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W Santiago entranceI arrived safely after a 21-hour trip and stop in Lima, Peru.  Only 4 hours of sleep in the past 24. I am enjoying the people watching in the lobby of the ultra chic W Hotel in the downtown financial area of beautiful Santiago. It is the first W in South America. The hotel is on the 4th and 5th floors of an office building, filled with business men in black suits, white shirts and ties. Conservative dress but very good-looking. By the way, the women are beautiful too.

Santiago is GREEN, CLEAN and GLISTENING, with new, modern, shiny skyscrapers. Very prosperous looking. Building everywhere and little tree-lined neighborhoods with pastel-colored homes and outdoor cafes and charming restaurants filled with antiques. Bella Vista is my favorite neighborhood, filled with students, yuppies, art galleries, tree-lined small streets, flamenco clubs, and unique street sculptures.

I am really amazed by the cleanliness and prosperity of the city and how modern many of the buildings are. They’ve had an economic boom for the past 20 years. USA used to be their largest trade partner and now it’s China. Everything WORKS, from cell phones to internet cafes. About every three blocks there is another park, all well maintained and green and filled with lovers on the grass. The guide said to me “Ah Señora, it is spring you know.” The city has 6 million inhabitants and is squeezed between the snow-covered Andes and the sea, with a river that flows right through the middle of town. A freeway was built for three miles under the river and town so you can easily get around. Very progressive. The largest, most fortified building I have seen is the American Embassy.

What a land of contrasts. The fish market had the largest king crabs I have ever seen and people were playing guitars and singing as others dined at 4pm, which is the end of lunchtime. I was told not to bother going out for dinner until at least 9pm.

You get glimpses of snow-capped mountains and even a huge glacier between the skyscrapers.

Gotta run. Thanks for your good wishes.