A little bit like Spain

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January 6th 2009
Published: September 30th 2017
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Cool sculptures, along the bridge over the Maipo river, on my way to the sculpture park this morning.
Geo: -33.4691, -70.642

Yet another crappy sleep ... up at 5:50 ... back asleep at 7:10 ... up again at 8:00 ... that's when I said screw it and got out of bed, had a shower, and grabbed breakfast. There was a pretty good selection of fruit - cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon ... and also a bunch of canned fruits, which I skipped.

There was a scary looking bowl of eggs in a bowl that had been left in a chafing dish - all dried, chunky, and caked onto the sides, it wasn't too appetizing. I stuck with the cheese, ham, salami, and toast, and avoided all the cakes and pastries, which all looked to be of the pre-packaged variety. Surprisingly, the coffee wasn't too bad, so I lingered over a cup of it while I read the paper - not too much planned today, so there was no rush to get anywhere.

Off to the sculpture park, located a few blocks behind the hotel, just across the Mapocho river - a nice place for a quick stroll. Even at this early hour, you could tell it was going to be a scorcher today. Over to the teleferico, the gondola that connects the Providencia

Sculpture is the best art form, and there were some neat examples here.
end of the Parque Metropolitana to Cerro San Cristobal, near Bellavista. For safety reasons, you are forced to get off at an intermediate stop, but strangely, you are not required to do so on the way back. I wonder if it's just to force you to walk around and spend more money?

Coming from the Providencia side, the first stop is at Estacion Tupahue, where there is a swimming pool (perhaps worth a return visit later today, during the peak afternoon temperatures), and the Casa de la Cultura Anajuac, a crappy art gallery. There was a bit of a hiking trail you could take from the area, but it was getting too hot for that.

At Estacion Cumbre is a 14 metre statue of the Virgin Mary - neat, but a lot smaller than I expected, from photos I had seen beforehand. I sat in her shadow for a while, enjoying the cool breeze ... ahh ... a much lovelier spot than the inside of those teleferico death traps!

From here, you could descend via a funicular down to Terraza Bellavista and the zoo, but it was too hot today ... instead, I headed back to the hotel to either use the tiny little pool there, or grab my swimsuit and head back to the pool at Estacion Tupahue. Back on the teleferico ... aside from the heat, the views are great - this big, beautiful park is definitely one of the highlights of Santiago. I'd rank it at #3, behind Macarena from the Hotel Plaza Londres, and Andrea from Puerto Fuy 😊

Back at the hotel, I decided just to stay there and work on my terrible farmer's tan. Scott and Lisa were hanging out at the pool, as was Rachel, one of the college girls whose friend, Danie, had gotten sick the first night. Sounds like Danie had improved, and they were both hoping to ride the teleferico later today.

I ended up eating lunch by the pool - normally, I wouldn't eat a meal at a hotel unless it was included, or there was a hottie hotel receptionist (ask John about our crappy breakfast at the Hotel Sol, all those years ago ...) But today, I was too lazy to look for anything else, too hungry to care, and I also didn't have much cash left on me. All that, combined with a cute waitress, and it was an

Kinda reminded me of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, with its undulating curves: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-photo/pwong/6/1214182440/img_0043.jpg/tpod.html
easy choice!

I ordered a chicken sandwich and a cherimoya juice, partially because that's what I wanted, but mostly because I had just enough cash left for that and a tip! They ran out of chicken, and the waitress said I could have pork for the same price. I really didn't care, since I was so hungry. The cherimoya juice was a bit sweet, but nice. The pork was dry, and the sandwich was quite plain, served with only a bit of onion, mayo, and tomato. The fries were suprisingly decent, and not too greasy. Of course, my definition of greasy has now changed, after seeing how greasy my face could become when slathered in aloe vera!

I realized that I have absolutely no idea what Chilean women look like, because like Andrea from Puerto Fuy, I thought the waitress from the hotel was from another country. I asked her if she was Brazilian, but of course, she was from Chile. It also turns out that she made a mistake with the price of the sandwich, and in fact, the pork sandwich was NOT the same price as the chicken sandwich. Luckily for me, I had just enough cash to pay

Creepy, but cool.
for it without stiffing her on the tip.

I roasted in the sun for awhile, with a double layer of sunscreen applied to my forearms and face, and also a hat. I'm just trying to even out the grill marks on my body, not to worsen any of the existing ones! I managed to make a fairly good dent in the book of Neruda's poems, before finally having enough of the heat, and returning to my room for another shower.

Off for a walk - some lovely ladies were out today, and for a while, it felt a little bit like Spain 😊 Normally, I try to avoid malls, but when you find an air-conditioned one, it's a good place to escape the hot Chilean sun. I had a blast at the Paris department store, near the Los Leones metro station, not because they had anything good for sale, but because their A/C was blasting extra cool air - ahhh ... glorious A/C ...

I needed a new pair of shower sandals anyway, and Paris was a good place to get some new ones. I also needed a new journal, and had a few funny moments while searching for one. First

I loved the way this piece gives the illusion of the bird soaring overhead.
of all, I wandered into a stationery store, where the saleslady said "Joven, necesita algo?" She was asking if I needed something, and addressed me as joven, which basically means "youth" or "young person". I looked around at first, thinking she was talking to somebody else - nobody's called me a young person in probably over 10 years!

I explained to her what I was looking for, but all the journals she showed me were not pocket-sized. I asked if she had anything smaller, to which she nodded and, dripping with sarcasm, told me "Yes, but only in this design ..." as she showed me a Hello Kitty diary. I said "No thanks!", while laughing my way out the door!

On my way back to the hotel, I thought about how quickly time seems to have passed on this trip. Time seems to slip away faster when staying in the same spot for several days. Two days in Santiago, four in La Serena, four in Valpo/Vina del Mar, and now three more in Santiago ... maybe that's why I always adopt such a hectic pace while traveling - subconsciously, I think I've always known that doing so makes the trip seem to

I would have liked this sculpture better had there not been a bottle of chemicals and rags placed beneath it ...
last longer, and it's always been my method of prolonging the good times.

Back at the hotel, everybody was assembling for another group dinner, this time at Il Siciliano, an Italian place not far from Como Agua Para Chocolate. Wade wanted to share a bottle of wine but I declined, since I found it way too hot to be drinking. I opted for a so-so melon juice, instead. The meal was pretty average.

These late night meals are getting out of hand - despite having only a single course for dinner tonight, and only a few people ordering dessert, our meal lasted from 20:30 until 23:30. I wouldn't complain about a long, drawn out dinner if it involved multiple courses, excellent food, or if we didn't have to wake up at 5:30 tomorrow to catch a bus. But for this kind of meal? No thanks! But I suppose that I wouldn't have complained had they happened to have Andrea's twin sister working at the restaurant ...

Back to the hotel, to polish a bottle of rose wine I picked up on one of our winery tours in the Maipo valley. Wade, B&H, myself, and Iain and Carol (a nice couple from

I took this as a sign - I need to return to Spain this summer for the running of the bulls!
the United Kingdom, but now living in Australia) made short work of it, out by the hotel pool. But there wasn't much time for chit chatting - we have an early bus to Argentina tomorrow!

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23



But there were also some crappy examples of sculpture ...

This looks like giant asparagus stalks, blowing in the wine.

Back on the teleferico to Estacion Cumbre - those little pods are like ovens! The only ventilation is through small little slots underneath the seats, so it gets pretty toasty inside.

The pool at Estacion Tupahue.

Cool little castle just behind the pool.

The 14-metre tall statue of the Virgin Mary.

View from the top, at the foot of the statue of the Virgin Mary.
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Little chapel just below the Virgin Mary.

Neat little fountain just in front of the chapel.

My old shower sandals - what emotional attachment could I have to these smelly, dirty things? Well, these shower sandals have been my loyal companions on 5 backpacking trips, and have visited 17 countries with me. I know it sounds stupid, but we've been through a lot together! Unfortunately, one set of straps keeps popping out of one, making it impossible to walk with them. The other one is perfectly fine, but what good is one sandal? And deep down, I knew what would happen ... this couple has been together for over 2 years. If I threw out only one, I know that the other would slowly wither away, and eventually die of a broken heart ...

The new journal - thankfully, it doesn't have Hello Kitty anywhere on it!

Dinner at Il Siciliano - my seafood lasagna left a lot to be desired - the mix of seafood was nice, with calamari, clams, mussels, scallops, and shrimps, but everything was overcooked. The pasta sauce was ok, but the dish was forgettable. But still, this was much better than Wade's pasta - it came out drenched in oil, with perhaps a couple of centimetres worth in the bottom of the bowl.

It was a funny sight - Wade kept adding different things to improve the taste; lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, some of the pebre that came out with the bread ... it was like watching a mad scientist at work! But unfortunately for Wade, I don't think any of his attempts improved the taste.

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