Chile’s environment and people are also parts of the ACE ambassador experience. Even though pandemic- and weather-related delays of 2-1/2 years prevented us from visiting Chilean schools, we nonetheless were able to see natural areas and enjoy cultural experiences.
(In Part 1 – ACE Ambassador Adventure – Optical Observatories – Cerro Pachon, I covered the ACEAP 2020 cohort’s travels in Santiago, La Serena, Vicuña and Cerro Pachon (Gemini South, SOAR and Vera Rubin Observatory). In Part 2 – ACE Ambassador Adventure – Optical Observatories – Cerro Tololo, I covered the ACEAP 2020 cohort’s travels to Cerro Tololo. In Part 3 – The Journey to ALMA – I covered the ACEAP 2020 cohort’s travels to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in the high Andes of northern Chile.)
Santiago has a population of 7 million, making it the largest city in Chile by far. As a cosmopolis, it is sprinkled with skyscrapers. From the ACEAP’s hotel in the commune (city region) of Vitacura, it’s walking distance to many restaurants, the headquarters of the National Science Foundation-Associated Universities Inc.-National Radio Astronomy Observatory Chile, European Southern Observatory and Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array.
On the flip side, we also passed trash-filled barrios as we shuttled back and forth to the airport. Like many countries, Chile struggles with wealth inequality and environmental concerns.