It was a shock to return to Santiago earlier this year post Hurricane Sandy; the city has been denuded. The cathedral has lost its twin crosses and much of the roof is under renovation. Parque Céspedes looks extremely forlorn without its trees and its much sought after shade. Up the road, Plaza Marte has been shorn of nearly all of its trees and palms. Whole vistas of the mountains have opened up everywhere you walk in the city where previously plump, leafy trees had obscured the views. Inspectors were travelling house to house asking if people still needed repair materials, and new licks of tarmac had unfurled along whole roads in the historic centre. The human cost and the roofing disasters are still all in evidence. The absence of greenery is shocking and will take years to rejuvenate.