After just a few days in Santiago, Kyle and I joked that it looked like we wouldn’t be able to go a single day in Santiago without seeing:

1. A couple making out

2. International soccer superstar Lionel Messi’s face.

Messi Poster in Santiago

Lookin good, little guy

Three weeks later, we’ve seen both every single day.

To be fair, Mr. Messi is a handsome young man, and also the literal poster boy for Argentina’s current tourism marketing campaign, which means you can see his smiling face on buses and bus stops all over the city. So it may not reflect a cultural fixation, so much as happening to move to Santiago during Argentina’s campaign.

Making out in public, however, is most definitely a big part of the culture of being a young couple in Santiago. There is absolutely no shame in a full-on make out on the train, on the sidewalk, in the park, in blocking half the stairway leading to the metro, in restaurants. The most common culprits are teenagers, though 20-somethings are common participants as well. I hate to squash a blossoming love with negative energy, but I also don’t like being squashed between blossoming loves on a crowded train.

Couple Making Out in Santiago

Is it creepy that I took this picture?

There are always cultural quirks that you don’t expect when you move to a new country, but I definitely wouldn’t have expected so much Messi and so much making out.