Every 10 years, Chile has a census. Filling in your census form is a big thing in Chile, and nothing else happens on census day. No shops open, no cafes, bars or restaurants. No tourist attractions are open - no museums or galleries, no theme parks, no funicular railways to 10-metre high statues of the Virgin Mary on top of hills. Nada. Nichevo.
What are the odds of our first proper day in Chile being census day? 3650 to one, I suppose; 3652, if you count a couple of leap years. So of course, we wake up on our first morning in Santiago and it's census day.
Actually all was not lost. There might not be much to eat or drink, but census day is a good day for watching people sitting on the pavement filling out their census forms. It's a good day for walking in the middle of the road - not common in a city of 6 million people.
It's also a fine time for looking at all the murals, of which there are hundreds, if not thousands (painted to cover up something much worse underneath, one suspects).
Lastly, census dayAnd it forces one to walk to the top of the hill to see the Virgin, which is probably good for one's sins.
And the sights will probably be there tomorrow.