We left Auckland at about 4pm on the 13th of January, and took a very very bumpy flight to Santiago, Chile,on an airbus a340, although everything was rattling around and Mish and I were both terrified, Lan airlines was pure quality. I managed to blag a bad back and got us four seats in the middle all to ourselves so we had loads of room! Lan had wicked entertainment and games. Lan also had real cutlery and glass for our drinks which was classy 37,000 feet up. Although when the bad turbulence kicked in we were eating our meals and I ended up with half my beef rice over my cheeks and not in my mouth! The 11.5 hour flight felt like 2 hours.
We got to Santiago airport and got through customs no problem as we got our bags and headed out we were swarmed by taxi drivers and it was like dejavu of the uneasy feeling we had at Bangkok! We managed to get the taxi driver down 10,000 pesos so be warned all the cab drivers will try and charge you double to be honest we could of got him down a bit more but our Spanish numbers were lacking then.
He took us to Santa Lucia which is an amazing location to be in Santiago. Our hostel was right smack bang in the middle and only about 70 yards from the metro station. Our hostel was awesome, loads of space and a lounge area to our self with free WIFI and free breakfast, its called Santa Lucia Green House and you can find it on hostel bookers. The Green House cost us 14.000 peso about £16 bit pricey but believe it or not that was the cheapest one we could find. We got to our hostel at 1 pm so we went back in time which was very weird, leaving Auckland at 16.00 and getting to Santiago at 12.00 pm on the same day!! Still cant get my head round that one. After checking in we went for a stroll around Santa Lucia and straight away got a massive massive culture shock! People running up to us chatting away had no idea what they were saying!
So after taking a look around we headed back to the hostel learnt a bit Spanish and decided what we wanted to do in S. America. After a lush night sleep I was up at 5am wandering around Santa Lucia with a beautiful coffee it took about 10 minutes to order, at that point I knew this trip was going to be really challenging and English is not spoken at all here but I knew that anyway, but we will be fine as we have learnt loads already and it makes you learn quick as you need it! Its all good!
That day we had an early start as we were still on NZ time and took a massive walking tour of the city, a bit of history for you Santiago was founded by Pedro Devaldivia in 1541 for its moderate climate and strategic location for defence it remained a small town until the nitrate boom in 1880's, in 1985 an earthquake shook down some of downtowns classic architecture, it was 31 degrees perfect temp for us, a high light of the walking tour was climbing the curving stair cases of Terraza Neptuno which leads up to a high point overlooking the city with some cool gardens and fountains on the way up. The view was cool but I couldn't believe the smog layer, and could only just about make out the Andean peaks overlooking the city, would be amazing in winter. Will have to come back to do some snowboarding I think, mountains are huge.
After walking miles and seeing some great architecture that the city has, we headed to Bella vista and must have passed about 100 shoe shiners on the way, I would have had mine done but I was wearing flip flops! Another weird thing was the coffee bars they had women dressed in not a lot, surrounded by older men, coffee strip joints!! We got to Bella vista and took the funicular up to San Cristobals summit which has an even better view of Santiago, cool place to go they sell or sorts up here and is a lot to see, again wasn't great visibility but was still cool.
Then after a couple of hours chilling out there, we bumped into a street littered with bars and restaurants, we had a nice bite to eat at the street side. The best thing about Bella vista was the entertainment, we got played to by a flute band, and then a crazy man came along with his son spinning around and around playing the drums on their backs almost to the point of falling over! And the best thing was a man on a 10 ft uni-cycle doing keep ups with a foot ball, juggling 3 bowling pins and staying up there!! After dinner we sampled some Chilean beer and Pisco sours (local drink) and got talking to some locals who were really friendly and had a great laugh, it was awesome it was a Thursday night the atmosphere was great. You could tell these people are very social, sipping beer till the early hours outside talking and laughing. We finished the night with a nice stroll home. Quality day
The following day we didn't do a lot, bit of Spanish, bit of planning and just chilled and walked some more.
Cool place heading to the coast tomorrow, to a place called Valparaiso!