Our last day in Santiago was a long one. We were checking out of the apartment at noon but our flight was not until 23.30. To add to the day it was drizzling. We had brekkie and Marcelo the owner arrived bang on noon.
After handing over the keys we headed to the street and hailed a cab. Unlike a hotel there was nowhere at the apartment to store our luggage. We had done some research and found a left luggage facility at a bus station. It was a couple of quid per ruckie for 24 hours.
With the bags stored we headed off to fill the day. Unfortunately we had to carry our small day bags with us as our cash and valuables were in them. First stop was the Human rights and memory museum. It was interesting and basically a look at the military coup in Chile in the 70's. At that time Chile was a democracy and had elected Allende as President. He was a socialist/Marxist. After a few years in power the heads of the military led by Augustus Pinochet staged a military coup. They argued that the country was on the edge of collapse and they needed to step in. Allende committed suicide rather than resign or face exile. Over the next few years the military junta rounded up socialists and supporters and imprisoned, tortured and executed large numbers. Many Chileans revered Pinochet as a saviour who got the country back on track. Unfortunately for him not everyone agreed. After a few years civil unrest started because of the 'missing' people. Eventually Pinochet came to England where he was looked after by the Thatcher government. England refused to extradite him back to Chile. It was good news for Surrey police officers who got shed loads of overtime looking after him at Sunningdale.
The museum is criticised by some as too soft on Pinochet and others as too hard. In the end democracy is the voice of the people and they should decide the fate of their country not a few generals who think they know best.
After that cheery interlude we were tired of the drizzle so we went for an early meal before heading to the airport. There is a shuttle bus which runs from near the bus station straight to the airport. Check in was straightforward. The flight has lots against it. It's 14 hours; you leave on Thursday and arrive on Saturday. Damn the international date line. Oh and it arrives at 4am. On the plus side you can sleep through most of it.
On arrival we are among only a few passengers who are stopping in NZ. The rest are going on to Sydney. As we collect our luggage a drugs dog is sniffing all over us. Then at the immigration desk we get a bored officer who asks lots of pointless questions. 'Do you know anyone who lives in New Zealand?'. 'Yes I know Sir Richard Hadlee lives here'. 'What took you to Chile and Colombia?'. ' A bus and a plane,oh and we wanted to buy drugs'. I know he's bored but please ask me something sensible or let me go. I am exhausted.
Out of the terminal and we are the only passengers on the shuttle bus to the city. We are at the hotel by 5.30am and our room won't be ready until noon. Two very tired people head off to kill 6 hours in a sleeping city. Down to the harbour to watch the sunrise, then McDonalds for brekkie. McDonalds seems to double as a homeless shelter. Several roadies just watching the tele and keeping warm. Eventually we just plonk ourselves in the hotel lobby.
To be fair the manger chased up room service and we got to our room. Very nice it is too. It's a small suite with a lounge and bedroom and a kitchenette. We are also right opposite the 'Skytower' so it's a fab view out of the windows. We heard a scream and looked out to see some lunatic doing a wire dive off the top of the tower. I doubt I'll ever get it.
We came to Auckland a few years ago on our last adventure so it was very familiar. It's a nice city but after South America it feels very sterile and a little dull. It is also eye wateringly expensive. £4.50 for a pint of beer and about £7 for a packet of Nurofen. The lady in the chemist said it was because they don't manufacture anything and import everything. We had planned to stock up with things like insect repellent but it is so expensive it will have to wait. Our other reason for stopping here was to box up all our winter clothes and send them back to England. That was also 'pass out' expensive. Our ruckies and our wallets are almost empty. Ready to fill up with new clothes in Asia. Bring on the sun.
The trip to Jakarta was another jet lag marathon. We were up at 4am to catch a bus to the airport. First stop Sydney. Here we had to wind our clocks back. After a 4 hour stop over we headed to Jakarta. On arrival we wound our clocks back again. Talk about Groundhog day. We lost a day flying to Auckland. Now I'm reliving the same one 3 times to make up for it !!
The guide books recommend you use 'Blue bird' taxis. They are reliable and metered. As we approach the 'Blue bird' rank a chap says 'Blue bird taxi' and shows us his ID. We duly start to follow him. Past the rank, across the road and off to the car park. This was the conversation, 'You're not a Blue bird taxi, are you?' 'Yes, yes mister Blue bird'. 'Which is your taxi?' 'Here mister' 'Where's the meter?' 'Meter? I give you good price' 'Bye bye'.
Back to the rank. What I don't understand is that the legitimate licensed taxis don't seem to care. Anyway we got a cab and did the 40 minute drive to our hotel. The driving standard is still crap but at least it was a sensible speed and on the left. The ride cost £8. About the same as the 2 miles from Guildford town centre to our house. Welcome back to the land of cheap transport.
The hotel is nice but we are both exhausted. It's time for a cold beer a shower and bed. I was out like a light. 4.45 am, deep joy and some nutter is on the roof of the local mosque with a loud speaker trying to get everyone to join him. Indonesia is the largest Muslim population in the world. We didn't hear the stampede of feet heading for prayer. Probably because they are all still in the bars and night clubs which line the streets here. No need for drones Mr Obama. Booze,birds and the buck will finish them off.