Our bus ride in was a lot longer than expected but was made fun from mine and tommy's constant banter and s*** talk toward one another. Parting ways with my big pommy companion sucked a little as he'd previously arranged to stay with a local guy in providencia in Santiago. I wasn't too worried because I was expecting to meet Mark (uk) and the boys from Ballarat Chris (Bezza) and Michael (Bear) shortly after I arrived. We split cabs to our hostel la casa roja. A famous Aussie run hostel in the middle of Santiago's hustle and bustle that featured an amazing backyard complete with pool, swim up bar and even cricket nets!
I wasn't the most lively character during my time in Santiago as I had developed a pretty nasty chest infection that was severely inhibiting my social skills. Dosed up had and early night and made sure I was refueling with good wholesome food to try and kick the arse out of this virus. Felt considerably better the next day and mark and myself went for a nice run around the city. After coughing up a lung we came back to the pool freshened up and headed out for a bite of sushi for lunch and then meeting back at the hostel for a walking tour of the city. Our guide was fantastic spoke great English and was a really nice guy. Took us to some of Santiago's most iconic hot spots. One of the first being cafe piernas "with legs". These bizarre espresso bars were certainly not your usual stop off for a caffeine fix. Walking into what more resembled a day club blasting out loud music with flashing lights is where you would order your coffee of choice and be served by a beautiful scarcely clad Chilean female host. The place was reemed with sleazy business men who were there for a little more than a cappuccino. These establishments operate 9-5 and is 100% legimate. There is no sex involved just below average coffee and gorgeous girls that stopped getting dressed one eighth of the way in. Said to have been introduced during times of political unrest in chile where the military would be walking the streets on sun down to make sure nobody was left roaming the streets. This was the only taste of party life Chileans got some 100-150 years ago, a lot has since changed.
I really enjoyed walking through all of Santiago's fresh produce markets, very welcoming locals that were very proud to show off their great displays. Fish, meat, fruit and veg even the dining halls were really cool and the friendly workers loved seeing some gringos admiring their produce.
Had to try an authentic local street snack from one of the vendors. A fried piece of pumpkin bread much like a scallop, covered with a gallop of pickle salsa and garlic mayonnaise - delicious ! And the cheapest meal in Santiago ; 100pesos - approx 20cents!!
Last stop was a very famous old pub, said to be Santiago's first. We forced into trying the local drink. An earthquake was a mix of cheap s***ty white Wine liqueur a scoop of lemon ice cream and topped with grenadine. Awful!
Named an earth quake because after two they say the ground will start moving from underneath you!
Caught the subway back to the hostel chilled for a little and had a few beees and games of table tennis with an American guy Chris. Hoping to meet back up with Chris in Peru he lives there as a contracted soccer player, sick guy.
Bezza and bear were on dinner duty whipping up an honest spag bowl and we headed out to Bella vista for anothe beer then to the Wednesday night hot spot that was a party in a huge indoor stadium / arena. Was a sick night but i was still pretty ill. Next day me and mark walked around the city again popped into a museum and also summited Santiago's highest peak. Not really, was a hill in the middle of town called st Lucia that is gives the cities best view. Mark and myself had dinner honoura tonight and did not disappoint the lads with our Mexican fiesta. Then out we went around the city on a company run pub crawl, wasn't too bad offering an hour of free beer at the start then a weak shot at each bar. Met a cool bloke from Melbourne whose brain I picked for ages about his inca trail trek- really pumped my tires up.The final stop was a club that I didn't even attend because I was still feeling pretty rotten.
Felt as though I was improving marginally each day but was craving getting back to 100% health. A weekend on the coast sounded like it could do no harm so we headed directly west for Valparaìso.