Santiaguinos (locals living in Santiago) sure know how to use their green public spaces! The benches are usually occupied by couples kissing or crying. Some people say that Chileans are less emotional than other Latin Americans, but I think they still have more public displays of affection and emotion than necessary. The worst are the couples that are not sitting on benches, because they would be rolling around on the grass. I’m not exaggerating; I’m going to make a sign that says: “GET A ROOM!” and hang it around my neck the next time I go for a walk.
There are many jugglers (yes, juggling seems to be a ‘thing’ here) practising their skills and showing off, but I always encounter my favourite juggler in the early evenings after giving an English conversation class to one student in Bellas Artes. My favourite juggler is actually a bartender, juggling with empty bottles and cocktail shakers in the park; it’s like watching a scene from Tom Cruise’s movie Cocktail!
I experienced a random magical moment in a park today. I was sitting quietly in Parque Forestal, one of many amazing parks in Santiago, just observing the general on-goings around me, when a guy approached me and started talking to me in Spanish. We went through all the usual Q&A’s: My name is Sune, I’m from South-Africa, yes, how strange that I’m not black… Now, being from South Africa I am extremely suspicious of strangers trying to make conversation, because those strangers usually walk away from such an encounter with your phone and wallet in their back pocket, with you just being thankful that you survived the incident.
The stranger today (a well-dressed, non-dodgy looking, young guy) didn’t seem too threatening, so I humoured him for a while, and then he surprised me by putting on background music on his phone, and reciting a poem to me with my name in it! I didn’t understand everything, but it had the words ‘light’ (luz) and ‘heart’ (corazon) in and it seemed really sincere!
After the poem he either wanted to take me out for an ice cream or wanted me to buy him an ice cream, I wasn’t sure, but I wasn’t buying anyone any ice cream, so after a while he asked to take my picture for his ‘poetry book’ and meandered off again.
Now, I don’t know whether this guy really has a poetry book or what his intentions were today, but he did not try to steal anything from me, and he did not hold a knife against my throat…
How great would it be if Santiago really is this magical place where poets recite poetry in parks to strangers!