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Ben and Ange - On the Road

Santiago - The Big Smoke

CHILE | Friday, 11 April 2008 | Views [569]

Fountain with Chile´s flag. Um not much else to say

Fountain with Chile´s flag. Um not much else to say

So we made it to our second South American capital - Santiago! Which incidentally is also a fairly common name given to boys here in South America and its shortened to "Santi" which is pretty neat.

Anyhoo.

We were forewarned that Santiago can be quite smoggy! Indeed it was! But do you know what?... Its still a pretty cool city. Its set in a bowl of mountains (The Andes of course) which are visible - snow caps and all - from most points in the city.

The general scenery/street style so to speak changes quite dramatically from block to block or suburb (Barrio). From grand old buildings - sometimes restored, sometimes delapidated - to super modern districts with cool glass tube tunnels from building to building AT THE 20th STOREY!! to cool funky (bohemian is word thoroughly overused for this city) little pockets where if you don´t sport a uber trendy hair cut or colour - you´re just too pasé. And so on!

A Tops city to just roam around on foot checking it all out. And stopping for a beer/street vendor food/busker/art markets... whatever was appropriate at the time! We did embark on a metro (tube) journey once our footsies were aching. Lucky for us (was truely a cool experience) we jagged peak hour! Held up several lines in our confusion of tickets - a a new system kicks in at certain hours - and then pointed and laughed at people in the trains who were so packed in there that they were literally pressed up against the glass of doors and windows! A very funny sight... from OUTSIDE the train. Our turn came soon enough.

Our Hostel deserves a mention. Run by a North American dude.... I suspect he may have been slightly autistic... but eccentric would do too. He´d converted an old house (grand doorways, labrynth of staircases, arched windows etc) into a hostel which he´s equipped with EVERYTHING a traveller could need. BIG screen telly with HUNDREDS of dvds to choose from, foosball table, pool table, book exchange, 6 internet terminals... all free, tourist info, maps etc, breakfast which unusually consited of more than just bread. He even took it upon himself to cook up pancakes a couple of mornings. Anyway - it was a well run hostel! Good to chat to some other travellers and get some clues as to where to head next and all that.

We got to witness first hand some of the petty crime that some of these bigger cities are supposed to be infamous for. Sitting happily in a sidewalk cafe and a dude strolled by... leaned over the table next to us, grabbed the lap top they were using and bolted! Oh such a hullaballooo! Dude who´s laptop had been taken dashed (quite lumbering actually, he was oldish and tubby) after the theif yelling and shouting. Soon came back, got into his fancy red Puegot and went hooning off in the direction of the theif. Leaving his missus standing in the cafe. Well - long story short... someone must have intercepted the theif cos some dude on a bicylce arrives at the cafe to deliver the laptop back to the owners. Well! Glad it wasn´t us. Also nice to know that my moments of paranoia or caution are probly not entirely unjustified.

Having spent 4 or so days in Santiago and NOT being real big museum/gallery kinda people we felt it was time to head on out to the coast. Next stop... Valparaiso.

 

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