In Santiago we live and work in the Lastarria, Bellas Artes, and Bellavista neighborhoods. Locals have commented to me that we are in a not-so-nice part of town, and the remotes have definitely had a tough time in Chile in that regard. The group that came through town last month had 6 people (that I know of at least) who had things stolen from them in one form or another. A week into our stay, between the 60 remotes living here, we’d already had three who had phones, computers, passports, and other valuables stolen. By the end of the month, I think we were around 9-10 people who were impacted by pickpocketing, break-ins, or muggings. With that said, I don’t feel like Santiago is “dangerous.” It’s a large city and we certainly stick out as foreigners. We live in the downtown area, and like many US cities (Phoenix included), that area of town does have more crime than the more posh suburbs.
Minutes to the workspace: 4
Style: studio apartment
Neighborhood: Lastarria – Bellas Artes
Best thing: I loved having my own apartment, but having others on the same floor/in the same building. Also loved being so close to the workspace
Worst thing: the noises – daily cannon explosions at noon, a building fire alarm that never shut off, noisy neighbors, etc.
As for the types of accommodations we have, nearly half of our group lives in what we’ve deemed “the mansion,” an old Victorian house with 15 bedrooms that each have their own en suite bathroom and a shared living room and kitchen area for the house. A third of our group (including me) lives in separate studio sized apartments in one building. These units have a small kitchen and living room, and a bedroom with a sliding door. Laundry is on the roof and is coin operated – it costs $1300 CLP (about $2 USD) per load for the washers and another $1300 CLP per load for the dryers. Five of our Polaris guys live in another apartment building where they each have studio apartments with en suite bathrooms and small kitchenettes. They have a great rooftop and are near all the bars and clubs. The remainder of our group is spread out between single and double apartments nearby.
From what I have seen so far, most of the apartments are pretty nice this month (save for perhaps one apartment). I think a lot of us are enjoying having private bathrooms this month, which was a rarity for most of us last month. My apartment even comes with free weekly cleaning service, though I found it a bit unsettling that we were not made aware of that ahead of time and they entered my apartment without my knowledge one day.
My apartment is a bit smaller than the others in this building. It’s a corner unit that also borders the trash chutes, so I am missing an additional 3 feet or so of bathroom space (and the countertop and shelf storage that goes with it), plus an additional 3 or so feet (and the built in desk that goes with it) in the bedroom/living room. That was less than ideal as I had a guest in town this month and the space was definitely missed. Otherwise, the apartment is nice enough, and I’m enjoying being on the same floor as a couple of other remotes from my group.
My biggest complaint (space aside), is the fact that our apartments all face a courtyard with about 100 other apartments, making every minor noise echo like crazy. We’re all losing our minds between the dog that barks incessantly, the cannon that goes off daily at noon to announce the midday point (whyyyyyyyy?), and the building fire alarm that malfunctioned (loudly) for multiple days – all day, starting at 5:30 am.
Our workspace is called Cowork Latam. We have a dedicated area for remotes, but also share the space with locals, most notably Start-Up Chile. The work space is super modern, and even has a machine that makes lattes (for free!). The workspace does house quite a few more people than the one in Peru did, and I find there’s always a line for the co-ed restrooms. I also miss the Peruvian women who washed our coffee mugs for us! One nice feature of this workspace is the large outdoor terrace, where I took a work call one day when the AC was out and it was too hot to work inside. I made everyone jealous with the sun setting behind me! Overall though, I’m finding that us remotes are using the workspace less and less. It just doesn’t seem to be a comfortable place for most of us – the call rooms are extremely echo-y, there are not enough restrooms (always a wait, no matter your gender), and the workspace itself is extremely noisy. We share the workspace with others, and they always seem to have an event going on (day or night) where there are a lot of people coming/going/talking. Events aside, it’s just a noisy space with so many people sharing such an open floor plan. Given that most of us live alone, I think most of the group ending up working from home quite a bit this month, which made coming into the workspace even less appealing.
Overall, I enjoyed the accommodations quite a bit this month. Having my own space, but living next door to other remotes is my ideal situation. The noisiness of the building was frustrating at times, but didn’t bother me as much as it bothered others in our group. No in-unit laundry was also a bit of a bummer, but paying $2 per load and going to the roof wasn’t too big of a deal.
The workspace wasn’t really my favorite. It was fine, but it could be hard to focus at times with all the noise. Plus, it just isn’t as fun when most of the group is working elsewhere!