Sunday, December 11, 2011

Parque Bustamante

One of the things I really like about my neighborhood is its close proximity to Parque Bustamante.  In fact, when I started looking for a new residence within the last month or so, one of my main caveats was that I remained close to the park.  Parque Bustamante (PB) is a large strip which in total runs about half a mile on each side, and half a city block or so across.  Here's a shot of it from Google Maps:
PB is the area in the middle, encircled by the blue lines.  The purple star is my old apartment, and the red star is where I currently live.

To describe the place for you all, I'm going to start up north, and work my way south with my pictures.  Starting with the north side of PB, this is the view looking north to Bellavista (club/bar area):
To the left of this picture is a semi-major intersection, where a lot of busses pass through.  Behind the statue is Cerro San Cristobal, which I posted pictures from back in September.

And turning around in the same place, we see the northern tip of PB:
I usually don't spend a ton of time on the northern side.  I jog by this little patio on my runs, weaving through bicycles and taxi drivers lounging around in the park a few yards from their cars.  There is a pretty interesting statue in the middle of this patio though, as shown here:
I like to think that in this statue, the rider is desperately trying to keep pigeons from landing on him.  He's not very good at it, unfortunately.

A half block south, and we come up to the little public library.  I often go here to read, or to just hang out and grab a coffee with someone.  It's a really nice place to sit and spend a couple hours.

The same building, from the side.

And behind the building, there is a little reflecting pool.  It looks nice, but often you will see dogs swimming in it, or homeless people washing out their socks.  A couple times I've seen little remote controlled sailboats and ships flying around in there. 
Continuing further south, we come to the exercise portion of the park.  This is where I end most of my workouts, in my attempts to retain whatever anaerobic muscle I've got left. 
 Sadly most of the useless machines were occupied when I walked through, and thus I didn't want to snap a photo of the chubby ladies operating them.  I'll try and include another one of them at a later date (the machines, not the ladies).
 This is the one useful machine they have, which I use to do pullups, dips, and pushups.  The handles close to the ground allow you to do deeper pushups than on a flat surface.

The view of the park from the pullup bar.  Often filled with ice cream vendors and little kids throwing soccer balls at each other.

Continuing south, we come to the first of two crossroads that divide the park into 3 parts.  Across the road, the middle island is occupied by a very popular skate park.  Without fail, if you walk around the park for more than 5 minutes, you will see kids either riding towards or away from the park.  This picture I took was at about 10 AM on a Saturday, and is easily the fewest number of kids I've seen in the park.  It's normally packed, to the point where it's a miracle that so few people crash into each other.


Also, it's here that we are treated to the majestic crest of the City of Providencia.

If you look at this picture and nothing comes to mind, congratulations. 

Now we've reached the second intersection, to the far southern tip of the park.  Standing across the street, we can see an open, amphitheater type area which is often set up for little outdoor expos, or festivals.  Often though, the area is left open and I finish workouts with a couple sprints.
If you follow these cars for about 2 blocks, you'll run into my apartment buildling. Immediately next to this picture, however, is the metro station Parque Bustamante:

Here, during rush hours, there are often many little street food vendors, jewelry salesmen, and people begging for change.  It's an interesting window into how some of the people around here survive.

Parque Bustamante is a really nice place to live by.  When I first moved here,  I lived in the heart of Santiago Centro, and it was a little overwhelming.  There aren't really any decent open spaces nearby, and the whole place felt like an intimidating concrete jungle.  The park gives me a place to work out, to hang out, and observe Chileans in their natural environment. 

For those of you who appreciate the photo-heavy entries... you're welcome.

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