Monday, 2 May, 2011. 17:21
We are relaxing some more in our room after an easy day wandering around central Santiago. We got up late, a bit after 09:00, and went to the breakfast buffet. We had cereal, bread rolls, and M. had a freshly cooked fried egg to order and a pancake with jam.
A bit later, we went for a walk, heading north into central Santiago and the Plaza des Armas. On the way to the plaza, we saw a CD shop where I stopped to see if they had any CDs of the Latin American covers of U2 songs that I’d been hearing everywhere in Peru. The old lady in the shop spoke no English but I managed to get her to pull out half a dozen real U2 albums. But when I tried to indicate that I was looking for their songs by other groups—Latin American groups—she was boggled. She called a guy who came from somewhere a minute later and who spoke a bit of English. I think I got my request across, but when he explained it to the lady, they both looked at me seriously and said no such thing existed, at least not in Chile, as if they were denying any association with scandalous bootleg cover versions. Disappointed, we left to continue onto the Plaza des Armas.
This square was smaller than I expected, smaller than the one in Lima, and more cluttered with objects: trees, benches, statues, etc, that blocked sightlines across the square. There was also a line of marquees set up along one side and a bit around the corner in front of the cathedral. It appeared to be a book publisher exposition or something, as all the stalls were full of new books.
We went in the Metropolitan Cathedral to look around. A sign outside seemed to say restoration work was planned and sadly it looked like it on the inside. It could have been beautiful, but the paintings on the ceiling vaults and walls looked dusty and dull, and some small parts of the ceiling were patchy and broken. We walked around inside, including going down into the crypt, where there was a large space with a crucifix sculpture protected by bars. One of the chapels around the sides of the cathedral contained an altar dripping with silver. Part of the right side of the main aisle was cordoned off and there was scaffolding there, so maybe they’d started working on it already.