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Published: September 12th 2014
OK, let me first let you know that after 2 ½ days in Santiago, when you blow your nose the stuff that comes out is blacker than black; such is the smog level here. Since Santiago is surrounded by the Andes there is hardly any wind to blow the air pollution away so it just sits there until when it rains. That is also the reason why it is difficult to see the mountain peaks in its glory.
So that is my complaint and so far it is the only one I have. But let’s start from the beginning….
I left Sydney on Wednesday morning. I had a call from Qantas on Tuesday informing me that my original flight from Sydney to Santiago via Auckland was cancelled and that they would put me on a direct flight on the same day. Leaving 2 hours later but arriving 4 hours earlier. Winning…..
After a goof friend dropped me of it was smooth flying from there. 11 hours is not too bad considering that one is in South America. And since I have never been to Chile that makes it my 72th notch in the travel belt.
airport I was greeted by a group of people that I have met on Facebook and I can tell you it was a great thing to have them show me to my backpacker hostel. Being new in any city is a challenge and Santiago is no exception. Inhabited by over 7 million people it stretches far and traffic is more than chaotic.
After dropping my backpacks in the “Hostal Rio Amazonas”, a fantastic backpacker right in the center of Santiago (and cheap at US$38 per night), my newly found friends took me on a tour around the city. Sebastian was the only one that spoke some English and it reminded me that not everybody in the world is speaking that language. And so the first challenge was finding something on the lunch menu that day…… Funny stuff and first world problem.
After lunch the most important thing was to require a sim card for the phone which was a bit of a challenge as they do not have the mini sim cards; solution was to by a micro card and cut it down. Again reminded me that in countries like here the people find ways outside the box
to fix problems.
After the tour more people joined our group and we settled in a neighborhood bar to have some beers…. For your beer economists out there, the bottles contained 1.2l and cost about A$3. Good stuff…..
That night I slept like a rock which is no surprise having been up nearly 30 hours.
The next days I was picked up and we did more touring and seeing the sights of Santiago, mostly by foot. Good exercise. Museum after museum, hill after hill, historical sight after sight. Very cool stuff and if one knows the history about Chile it is great to be at these places in person.
On Friday was the anniversary of the overthrow by Pinochet against the socialist Allende regime, so there were a lot of demonstrations by left groups. And during the night there were some violent clashes on the outskirts of the city.
Today I visited the human rights museum where the atrocities by the Pinochet regime where shown and I have to say that was some real ugly stuff. And of course it is well known that the Pinochet regime was supported by the US of A and
the secret police was trained by the CIA. Oh well, our friends from the US are so good to spread the democracy around the world as they see it…….
Anyway, I just thought I give you this update so you know I am well and all is good. I am having a great time and want to thank my friends here in Santiago for looking after me.
Have to go now as I am getting picked up soon for another night in town. So wherever you are have a great time and if you have one of these first world problems – get over it…..
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