Have spent a couple of enjoyable days in Santiago staying at the imaginatively named ´Santiago Backpacker', right in the city centre, and conveniently for us, close to Beth´s (Jack´s big sis) who showed us around. As a fluent spanish speaker, she ensured we didn´t fall foul of the notorious 'gringo tax' which befalls many visitors ignorant of the language, and also showed us some cracking night spots and restaurants, in addition to the pisco sours (a grape brandy of sorts? which we sampled on our rugby tour here 4 years previously). Also in tow were Liz, Lucy, Aisha and Sara - fellow Newcastle Alumni who arrived from New Zealand. During the day we ambled around the tourist spots, a highlight being Cerro Santa Lucia; a hilltop park in the centre which offers panamoric views of the city, although sadly the smog obscured the snow capped peaks of the surrounding Andes. Emporio La Rosa, a local ice cream shop is also well worth a visit. The second night was spent in classic Chilean style (apparently...) - a house party at 'Fernando´s' (who the girls travelled with in Thailand) and onto a nightclub in a converted (in the loose sense of the word) warehouse, complete with donor kebab vendor. It could have been Manchester were it not for the now obligatory pisco sours. A great start to the trip.