We have a day in Satiago de Chile, a very busy but well ordered city surrounded by Andes mountains. The views on a clear winters day must be simply stunning with the snow capped peaks providing a dramatic backdrop to any city scene, but today they were but a thin outline seen through a shimmer of smog. The city is built in a gap between the mountains and forms a bowl from which the exhausts from millions of cars and buses cannot escape. Only after rains or when winds blow the area clean can its situation be fully appreciated. But it is a very pleasant place for a stroll, especially on a fine spring day with temperatures pegged more in line with what we would expect in summer back home. Believe me, after the swelter of the last couple of weeks it is a refreshing change.
As with all our stays in these South American cities we have taken advantage of having a private guide take us around. It saves a lot of time and allows us to see most of the main sights in a logistically efficient fashion. Today was a little different in that our most excellent, friendly and funny guide Felipe took us on a leisurely walking tour of the city centre taking in the presidential palace, fish market, cathedral and much to our surprise and the male members of our family group's delight, a visit to a
Cafe con Piernas - Coffee with Legs. Somewhat intrigued as to what this was all about, we soon discovered that essentially it is a coffee bar where young females of a particular curvaceous creed serve gentlemen (my wife and daughter-in-law were the only female customers) with the beverage of their choice. Apparently this is an ancient tradition whereby the gents spent most of their time watching the girls legs drift to and fro and consequently spend the housekeeping on as much caffeine as they could handle. The ladies in this particular establishment were, how shall I put it, hand picked for ripeness, bursting out of their skimpy attire to a decidedly pleasurable degree. The lad and I agreed that we could have stayed to consume a bucket or two more of coffee; pondering also whether there was a gap in the market for something of this nature in Norwich. For some unfathomable reason the ladies of our small party were less impressed with the whole thing, surely the whole point of travel is to experience local customs and culture? Honestly women!
Anyway back to Earth. Or maybe not, for as we were walking back to our hotel through the park, we were approached by a young lady asking us whether we would be prepared to take part in a TV shoot. Realising we were English (me: white legs, grey hair, stupid hat) she thought us prime material to star in the piece she was presenting on encouraging Chileans to take up the language. She wanted someone over 40 - me, bless her - and someone in their twenties, my lad fitted the bill perfectly. All we had to do was stand a couple of feet apart while she walked from behind us towards the camera speaking her lines. The clip ended with her passing between us and concluding her monologue. Simple enough you would think, but it took half a dozen takes. For variance we posed with hands in pockets, folded gangsta style, draped nonchalantly by our sides, giving an excellent performance. All without make up or proper rehearsals. As I write we have just watched it broadcast on Channel 13. I videoed the clipI and will send it to my agent to ensure an appropriate amount of coinage is deposited in my bank account.
I've decided I like Satiago.