South American Sundays


For years – about 18 of ’em – I always had to work Sundays, so that may be why I just love having those days free now. There is something unsettling about having cranky customers leave a Jesus pamphlet in lieu of a tip while treating you like garbage that can really throw off your day. In South America, most places are closed on Sundays. Here in Santiago, while a lot shuts down – leaving the centro where I live mercifully free of honking, vehicles and foot traffic – there is plenty of fun to be had. Since it is the traditional Lord’s day for some and family day for others, you can peddle around town and not worry about much. Many folks are at home. The tree lined streets, orange and yellow and blue houses and old churches look decidedly radiant under the Santiago sun. Aside from wandering, lollygagging, looking up at trees or strange architecture and snapping photos of excellent graffiti, there is plenty to do.

This past Sunday Marcela and I found ourselves at the Architecture Film Festival aka Arq Film Fest, where we saw a number of charming short films ranging from vividly colorful public buildings in Norway to a library built for the blind or visually impaired featuring stacks of braille books in all their brain-blowing indecipherability.  Although they made no mention, I suspect that place was designed with certain acoustic affects in mind. In fact, none of the films said anything in words, but were all set to music. Most featured humans in the built environment moving through them in a sort of fade-in / fade-out time-lapse effect. The best building was the public library or Biblioteca México José Vasconcelos. Check out the bottom photo of the stacks here. Wouldn’t it be amazing to fly through there like Super Woman? I now want to do a library tour of the world. The film fest was a four day affair at two locations on three screens. Architecture, film and music in one! So now I want to make architecture films about world libraries and write the scores to them all. Can’t have too many hobbies, right?

From there we made our way over to the Perú Gourmet food festival at Parque Bustamante, another four day event filled to max with Peruvian food and drink and plenty of smiling faces from all over this continent. The cover charge at 4,000 CLP ($8 per person) was a bit annoying, considering one is going there with the express intent of spending a bunch of money on a bunch of food, and 2,500 CLP for a Cusqueña is hilarious. The beer is fine, but not amazing enough  for that price when they’re 700 pesos at the super. Many of the city’s best Peruvian restaurants were represented, but with massive lines you kinda want to not be too hungry when you get there. The performers really were the best part: 3-piece trios playing familiar songs of Perú, boy teen dance groups with very bright, matching outfits and some of the best dancing done by children I have ever seen. For real. These kids were professional and on point, smiles beaming across their faces, they hit ever mark. By the time it got cool outside and it was nearing sunset, the crowd began dancing led by a one-man band onstage and I had to go put on socks.

From there we were on our way to see a French film ‘Grand École’ at the LGBT film fest, when I proposed to Marcela that we get some vino tinto and watch a DVD because in Santiago when it get chilly, that is really the best plan. One more cozy day before summer hits. There is still a DVD rental near my place that is open. But now that Netflix just made it’s way here, that may soon end.

Don’t forget, all museums in this city are free on Sundays and closed on Mondays. Also, here’s a good link to find fun, free things going on [music, film, festivals, classes, theater, dance art shows and other exhibits] every day and night of the month.

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