Hola from Santiago

A guest post from Parking & Traffic Consultants’ Managing Partner, Cristina Lynn

Hola to all our blog readers! George Burton, Grant McLean and I are in Santiago, Chile to kick start a project for a major shopping centre owner. The project will include design review, signage and wayfinding and external traffic issues.

I thought you might like to know some interesting facts about Chile and its capital:

The country is around 5,000kms long but only 180kms wide at its widest point; out of a total population of around 17 million, around 7 million live in the capital.

  • Chile is home to the The Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world; despite its extreme weather conditions, it is one of the most visited destinations in the whole country.
  • Easter Island, the most isolated spot in the world belongs to Chile (I actually visited this island in the 70s when my family and I made our way from Argentina to Australia – Easter Island was one of the many refuelling stops we made on a journey which took 3 days, now you can do a non-stop flight from Sydney to Santiago in 11 hours!).
  • Escondida is the world’s largest copper producer: its mine is largely owned by BHP Billiton (57.5%) and Rio Tinto (30%).
  • During the Australian Gold Rush in the 1880s Chile exported wheat to help feed Australia’s rapidly growing population.
  • Everybody is very friendly, the number of times one says “hola” to perfect strangers (in the street, in the lifts, etc) runs in the hundreds.
  • They have weird road rules and signs that would be totally incapable of being understood if you did not speak Spanish – the amount of information contained in them resembles the rules surrounding the conjugation of irregular verbs – attached are a few examples!
  • Traffic jams occur during the whole day and it is very acceptable to turn up to a meeting 20 minutes late and just blame it on the traffic – a couple of pics just to show you what was happening outside our hotel on a normal Tuesday afternoon.

We will give you any other interesting information as our project progresses over the next few months.

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