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Published: June 29th 2017
Geo: -33.4691, -70.642
Its been a fantastic honeymoon. We've really enjoyed exploring South America. Today, wasnt exactly an amazing send off. It was probably one of the worst days of the trip as a stand alone day. We woke for our final morning in South America at 8.45am. What better way to wake than watching Arsenal live in a comfy bed? Wrong. A 3-3 draw with West Ham after leading by 2 was predictable yet painful. We then began the joyous task of packing our bags for a midday checkout. Our flight home via Auckland didnt depart Santiago until 12.50am tonight, so we tried to consider changes of clothes in our day luggage.
The frustrating thing about today is between noon and midnight, we were basically homeless. We were able to leave our luggage at reception for later collection, but were still essentially cut loose for the whole afternoon. Knowing we had to return for our bags, we decided to book dinner at the hotel restaurant 040 which was highly recommended by staff and on trip advisor. Apparently, they have very famous chefs prepare a 10 course tapas feed thats 'good value'. Sounds good, fun and convenient. Why not?
How to spend the next
few hours? We decided to catch the Metro Underground 10-15minutes downtown to visit the renowned Human Rights Museum near Quinto Normal station. After some initial concerns with language barriers inside and a slow start on the English audio guide we rented, it turned out to be a worthwhile visit. The museum gave a thorough and hard hitting account of the dictatorship coup of Pichonet that occured in Santiago in 1973. There were many somber stories of the human rights violations, exiles, torture, atrocities and hardships that followed. We remained here for a couple hours before heading back to our Bellavista neighborhood to kill time. The Santiago underground seemed pretty reasonable to us, efficient and well laid out. It was busy, despite being a Saturday afternoon.We had a late lunch/ afternoon snack at Ciudad Viola near our hotel, sharing a strange steak on potatoes type thing. We decided to go back to White Rabbit (where wed visited the first day in Santiago), but they weirdly wouldnt serve us due to registers not being available or something. Between 4 and 6.30 we sorta aimlessly roamed the streets like hobos, killing time before our dinner booking at our hotel, stopping at a few
bars, just killing time.
Eventually we returned to the hotel, changed clothes in a bathroom and waited for our 7.30 reservation. We booked a 9.30 transfer to Santiago airport. Finally dinner time arrived and we took our seats cautiously optimistic about a nice sign off meal. The menu was hard to figure out. All Spanish, but who cares, we could translate some words and otherwise just enjoy a culinary adventure. Well that was one way to put it.. Look, Im no chef or gourmand expert, but Nat and I are pretty open minded and adventurous with food and certainly enjoyed fine dining all around the world. This meal and menu was dreadful. Half of the courses were inedible. I dont remember not being able to eat a 'fine dining course'. It wasnt through a cultural clash either, but just a poor choice of dishes, ingredients and flavours in my opinion. The whole thing smacked off pretentiousness, arrogance and needless over complication. Call me a peasant, but I dont think clams taste good in beer.. (yes, beer) I dont think black Olives and Avocado go with Ice Cream and just plopping a poached egg on a sprinkle of potato isnt art or
perfect flavour, its just a sloppy egg on potato. Thats just 3 courses. Photos of most courses are attched. The faces of other diners didnt exactly portray satisfaction or euphoria either.. We were further shocked when the reported 'good value' was $80AUD per person. Terrible really. Plus 10% standard service which we paid as the wait staff were lovely. The food wasnt their fault. Half way through, we just wanted it to be over. Our biggest satisfaction was getting through an edible desert with a friendly ingredient in chocolate. After the meal, a waiter debriefed us advising how famous the current chef was (name). Further, that said chef and associates only cook for 6 months and spend the other 6 "training" trying to find expansive, creative new recipies. You can only shudder to think how much they were paid to come up with 'poached egg on potato'. Meanwhile, thousands starved in third world countries during that period... We were invited to meet the chef(s) afterwards but I politely declined, as we had an airport transfer to catch. Besides, what possible pleasure or point could there be in that meeting? What could I say?
The transfer to the airport went fine, both
our stomachs protesting the absurdities they had just endured but thankfully to no apparently adverse effects. So now were checked in, Santiago to Auckland to Melbourne. We will depart at 12.50am on Sunday the 10th in Chile and arrive home in Melbourne at 9.30am on Monday the 11th.
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