My time in South America was coming to an end. I spent my last week in Chile in Santiago. I stayed in the Casa Roja, a renovated mansion that now serves as a cheap but elegant backpacker hostel. Casa Roja is situated in Santiago's Brazil neighborhood (only 40 years ago home to the capital's richest families). Now the barrio is a relaxed but lively home to families and young bohemians. I spent an afternoon in Brazil's park listening to an outdoor concert during which I heard a performance by the local guitarist Dr. Pez (click to hear). I visited Santiago's Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, and  was particularly impressed by a photography exhibit entitled Via PanAm (click to view). Photographer Kadir Van Lohuizen documented American migrants over the course of a year as he traveled the length of the Pan-American Highway from Chile's Tierra Del Fuego to Arctic Alaska. His journey, mission and images struck a cord. His stories revealed the deep, painful, beautiful and profound South America that is the reality of most Latin Americans, but which is only peripherally glimpsed by the passing tourist.

I was impressed by the intricate and political street art within Barrio Brazil.

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