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Published: July 28th 2006
Thankfully it had at last stopped raining although this wasn´t going to help our sight seeing as we were heading off to Santiago. Breakfast in the hostal and packing our bags for what felt like the hundreth time already we set off to the bus station. A quick hour and a half later we were dropped off at the bus terminal in Santiago. On the approach to the city we had been gifted a great view of the city hemmemed in by the Andes in the background which were covered in snow. As we got into the city though they became obscured by a brown cloud of smog which ruins any photo opportunity. We managed to find our way to the metro stop and had a relatively easy ride into the city centre. The ride was a bit dodgy at one point when a bloke on the metro tried, and failed, to pick pocket me. If he had succeeded he would have got more than just my money though as I would have rugby tackled him and seeing as I had both rucksacks on I think I would have done him some damage! Anyway, enought said about that
Eating out in Bellavista
Sitting at Pablo Neruda´s table.
seeing as he failed. We turned up at a hotel in our guide book which turned out to be out of our usual budget but seeing as we were only staying the night we booked ourselves in. We were soon out and about and looking for lunch. It turns out that Santiago is the fast food capital of the world and we had no problem finding a cheap lunch to keep us going. The afternoon was spent walking through a park by the river and climbing Santa Luciá, a big hill in the middle of the city centre. This gave us great views of the city and the smog impared Andes.
Needing a shower we headed back to the hotel to get ready for an evening out. We set off over the river to an area called Bellavista. Alex had read in the guide book that there was a cafe that did good food where Pablo Nerúda frequented as he had a house nearby (this was the guy whose house we saw in Valparíso). After finding the cafe we tried to select a clean table and settled at one that turned out to be the favourite table of Mr Nerúda, there was a little plaque and everything. We had a great meal of a huge breaded steak, onions and chips, washed down with a pitcher of beer between the two of us - we were both full! We left the cafe in search of a salsa bar to dance the night away but it turned out to be shut. We ended up in a bar called Crazy Bar where I bought another litre of beer and Alex got stuck into a couple of very potent cocktails. We were also treated to some live music by a guy playing a guitar and singing along to a backing track which was quite entertaining (the title of the blog is in tribute to him as his interpretation of the Radiohead lyrics for Creep were as stated rather than "What the Hell am I doing here?"). Seeing as the area wasn´t very lively, understandable on a Thursday, we headed off back to our hotel.
Today is a wrapping up day. We´re still in Santiago and we have our flight to New Zealand this evening, We´re going to have another wander around the city centre and maybe visit either a museum or another of Pablo Nerúda´s houses.
South America Summary:
Of the three countries I think that we enjoyed Peru the most. The obvious points of walking the Inca train and getting engaged at Machu Picchu stand out. However, we found the people to be very friendly and the food was really good as well. The Salar de Uyuni was a really good adventure that we enjoyed and we met some really nice people despite our rubbish guide. Chile has been a nice week or so but being more expensive we couldn´t explore as much as we would have liked and we were running out of time. The food also leaves a lot to be desired and it basically has a more western feel about it compared to Peru and Bolivia.
All in all we´ve had a great month but we´re also looking forward to getting to New Zealand and feeling a bit more settled. The lack of language barrier will also be a great help as although we´ve enjoyed improving our Spanish it has been frustrating at times.
Adios from South America.
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