Notes on Santiago 2016

This visit was for a three day workshop. I won’t say much on it, except that I really do much prefer these smaller meetings. Not only are they much easier for remembering names but, for me at least, they are also more productive and enjoyable. Whilst also on the topic, I also suspect that being mid-career(ish) is also a nice thing to be at these sorts of meets. I feel like I can help support the work (and careers) of those less senior, meet my betters : -), and get some interesting science done too. I think some of these are harder to achieve at big meetings.

And here’s some exciting snaps to prove that I went somewhere else. With mountains:

But enough hugs and apple-pie! What of the dark side?

Well, there was a massive (for Nov) heat wave of +30C, which is apparently very rare, even in high summer (Jan), never mind early spring.  And, even better, one 6.4 Richter scale earthquake! Which though is apparently more common. And which also might have been exciting, if I’d, erm,  noticed it. Possibly not so good for an environmental scientist to not notice. Next time.

In theory I had at least 6 hrs to do tourist stuff whilst in Santiago, but I’m afraid I was a bit knackered from the journey to make the most of it. It was also it was a public holiday on that day – Tuesday – which you’d think would be helpful, but in practice it meant that most of the nearby walkable art and history museums were closed. So instead I went for a bit of a walk around – up a local hill – for a couple of hours, then had a nice dinner out. So lacking any interesting pix, instead here are a few phone snaps from the outside of the metro that I took to the University based workshop. There are quite a lot tile mosaics around the city – I rather liked them. This one particularly good one – O’Higgins station – I think. Two details:

Random travel notes.

I came via a relatively cheap London-Atlanta-Santiago route. For two legs I could have some time across two seats, just about possible to curl up and sleep like that. But the busy legs are were bolt upright – an hour or doze at most. If travel budgets allow, a single overnight flight would have been better. I could get work done on the first flight for 5 hours – and for a a similar number of hours on the way back (here at Atlanta). But otherwise, too cramped and too knackered to be productive or pleasant.

The city (Santiago) seems to function well, but the level of poor and hungry feels high. I also find it odd that so many hungry stray dogs are left in the parks, when many appear to have health problems. I did not ask any of the Chileans why they are not put down. But it does feel rather inhumane. Still, I guess the number of homeless and hungry has gone considerably in the UK in the past 8 or so years. So I don’t feel in any strong position to question the distribution of resources (or dog policies) in Santiago.

Whilst guide books that I glanced through suggested that the city also does not have a strong reputation for architecture, but in the areas I saw, there were a lot of rather lovely buildings and designs. And having the gorgeous mountains in the background is fantastic. A shame that I couldn’t make it to those mountains this time.. next time maybe?

Other good stuff – everyone seems to do a proper – but simple (?) lunch out. I took myself out separately twice for dinner too. Once to eat eel, and once for an (unavoidably) massive South American steak. It was good – but 300gr was the smallest available (300 grams!).

Try to get a proper (BIP?) travel card for the metro. I got annoying individual tickets – which are differently priced for peak and off-peak times. A card would have been better. For this it would also probably help to speak more than two words of Spanish. Surprisingly few Chileans speak English. And definitely drink Chilean wine – oooh – its good :-).

And now back on another ‘airyplane.. bye bye..


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