The joys of the South American bus system continue. I had my earliest start yet, having to get up at 7 this morning so I could pack up, eat breakfast and walk to the bus station. Erring on the side of caution, I arrive half an hour before we're due to depart. An hour and a half later, I still have not seen a bus. Brillo. I am informed by the bus company that the bus came and went, and there are no more buses to Valparaíso today. How I missed a bus, I'll never know. Epic fail. However I can be proud of myself for remaining calm and making a new plan. So after canceling my Valparaíso hostel, buying a new bus ticket to Santiago and booking accommodation, I still have a two and a half wait on my hands. Sweeto burrito. So I finally hop on a bus, only to find myself getting off said bus an hour and a half later. I was asleep so no idea what happened, but the upshot was our bus had problems and we had to get on a new one. I'm travelling semi cama (the economy bus ticket) and the only plus to this situation is they have given us free lunch and soft drinks to make amends for the inconvenience and delay, which normally we wouldn't have gotten. At least it's a picturesque drive through the Andes.
Well the supposed 8 hour bus ride, took us just under 12 hours. Once we got off the motorway it took us an hour to drive a ridiculously short drive to the bus station. I found this bus station extremely overwhelming and it took me 20 minutes to find a taxi, the last thing I want at almost 12am and 12 hours of bus travel. Finally arrive at the hostel, check in and bedtime comes not soon enough.
On my first day here in Santiago, I took a free 4 hour walking tour. It wasn't as good as I thought it would be, but it showed me the main sites of Santiago, and I met some nice people, so it served a purpose. We finish the 'free tour' and tips are pretty much demanded. I don't actually mind because the tour guide was nice, informative and helpful, but I didn't like feeling obliged to tip him. We end the tour at bottom of Cerro San Cristobel. A couple of us decide to head on up and unfortunately the furnicular was closed, so we had to take the bus. Like a lot of tourist attractions, it turned out to be a little overrated but I am glad all the same that I went up. Santiago is famous (or infamous really) for its smog and I hadn't noticed it until I was at the top of Cerro San Cristobel. I walked back with a fellow Australian (I am meeting so many Aussies here) along the river, which by the way is the ugliest, dirtiest, most feral river I have ever seen. I get back to streets I recognise, only to find the section of street where my hostel is to be blocked off by the police, who are not to be messed with here. I have almost no money and my bank card is back at the hostel, so all I can do is sit, wait and have a smoke.
Well I ended up going to the cathedral, which is just beautiful. And then wandering around the shops. Chilean purchase made - it's my aim to bring home one thing from every country I visit. Anyhow it's a totally sick jacket that did cost a whole days budget...oh well, when will I be in Chile again?
Currently having my first South American hangover. But that's what happens when you stay out to 5am and drinking flaming shots. It was a traffic light party, so luckily I have green clothes to identify myself as 'single and ready to mingle'. I had a tequila and coffee shot that was literally lit on fire, and it was lethal. At the start of the night we played spin the bottle, so retro, and I ended up kissing 6 people, but most of them were gay boys, so it doesn't really count... It was an excellent night. Met lots of lovely Chilean guys who were all absolutely floored that I am travelling alone in South America. Had an extremely trashy club hook up. Smoked a lot of cigarettes (for me) because you can smoke in bars and clubs here. Stayed out til close and walked 'home'. Back at the hostel I make it up the stairs before I collapse on to the couch, and it is at this point I realise just quite how drunk I am. Honestly the only thing that pulled me up off the couch, to my room was not wanting to be found a few hours later passed out in the hall.
After a delightful shower to wash away last nights indiscretions, I felt a lot better. It was at this point I discovered that I have a hickey. Disaster. I met a German girl and American guy in the courtyard and we went to the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo. It was free day, brill! Then it was on to a market across the river for food. I had the most ridiculously filling and cheap meal. If you go to the right places, it's cheaper to eat out than buy food and cook at the hostel. Then we wandered around a little. It was a perfect lazy Sunday.
I'm still trying to work out a plan for tomorrow. Perhaps a little day trip to Valparaíso. But I do have a few 'chores' to do, laundry, get a new book and organise airline tickets to my next destination.
Tomorrow it's farewell to Chile and on to...I don't know yet. Isn't that the life?
Bad habits I have picked up...
1 Meeting people and almost immediately forgetting their name. Or talking to people for days and realising I never asked their name.
2 Smoking. A temporary habit, I promise!