So I arrived in Santiago, Chile a few days ago. Santiago seems like any major developed city with lots of food, shopping, and adequate transportation – to include an underground metro. Also Santiago has many nice museums with free entry like the cultural museum that has an amazing ancient Egypt exhibit. I kinda feel like I’m back in DC.
On my second day I was walking to the metro and stumbled into the aftermath of a student protest. There was tear gas in the air and the water spray trucks were leaving the scene… People were walking through with scarfs pulled over their faces and coughing. I didn’t have a scarf, I just coughed. The metro doors were closed so I had to turn around to go to another metro stop I still had to change at that original metro stop; but, I thought I’d be fine.
So I get to the tear gas metro stop and get off in order to change trains. The gas was so thick and heavy there I just couldn’t handle it. I got back on the train, feeling like my face was going to melt off, went two stops and took a taxi. A nice woman on the train offered me a mint, which was very helpful.
Apparently student protests are very common in Santiago. High School kids are protesting the fact that private school kids get better education opportunities and than public schools offer. I really appreciate their plight for better education, but surely the protesting shouldn’t require tear gas?! I bought a scarf the next day.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any photos from this and everything was operating normally by that afternoon. I had many things I wanted to experience on this world adventure… Tear gas was not one of them. In any instance, I shall add and check it off of my bucket list.
(If you can’t gig in a bar, gig in the street!)
I have 2 goals to accomplish here in Santiago. One is to get my rabies vaccination. It’s about 12% of the cost here than in the US. It was suggested by my travel doctor and I was told I could easily get it in South America. In the US, the vaccine (3 injections over the course of a month) costs about $1000. I thought this was insane because I could vaccinate my cat for $25. Anyway, the 3 shots in Chile are going to cost me about $120.
My other goal is to get my open water scuba diving certification. Again, it’s much cheaper here than at home. All for the same exact international certificate. (Viva Chile!) I start classes tomorrow. I hope to be able to use this skill in conservation efforts in the future, such as volunteering with Sea Shepherd, etc.
For these reasons, I’ll be staying mostly in and around Santiago with a quick trip out to Easter Iand in a few weeks. Here’s hoping I can avoid the gas from now on.