Soltera in Santiago: Shoeless in Santiago
Soltera in Santiago returns on I Love Chile, bringing us some issues that can come with packing light.
Though I do not understand the notion of “packing light” I have definitely mastered the art of packing. The key is in the folding. All clothes must be folded to take up the least amount of space in order to maximize the number of items per suitcase. If done right, I can fit at least double the amount of clothing I will need for a trip in one suitcase. Opening one of these cases is the equivalent of pulling the string out of a popper on new years and watching all of the contents burst out onto the floor.
When packing for my trip to Santiago, I knew I would have to reel in my over-packing tendencies. Whether it was more out of fear of being considered a prostitute in my skimpy American clothing or trying to carry all of my bags out of the airport alone, I did manage to only pack the bare essentials. My mom was so proud and I was starting to feel the weight of my own accomplishment (or lack there of) when toting all my bags through the airport. I had everything I needed and nothing frivolous! Or so I thought…
…Until my friend begged me to go to a club with her for her birthday. It was her birthday, of course I would go! Throwing open my dresser to get ready I stared hopelessly into a sea of thermals, flannels, long johns, and under armour. Nothing lower than a crew neck. I swam through shapeless thermal tops, men’s flannels, and turtlenecks. Obviously trying to be fashionable was out of the question. “Sexy”, “cute”, “hermosa”, “bonita”, would not be in anyone’s vocabulary upon my entrance. Coming to terms with this, I opted for the least matronly top with a slightly larger neckline (collar bone within sight!). But then came to the realization of exactly how cold it was outside and regretfully pulled on a men’s flannel as well and my hiking boots.
Another problem with my packing mentality was that I had assumed I would have time to find and purchase the perfect pair of boots within my first couple of days in Santiago. This meant more space in my suitcase for practical items. Unfortunately, I forgot to count on how busy the first couple of days in a new place are and also how picky I am when purchasing expensive items. This meant that the only shoes I had brought with me were furry slippers, running sneakers and hiking boots.
Walking into Club Ibiza it instantly became clear that the rugged, masculine, lumberjack look was not unisex in Chile. Even my naturally blonde hair, blue eyes and angelic smile were no competition for my mountain man, slightly lesbian, exterior. Not a single man tried to talk or dance with me during the live Reggae performance. At first I felt uncomfortable, like the main attraction at the circus when people stare at you questioningly, wondering what you are going to do and why you look so strange. But, one funky tasting margherita and pisco sour later I was dancing the only way a gringa can – badly, without any inhibitions. While I did enjoy myself that night and have no problem dancing alone, it is clear that I will have to work a little harder with the Chilean men. No one was scrambling to revoke my soltera status.
While this Soltera enjoys the soltera life style, I do plan to console myself with a little retail therapy and maybe a new pair of shoes…