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Stuck in Santiago de Chile...

Chile | Wednesday, 15 July 2015 | 10 photos

First of all I want to wish to everyone, even the non-French people: Happy Bastille day!!! :-) lol

Santiago de Chile, here we are! And still here, yes still after over one week. Because we're ... stuck. We were supposed to leave for Buenos Aires on Sunday. Why stuck? Because the Paso de los Libertadores (3200m-10499 ft) which is border mountain pass from Chile to Argentina up in the Andes is under snow; it's winter here in the Southern Hemisphere don't forget. The road at the pass is closed until the end of this week, maybe, maybe not. No one knows exactly and we're getting sick of trying to check every day. They're clearing the snow as quick as possible but it all depends on the unpredictable weather - it snowed again today. So we are trying to figure out another road to get to Buenos Aires; going back north to La Serena where we were last week to cross the border to Argentina is not an option since the pass is higher (4700 m) and it is completely closed for the winter. That would also mean adding more kms like approx. 24h. :-(
We are checking the Twitter of El Paso de Los Libertadores almost every hour.
We also have to be in Buenos Aires by Friday for Kurt's appointment at the Brazilian Consulate for his visa to Brazil. Luckily we have time and are quite flexible; on our usual short 10 day trip that would be a big problem.
As a backpacker, taking an airplane is obviously not the first option BUT we got very lucky we just found this morning reasonable flight tickets with KLM from Santiago to Buenos Aires for tomorrow Wednesday. Last minute, yes! So the snow made our stay 3 days longer in the Chilean capital; won't complain! ;-)

Otherwise, Santiago is a nice city with a great farmer's market called La Vega (the best so far, wish we had one like that in NYC). Every day of the week, every day of the year. There's so much fresh produce that there are actually 2 other markets right next door. Crazy! You find everything you need to make the perfect meal and for a very decent price: fresh exotic fruits, vegetables, seafood, fish, cheese, etc. Love it!!! :-) For a capital, you don't feel it is too crowded and big. There is also a European feel to it like the outdoor patios and some of the architecture, and also an American feel with the stores like H&M (the only one in Latin America, done! ;-) lol, Nine West, love it! Lol, Steve Madden, Banana Republic, Forever 21, Top Shop, etc; felt like being in New York. ;-) We've drank so much good Chilean wine and eaten so much cake - tea time is biiiig here!
You can also see the Andes mountains from the city and the famous vineyards like Concho y Toro are close by.

Best part of Santiago was our first Couch Surfing (CS) experience!!! Loved it!!! We are officially Couch Surfers now! :-)
Our host Mauro is a great smiley happy guy, we were so lucky he accepted our first CS request. We had a great time with him and his cute dachshund (wiener dog, or perro salchicha) Mateo. We went out with his friends...felt great to go dancing until sunrise especially on reggaeton music ;-) that confirmed I might have been a Latina in a previous life, hi hi ;-) We also had to speak Spanish a lot with his friends, hard to make fun interesting conversations but great too.
We are excited about meeting locals in the other countries through CS. CS allows you to feel not like a tourist and to meet great people you would never meet as a regular tourist!
Def. Thumbs up! :-)


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Hawaii Nov. 2014

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