In San Diego in April, the leaves on both sides of the road gradually turned yellow, and the air began to have a little bit of coolness. This long and narrow country in the southern hemisphere is entering autumn. This alone is enough to make me just come from the northern hemisphere. People are surprised that the world never seems to be what they imagined.
Compared with the strong Indian style of neighboring countries, this city is more European. The old city can see buildings left over hundreds of years ago, low houses, wide streets, hurried passers-by, and early autumn. A ray of sunshine makes the whole city look peaceful and quiet.
However, when the city was founded, it was not a gentle wind and drizzle. The original peaceful life of the Indians was broken by the Spanish colonist Valdivia in 1541. He led 150 cavalry to this place and built a fort on the nearby Santa Lucia Hill. , And built a batch of primitive residential areas with mud bricks and vegetation under the mountain. Since then, the colonial rule of Chile has been over 200 years with the Santa Lucia Mountains as the center. There are many cities in the Americas called Santiago. At the beginning, the Spanish conquerors liked to name new territories after saints, and Santiago refers to Saint James, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
Now Santa Lucia Mountain has become a recreational park for the locals. It integrates ancient castles, fountains, and flowers and rocks. It perfectly combines the Spanish aristocratic architectural style with natural landscapes. It is said that when Darwin was visiting South America Also stopped here. The original fortifications that were solemn and solemn are now devoid of tension. Walking up the stone steps, one step at a time, every place is unique and interesting. Along the road, you can always meet couples who are talking and laughing. The boys and girls sit on the grass and kiss without hesitation, making this place more like a lover’s mountain. Only a sculpture of a hero in the Indian war against colonial rule standing at the entrance at the foot of the mountain reminds people of what this land once looked like.
Nearly 90% of the Chilean population is white and Indo-European. It is difficult to meet the indigenous Indians on the streets of the city. They are concentrated in relatively remote places in the central and southern regions. The most European part of this city is the Plaza of Arms in the Old City. Like most South American countries, the Plaza de Armas is the center of all the old towns and still has a square layout. Both tourists and locals will walk through it. There are several metal plates on the ground of the square, recording the time when San Diego was built and the evolution of the city. The square is surrounded by many buildings left over from the colonial period, such as the Cathedral of Santiago, the Governor’s Residence, the Royal Court, and the City Hall. Probably influenced by the European trend in the 19th century, compared to the Plaza of Arms in neighboring countries, the center of the square is equipped with a garden, and a walking path with flowers, herbs, greens and lush trees is opened in the center, which instantly transforms the original solemn atmosphere of the entire square. Dispelled a lot.
Among the many buildings, the Cathedral of Santiago is undoubtedly the most conspicuous. At a glance, it almost covers all of your sight, like a huge and towering wall in front of you. This neoclassical building, built in the second half of the 18th century, formed its current scale at the end of the 19th century. It is one of the largest churches in San Diego. It has almost witnessed the rise and fall of the entire city over the long years. Over the centuries, San Diego has been damaged by natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods several times, and a large number of historic buildings in the city have been severely destroyed. The main church of Santiago still stands tall, and many locals believe that this is the power of God.
Church on the hill of San Cristobal.
In Chile, 67% of the population over 15 years of age believe in Catholicism, and 15% believe in evangelicalism. The huge religious population makes the whole country immersed in a strong religious atmosphere. There are many churches in San Diego, and you can meet a church of different styles in less than ten minutes. At first, it will be very fresh. You can go in and take pictures one by one like clocking in, but you are almost ignored in the back.
Even with visual fatigue, the statue of the Virgin Mary built on the San Cristobal Hill in the northeast corner of the city cannot be ignored by anyone. Standing anywhere in the city center, you can overlook the statue of Our Lady on San Cristobal Mountain. It is very reminiscent of Rio’s Jesus Mountain. Although it is not as magnificent as it is, one is on the west coast of South America and the other is in the east. The shore echoes each other.
It is a bit difficult to climb to the top of a mountain at an altitude of nearly one thousand meters, but fortunately there is a second option. The terrain of San Diego is undulating. A century ago, there were many “small trains” that were pulled by steel cables on the rails, making it easy for locals to travel. Nowadays, with the completion of the uphill road, few people have asked about the ropeway. Only tourists like me want to experience this ancient mode of transportation.
The “little train” continued to freeze and climbed, and finally reached the top of the mountain. The statue of the Virgin is carved from white marble, dressed in a graceful white robe, with open arms as if embracing everything in the world. The steps at the foot of the statue of the Virgin were filled with local people. Not far away, chants sounded, and people consciously held their breath, feeling the solemnity of the Virgin and the religious atmosphere that permeated the entire top of the mountain.
The top of San Cristobal Hill is also the best place to see the city of San Diego. The top of the mountain faces the old city of San Diego, and the densely packed low buildings extend to the foot of the mountain in the distance, submerging the Plaza of Arms, making it difficult to find a trace. The whole city seems to be made up of a pile of chunky building blocks. On the other side of the top of the mountain is the new city, and in the distance is the majestic Andes Mountains. The peaks of the mountains are covered with white snow, and the continuous mountains are like a huge staff. The Costanera Tower, which is more than 300 meters high in front of it, is like the strongest beating note, leaping on the paper.
It was getting dark and I was hungry. At the foot of the mountain, there are food stalls set up by locals. Many people surround an uncle who is making “Chile dumplings” wearing an apron. This is the favorite food of Chileans. The uncle put the wrapped dumplings into the frying pan and fry them. I queued up to buy one. I didn’t expect that the dough was filled with cheese and mashed potatoes. The taste was not salty or weak, and the texture was really unsatisfactory, so I tried to eat it. Later, someone told me that there are also delicious meat fillings to choose from, but the locals prefer the cheap and good-quality vegetarian fillings.
The taste of Chilean food is very similar to that of Europe, mainly Western food with a little local characteristic. For many days of South American dining, my appetite has greatly diminished. On the way back to the hotel, I made a trip to the local “Chinatown”. There are not only Chinese shops, but also many Japanese restaurants and Korean shops. It looks more like a gathering place for East Asian expats.
Churches can be seen everywhere in the city.
Children watching a puppet show in the garden in the middle of the street.
Santiago is adjacent to the pedestrian street of Plaza de Armas.
It is not easy to buy a fresh bottle of Lao Gan Ma in a Chinese supermarket. When I walked into a relatively large Chinese supermarket, I asked the boss if there was any new old godmother. The owner’s surname is Li, and he took a bottle to me. Four months have passed since the date of production. “Is there any fresher one?” I asked critically, “This bottle is already the freshest, you have to know. These goods have to be shipped from China to North America first, and then transferred to South America. It will take two to three months on the road alone.” Mr. Li waved his hand and said. Mr. Li’s Mandarin is not good. He is best at Spanish and Cantonese. Most of the Chinese living here are immigrants from Guangdong. Mr. Li came with his family in the 1990s. The Chinese opened restaurants here in addition to shops.
His child is attending a Chinese cram school, trying to learn Mandarin well. “You know, there are not only Chinese children in the children’s cram school, but many local children are also learning Chinese, and Chileans are also paying attention to the development of China.” Before leaving, he showed me a piece of the flute he recently learned. , Seems to prove to me where his culture comes from.
The descendants of the colonists who occupy the main body are also looking for their cultural identity. In an open street park, I met a group of children sitting on the grass watching the makeshift puppet stage. This kind of long-term entertainment is hard to see even in its birthplace, Europe. To. Although this is not Europe, it seems to prove to outsiders that they still maintain the original culture of their home country, and this kind of attachment may only be felt by people in a foreign land.
Just like Chile’s big dumplings, this Spanish-derived food has been regarded as a national food by Chileans. It seems that the locals are struggling to find a sense of belonging in the mother culture, both spiritually and in terms of taste buds.