • My library is filled with UN condemnations.
  • Whoever gives bread to a foreign dog, loses bread and loses dog
A drive-by, no workout in FT (6.5min done in room)
THB does his 6.5 minutes of calisthenics and looks down at his thighs during the wall sit. My goodness, they look etched in stone, really buff. Ooops, that is only from top looking down on the front. The back of the thighs (the stuff hanging down) looks pretty damn flabby. Hmmmmm…it looks like all the stuff that disappeared from the top has migrated to THB’s waistline. This is gonna be a long haul to past respectability.
A bit more than THB's breakfast at home

What it takes to call yourself an Art Hotel:

Breakfast upstairs at the hotel is buffet: yogurt and granola with fresh strawberries, a few pastries put through the toaster car wash, café con leche.

We have hired an art guide for ½ day, and Carmen is right on time at 10:30. She’s terrific. It is hit or miss on the art tours, the food tours always seem to be very good. She’s probably 35-ish, a native Chilean that travels a lot (Barcelona, Bali, NY…), a freelancer PR type with one regular client (the Irish brewpub in Santiago), and a keen interest in art. Plus, she reps for artists (at least the ones we will visit)

Carmen's web site: Carmen

And, today is a tough day for art since it is Monday and lots of museums are closed and this is the official end of summer vacation. Actually, this is fine with us as we’re more interested in contemporary art and emerging artists on these tours and those type places Carmen has lined up are open.

Photographs on thick paper, torn and stitched or sutured back together, sort of a play on the Japanese version of adding gold to cracked ceramics gives the piece more prestige

Larger work; the artist also does real "melted" pieces and THB and DB are very interested in finding the real pieces to match up with the photographs. That will take a bit of doing, the gallery doesn't have any of the ceramic works.

She starts us off with the best stop of the day: Patricia Ready Gallery. There are two floors, the top space is for temporary exhibitions (one huge open gallery for larger works and one smaller gallery), and downstairs is a large collection of the artists that the gallery represents.

Lacquer on paper

Large "collages" with paint on newspaper that does not like flat on the canvas; THB likes these two pieces, they do not photo well

We spend a long time downstairs, there are two artists in particular we are interested in. Carmen and the gallery assistant, Piedad, give us plenty of info on the artists while giving us plenty of space to discuss among ourselves.

On foot, we visit another 3-4 galleries in this upscale neighborhood, only one, Animal, with anything that might interest us:

This is a "light" piece: a bucket that glows through the insert. If we had liked the image (this is Santiago), we'd have bought one

It-is-a-new-world note 1: We don’t have a driver for the day, Carmen is using an Uber-like app to have drivers show up only as needed. For slightly less convenience, this is far cheaper. Of course, we don’t know how much we’re paying for the day (except for the tip we give Carmen) since the cost is included in our overall GeoEx package.

Carmen app’s up the next driver and we’re back very close to our hotel. Someone is coming in (and struggles with how to get all the locks synchronized in the unlocked position) and we’re in a run-down building complete with artist studios. Or, maybe THB should give you the sensory feel of the place:

I smoke two joints in the morning
I smoke two joint at night
I smoke two joint in the afternoon
I smoke two joints just before the art tour arrives
It makes me feel alright

Dude, the key goes IN the lock

Now THB is amazed the guy who let us in could get even one of the locks in the unlocked position.

This guy is married with a kid, and between them are making good money and living a middle class life

Each of the 3 artists had musical instruments in the studio and ... and... those things that are flat round grooved thingees with a little hole in the middle and that go round and round and round and sound comes out...

Three different guys are in their studios, at least two of which Carmen “reps” as part of her freelancing. Each one appears to have an old-fashioned record player and other musical instruments, along with a lot of work on the walls as well as stacked up. They are also part of the local graffiti artist cooperative painting the walls in the hood. We spend probably 5-10 minutes with each (given that we are now in such a special environment, we are not much capable of knowing how much time has passed…maybe Carmen set an alarm on her smart phone).

We couldn’t have been that long because the last Uber-like guy waited around to take us lunch at Divertimento Chileno, a spot specializing in Chileno food, back across town. We opt for the outdoor patio (to clear our heads? Or maybe just our clothes?), and spend time discussing the local food scene, art at our next couple of stops on the tour, where we might spend the rest of the afternoon in Santiago, Carmen’s background, and the topic that just won’t go away…DJT.

Lunch is a long affair; here’s what we had…

Clams smothered in parmesan

Sopapillas,  not the N. Mexico version, these are more like open-face empanadas with a nice finger grip at one end

Porotos Granados: a porridge of white bean and corn with a fat sausage plunked down...a THB fave!

Pastel de Choclo, DB would need four meals to finish this one, lots of goodies below the surface

Carmen has the ceviche

Flan the way we know it, very good

Dark chocolate ice cream with chunks of dark chocolate, THB shows real restraint and only eats half (of course, THB has already finished his bowl of porridge)

crepes con ice cream for Carmen

By the time (time? time?) we get back to the hotel is 4pm. REALLY????? Carmen has been great, we’re happy with the way the day went, and tip her around $30 (which appears to be the going rate for half a day).  

Again, we’re not sure what Carmen is charging or what GeoEx is charging us since GeoEx’s cost is done as a bundle and nothing is broken out. The art tours we’ve arranged on our own have been fairly pricy, and the more pricy it is the less interested THB is in adding on a tip.

It-is-a-new-world note 2: When we return to the hotel, AMEX has e-mailed us new itineraries and we are now arriving in the Santiago airport from Temuco over 4 hours early for our flight to LAX. So, our management talked to their management and things got sorted out and we’re can relax about making the LAX flight. Now we can just do our normal bitching and moaning about flights, travel in general, and all the other many difficulties getting in the way of THB having a great time traveling, a great time chasing art, baseball, food, wine, foreign lands, and good reads.

Even though Carmen gave us an extensive list of things to do after we got back, THB and DB think between the heat and our interest level, it is perfectly appropriate to stay in our businessperson room and rest up for dinner with BH and T.
Ruca Bar

BH picks the spot and a little after 8 we meet up at the Ruca Bar for drinks and tapas. Along with driving up to Santiago (over 5.5 hours) to do some local business and have dinner with THB and DB, BH is celebrating his 48th b’day! Lots of conversation about coffee, Chile, Argentina, currency exchange, Rio, and passport/visas (T is from Lesotho and being married to BH doesn’t make things all that much easier).

Happy B'day to you, Happy B'day to youuuuuuuu...the good news: we have the inside with a/c to ourselves. Even better, we don't actually serenade the b'day boy

A round of drinks (THB has a G&T with Fever Creek Ginger Beer, just like at home), a nice bottle of Chardonnay and variety of tapas (mushrooms, pulpo, fish tacos, fried chicken, croquettes, more pulpo, shrimp, and maybe a few other things, some loaded with garlic), $115 (and a good excuse to use up our Chilean pesos).

Cab notes: Carmen and the front desk urged us to use Uber, so DB uses her phone and the hotel wifi and beams the Uber guy to the hotel (4 minutes away, 2 minutes away, he’s here….) and we end up with a 20th something rapster Golden State Warriors fan wearing a Yankee hat. We share a cab ride back to the hotel, dropping the b’day boy and T off first.

Cab ride comes to $6 (THB rounded up by tipping 70 cents)

Uber ride (possibly more direct and in a lot more traffic) comes to $3.12

The taxis are in trouble in this town…and know it. There have been fights in the streets between drivers of each service.

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