It's pretty clear that I am a proud resident of Santiago Centro and a morning like this one is exactly why. In under 45 minutes I cashed/deposited checks at two banks (NOT the norm for me), went to the supermarket next door, AND stopped by one of my favorite Santiago Centro cafes: Cafe Caribe. This incredible weather has a lot to do with it, but it's also the convenience of everything.
I have been thinking about Chilenidad since reading the past few posts over at Cachando Chile and talking it over with my students. Yesterday, we made a list of all the things that we think of when we think of Chilenidad and one of my students wrote Cafe con Piernas, which got me thinking about how much I love SOME of them and how much I would miss them outside of Chile.
I'm pretty confident that everyone living in Chile or even researching a trip to Chile knows about the famous Cafe con Piernas. I also think most newly arrived visitors hit one up within days of arriving here because they're written up in every guide book and even featured on the travel channel hit show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.
I certainly visited Cafe Haiti my first week here and didn't plan on going back after my token tourist experience. I thought, "OK, weird and uncomfortable outfits, kinda skeezy men hitting on the servers, and I have to stand up--no thanks."
Now, I see Cafe con Piernas (the ones where you can SEE through the glass, not the strip club ones) in a whole different light. It's a place where you can get an espresso and soda water for about $1.25 in under a minute. Seriously, those women work FAST and they are equally nice to women as they are to men because everyone seems to tip prety well there. What I also love is that I can indulge in a cigarette as I drink my coffee (probably one of my favorite combinations in the world, as much as I try not to smoke) and feel blissfully at home among the groups of co-workers having a quick cigarette and coffee break together.
Don't get me wrong. There are things I don't like. I still hear some men saying gross things to the servers and watching as they laugh it off since this guy's a regular and he tips well. That part makes me skin crawl, but I'm also surprised at how ingenious the business idea is if you take out the skimpy outfits. I've always joked about starting a Cafe con Piernas for women, but I'd be happy with what they have now minus the dresses and heels because if you take that aspect out of it, it's a cheaper and faster alternative to Starbucks and it's just around the corner from me.
So, thanks to my student (who I hope was talking about the same cafe I'm talking about), I'm adding Cafe Caribe to my Chilenidad list. I love the place and will go more than usual this month.
Anyone else like them as much as I do? Anyone think it's horrible for a woman to go to a place like that? I'm interested to read what others think.