Flashmobs are surprisingly popular in Chile, given the fact that in general, Chileans tend to be quiet bunch. In recent times, we’ve seen giant crowd-smashing pillow fights, singalongs, dancealongs, and even readalongs at the public library. The premise behind flashmobs is that there’s a secret set of instructions known only to the participants, including a meeting place. A signal is given, the act (singing, dancing, pillow-fighting) is done, and a few minutes later, another signal given, and everyone walks away as though nothing had happened.
This year, in celebration of the strong summer sun, and due to the fact that in Santiago there aren’t really that many places to take in the rays (though if you ask me, I get plenty just walking around), the February 12th Santiago flashmob will involve throwing down a towel, tossing off your overgarments, and taking in some sun for about 5-10 minutes.
The flashmob will take place in Paseo Las Palmas, near the Los Leones Metro (see map, and information in Spanish on the flashmob website here), a traditional shopping arcade in uptown Providencia, a leafy, middle-to-upper middle class part of Santiago, near the sculpture garden at Pedro de Valdivia. Arrive before 2 PM, act like nothing interesting is going on, and when you hear the whistle, throw down your towel or beach chair, slip off your duds (with a swimsuit underneath, please!), take in the sun and await the second whistle. When you hear it, grab your clothes, towel/and or chair and make off like nothing ever happened.
What’s the point? It’s fun. It breaks up people’s monotonous days, gives them something to think about. In Santiago flash mobs tend to be well attended by teh 16 to 30 year old set, but people of all ages are welcome, and it’s hard to say which is more fun, the nervousness and search for co-conspirators beforehand, the event itself, or the pick-up-and-go after it’s all over. Go to the Chile Flashmob site for more details on this and upcoming flashmob activity in Santiago (in Spanish)