This week I have spent 5 days in Santiago de Chile.
A bad coordination with my partners IBM and the customer forced me to change my tickets 3 times. The problem is that with each time we approached the Christmas vacation and therefore flight availability decreased considerably. So in the end I had to fly via Toronto, and stay a day longer than it would have normally been necessary. But you can’t always (ever?) control the circumstances around business trips.
As soon as I arrived on Sunday, my distributor and friend Germán took me to have lunch at Donde Augusto, inside the Central Market, where I had Locos and Chirimoya juice (Custard Apple). We talked for a while, and he took me to my hotel, where I worked for a while and went to sleep early. I would have loved to swim but the hotel’s pool was quite small.
At 22:40 there was an earthquake magnitude 5 in the Richter scale, which basically ranks between the explosion at Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the Little Boy atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. But it was not my first earthquake (I have experienced quite a few, in California, Japan, Chile…). It felt like the rocking a small cruise ship makes you feel, something I quite enjoy. An awesome feeling to go to sleep to. Besides, there is no reason to worry: Chile has the most strict anti-seismic building regulation in the world.
The next day we spent it completely with IBM, preparing the presentation to be done on Wednesday. At least we were on the 10th floor with great views of the Andes. For lunch we went to Juan y Medio, where I had pastel de choclo. Since by the time we were done all the museums were closed, I took a walk through the park.
On Tuesday we spent the whole day with IBM again, but there was not much more left for us to do. They took us to a Peruvian restaurant called Olan, where I had quinoa and potato mousse with octopus. After that I had the evening free, so I decided to visit some of the Santiago Museums (about which I have written a specific post). In the evening I had dinner with Germán and a business partner at PF Chang’s, a Chinese restaurant in Santiago’s most luxurious shopping mall, all decorated following a pop culture rendition of a Christmas theme. Which is particularly funny in Chile, given that the only snow you see in Christmas is on the very top of the Andes mountain range.
Wednesday was the big day. I had to do a live demo of our software in front of 20 people, including Chief Medical Doctors and Chiefs of Radiology from several hospitals in a very nice auditorium in one of the largest hospitals in Santiago. We met at IBM where we had lunch in their cafeteria (they call it Casino), and five of us left for the meeting as a team.
The hospital was in front of IBM, on the other side of the river. It was just a 10 minute walk. But at over 100ºF (38ºC) wearing a suit (good thing I decided years ago that I do not want to wear a tie), it was “the walk of death”. It was so hot, everybody was irritable. We even saw a fight between two pedestrians on a bridge, where one of them was trying to push the other one down into the river. By the time I approached to intervene, some other guys had broken up the fight. At least the presentation went very well.
The following day Germán and I went to meet with an important customer, and then he took me to a typical Chilean restaurant called Doña Tina, where I had humitas and mote con huesillo for desert.
After that we navigated a huge traffic jam to make it to the airport on time for my flight to Toronto. I took off at 100ºF (38ºC) and landed at -10ºF (-23ºC). Besides the difficulty of packing for such a trip only carrying a carry-on, I’m sure that can’t be good for the body.