Founder’s Diary Part 2: Santiago de Chile, May 2011

InterNations co-founder, Malte Zeeck, continues his South American journey with a visit to the Santiago de Chile Community. Read on to see what he thought!

The flight over the Andes already prepped me for a great stay. With an amazing view of the highest mountain in the Americas, the Aconcagua, which is 6,962 meters high and capped with snow, I was ready for my next adventure! The Andes are the world’s longest continental mountain range along the western coast of South America. The temperature was around 12 degrees and a lot colder than in Buenos Aires.

The taxi ride to the city center took about 30 minutes, and luckily my hotel was within walking distance from the InterNations Santiago Event location, the California Cantina. The Santiago InterNations Expat Community has more than 1600 members by now, and it is really impressive to see how our Ambassadors Chris Emmott from London, and Paula Vega, a Chilean native, have managed to attract around 150 members to join the monthly events. Given the size of the local InterNations Community and compared to other, far bigger cities in Latin America, this is really a great development. Of course I was curious to find out why the events at this end of the world are so popular!

Paola welcomed me at the bar; unfortunately Chris was away on a business trip to Peru. Together with Paulina and Ximena, Paola welcomed the arriving members and everyone received an “InterNations Dollar” for a free welcome drink and some food. The California Cantina is a casual American Bar and the great age range of the arriving members showed that they are all a fan of this venue. We had the complete third floor for our InterNations Event and I immediately felt a very familiar atmosphere. Members were all very open and were happy to meet up regularly. I was happy to be able to have given an interview to “I love Chile.com” an English-speaking website which is frequently visited by the international community. The event was a huge success with more than 130 members from many different nations turning up and the evening did not seem to find an end as there are still members chatting at 3 a.m.!

The following day I met up with Paola to discuss the strategy for the Santiago Community. We had lunch at a great seafood restaurant called “El Ancla”, where we had some Pisco Sour, the typical Chilean aperitif, and a plenty of time to talk about future activity groups and other types of events. Afterwards, I drove up to the Virgin Mary statue to get a good view of Santiago. The vista is amazing!

At night I got the chance to meet up with friends in the lively Bellavista quarter at one of Chile’s finest steak restaurants, the Eladio, which I can highly recommend. The steak was just as tasty as in Argentina and together with a nice Chilean red wine it was the perfect dinner. After dining we wandered around Bellavista, where some of Santiago’s most exclusive nightclubs and bars are located, until we found one of Santiago’s oldest salsa clubs. Here we got to dance until late into the night and the club was packed with all the passionate bailadores

Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and InterNations.

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