We have reached Santiago, our final destination in South America. In many ways I feel ready to move on to New Zealand. Probably because I crave a measure of familiarity like Breakfast Tea, Cadburys, toilets that you can actually put toilet paper in and other silly things like that.
Furthermore, Chile has been somewhat of a disappointment. It's seems Chileans are not particularly fond of gringos and seem annoyed by our very presence. This has been most evident in Santiago. Our fairly posh hotel reinforced this. On arrival they refused to check us in before 1630 which is beyond comprehension. The staff are unfriendly and seem unwilling to communicate with you if you're don't speak Spanish. I have been tempted to use hand gestures that cross the communication divide.
Chile also feels overpriced. It's not far off when compared to Western European prices and the quality of midrange food outlets is pretty poor. I have missed cheaper Bolivia.
I have no doubt that our brief experience of Chile does not speak for the whole country. Due to time and budget constraints we haven't been able to visit the more beautiful and perhaps more hospitable areas further south.
Thankfully the time spent in Peru and Bolivia totally makes up for the minor disappointment of Chile. This has been an excellent start to our 6 month trip. The sheer scale and diversity of the landscape has been incredible and mind boggling. From arid deserts to thick, humid jungle. We have trekked the Inca Trail, raced down the world's most dangerous road,crossed the upper plains of Bolivia, swum in sizzling springs, traversed lakes, rivers and canyons and all along the way met wonderful people and made good friends. South America is a rich place, worth a visit.