One thing that you learn very quickly when you travel is that thanks to global mobility and immigration, Asians are everywhere. My friends are often surprised when I tell them that Asians are in South America, but in fact there are so many of them that there are Chinatowns / Japantowns / Koreatowns in many of the larger cities. People think it’s weird that I love visiting the Asian communities in every country I visit, but to me it’s a must-do because these people have so much in common with you in background yet grew up so differently. I love seeing how we are similar yet very different, and it is one of my guilty pleasures to imagine myself growing up in South America. Here is a list of the Asian communities that I’ve found (with a special interest in Taiwanese communities) and where to find them (Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Ciudad del Este).
My rating: 8 out of 10. Mad bonus points for an amazing Chilean crowd.
As I neared the end of my stay in Florianópolis, I needed a plan for the 10-day gap between the end of my lease and the opening of the World Cup in Sao Paulo. When I saw that Chile has waived the reciprocal visa fee and that Q-Dance was to be in Santiago during that time, I booked a flight and bought my ticket immediately.
Q-Dance is the biggest promoting group from the Netherlands of the harder styles of dance music. It is a high energy, head-banging, heavy-stomping type of music, not for the soft of heart. My first hardstyle event was the Q-Dance stage in TomorrowWorld Atlanta in 2013, though the attendance at the stage was quite poor, as hardstyle is not popular in the US (though it is starting to be promoted). As far as I knew, hardstyle is big in the Netherlands, Australia, and… Chile. I sensed that hardstyle was big at Chile from the presence of the Q-Dance stage at Mysteryland Chile every year, and the fact that this was the second Sound of Q-Dance (The standalone Q-dance one night event) to be hosted in Santiago. I could not wait to see the scene there for myself.
Upon learning that the US has worked out a deal with Chile to waive the $160 visa fee from May 1st, 2014 onwards, I took it as a sign to visit Santiago in late May. When I flew in from Brazil to Santiago, it gave me infinite satisfaction to see the sign of the Entry Reciprocity Fee payment, with a contour of the star-spangled banner covered over and colored in black next to Mexico. Booyah!