Hi All. I just want to start by saying thank you to everyone who is following and leaving commemts. It really means a lot and keeps us laughing and reminding us how lucky we are and how much we are missing you all. We are just peeved we cannot reply directly to them all on this website (tho I will write this recommendation to them).
This insert is for Santiago, the capital city of Chile and the country tipped to become the first First-World country of South America. We were told Santiago was OK but there was not much to do and there was lots of smog. As Kim is a city girl and I found it really clean we actually enjoyed it a lot and probably the first place we thought we could live in. (Dont worry Flo, we won`t be applying for residency though!)
We arrived in Santiago and after our usual "discussions" when finding our bearings we got to the hostel recommended by Del and Linda. What a place. Full of used junk and bits and pieces. But looking beyond that was a magnificent old, almost French-style town house about 100years old. Kim was particularly taken by the multi-coloured picture windows stretching from floor to ceiling. There was a nice courtyard too, but I guesse the main event was Scott, the owner. An eccentric American who was obsessive about recycling, hence the crap.
Anyway, he gave us HIS map of Santiago - which was all we used! He told us the best and cheapest places to eat and where the local markets were so we could buy from there rather than the `commerial and over-priced´shops. So this was the venue for our first cooking expidition by ourselves but we actually enjoyed it, so moatly ate in. We wandered around the city for a bit looking in the dept stores, getting sunblock and for me to eat icecream.
We obviously have started to blend in down here as wandering on my own one morning I was offered a flyer for Uni enrolement! Now, I can understand her mistaking my first languadge (with my fluent grasp of Spanish since Maddy left), but how she thought I was of an age to be ENROLLING in Uni for an UNDERGRAD post I`ll never know. Maybe she fancied me.
The main reason, however, for a stop in Santiago was a trip to Concha y Toro winery so Kim could see her fav wine (most of you would have sampled their sister wine at the wedding). It was really great walking about and was a first taste of how developed Chile was in comparison to Preu and Bolivia.
Several highlights of the tour included two wine tastings. Caggy, one was a blended white that had Chardonnay in it! Oh No! But it was actually OK and refreshing on a scorching 30+ deg. But even only one out of three grapes being Chardonnay was too much. The second was a redm and not a great one to be fair.
When Kim tried to buy her beloved Suvignon Blanc a random sight-seer tried to bully her into the earlier red we tasted as if she knew what she was talking about. She didnt. And Kim coveted her bottle like a child with a safety blanket.
The highlight, though not the most memorable bit, was a trip to the Devils`Cellar. The original wine cellar and where they gave the name `Cassilero Del Diablo` to Kimbos fav tipple (and why they hooked up with Man Utd). They now reserve this cellar for the US$130/bottle top-line wine. We`ll have to wait to taste that one!
So on to the most memorable part of the trip, and yes, it was provided by the bundle of calamity that is Kim Barry!
After leaving the tour (and getting more icecream) we got a local bus to the Metro station. Our `aren`t we such experinced travellers` smugness wore off when we passed the metro om am umfamiliar side and the bus kept on driving!
Frantically pushing the `stop` button (I recognised with my fluent grasp of the Spanish language sinse Maddy left), I jumped off. By the time Kimbo got into gear so had the bus and was picking up speed. Still, she took the leap. Now, her sporting prowess has increased immeasurably over the years, but unfortunately this was one test too far. As her left foot hit the tarmac, she tumbled and skidded on her side. Fair play, she picked herself up and dusted down, eventhough her whole left side was filthy with raod and grazed. I dont know why, but as I rushed to help her she turned to the bus driver, absolutely oblivious and driving away, and said `Sorry`!?!
While helping her to the kerb a local man in his 50`s was shouting abuse - at Kim!!! He was saying we needed to wait to the next stop. Too concerned for Kim, only a `f*** OFF`I could be bothered with at the time (I also never bothered translating it to my fluent Spanish since Maddy left). The bus driver did stop amd come to check on the Wee Yin, and to be fair also gave the local slabber a mouthful.
But with only a free souvenir glass the casualty, we went on our way. I think I was more shaken than Kim!
Another day and after Kim got her fill of Supermarkets (they make her feel at home) we went on the Free Tour of the city. It was really good but we did it on the last day so could not use many of their suggestions. We did see amd ñearm a lot of the city on the 4hr walk tho. We went to a restaurant recommended by them. After building up the seafood chowder kIm had to have one. Unfortunately it was not great. Basically bits of fish in water, some of the shellfish had not even opened! So afterwards we went to another suggested spot.
Now, I havent had a coffee since leaving Sky on the 23rd Dec, and my usual 2cup a day habit had waned. But after the guide said these two places did `the best cffee in Chile`, I needed to have one. It had nothing to do with the gimmick they call `coffee with legs`! Essentially, in order to attract businessmen back in the day these companies hired pretty, young, waitresses amd dressed them in the tiniest dresses you can imagine (even the girls on Sauchiehall St on Sat night would be embarassed in these). Some people were outraged at the time, but Santiago allowed it as they figured the men would return to work with a smile and be more productive. Don`t worry Sheryne, I dont think it would stick at Sky so wont be suggesting it when I get back!
Anyway, talk about a let down! Apart from the one girl who served us, and I dont mean to be rude, but the others had seen better days (or too many days!). It was nearly 10pm when we got there, maybe they kept them to the backshift on purpose. But, fair play, I thought. They are doing a job and giving it a go...Until I walked outside (I asked for mine to go as I actually was uncomfortable with the concept and the zoo-like atmosphere). No-matter what gimmick you use, let me tell you, if that was the best coffee in Chile, dont drink ANY coffee in Chile!
This is reinforced by a progression of the `coffee with legs`. Lets just say the windows are blacked out sometimes the businessmen dont come back to work at all! We never seen one of those, but we did find something even more amusing. Wandering throught the streets on the tour we stumbled across a club specialising in `gentlemans interests`, named `Kim`!!!! Made us chuckle and why I made it the signature photo of this blog!
The next day we departed for the Chilean Lake district and the start of our South-South America tour. You will want to read the next blog...