Cosplay, art and demonstrations
Almost immediately upon my return from Santiago, I ran into another demonstration, of course. This one was demanding more women's rights, including the right to abortion. Girls were handing out flyers that included instructions on how to self abort using pills.
Now, with a bit more time on my hands, I was able to explore the Santiago art scene. The downtown area is littered with art galleries, though some of the exhibitions are way too pretentious for their own good. And, the city, as of recently, also has a street-art walking tour that's worth a visit.
Chile has a rather unique relationship with east Asia. It's the only country in Latin America that has a fascination for cosplay and k-pop. At Santiago's most prominent art center, girls continuously practice their moves to popular k-pop songs, for which there are regular competitions.
Santiago also has several businesses providing maid-cafe services. The operate at festivals and events, where girls dressed up as stereotypical maids with a cosplay twist (extravagant hair, colored contact lenses, etc.) serve coffee and, this is Chile, kuchen, the German-style pies typical of Chile, making the whole mix even weirder, while violent video game trailers play in the background.
I'm convinced a permanent maid-cafe, in the land of the coffee with legs, would undoubtedly be a killer. I talked to one of the maids, at a cosplay event, about their commercial opportunities, which they think are limited, but the many branches of cafe Caribe and cafe Haiti, homes of the Chilean institution of the coffee with legs, seem to belie that.
In Chile, cosplay events happen on almost a weekly basis, with a bigger event perhaps once a month . Kids dress up, trade paraphernalia and perform k-pop songs… Live, singing in, of course, Korean.
The whole experience is very reminiscent of east Asia, but also a little awkward. The term cargo cult comes to mind.