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Where are we now - The photo's tell the story An update on the where-abouts of Nat & Chris' epic RTW journey.

Turn the -'s into +'s

CHILE | Friday, 24 August 2007 | Views [960]

The last week in Santiago has helped us reassess our view of the city.  We have managed to organise our Emergency Passports, our Brazilian Tourist VISA’s and get copies of our Travel Vaccinations faxed through the Aussie Embassy so that we can show them when we leave on Monday.  But, as with any city in the world, it’s not about the location but more the people you share it with.  Fortunately for us we have managed to meet some world class people staying at the hostel here in Santiago, culminating with a big dinner at “Los Vacas Gorda” or as we know it “The Fat Cow” Restaurant.  What an amazing meal, the best one I’ve enjoyed so far on our trip!!  At our hostel we met 3 Americans – Rob, Eric and Ian, an English couple – Jo and Ben, and, unfortunately for her, a French girl – Melanie who had her Passport stolen in a similar manner 2 days after us.   

Minus the English couple we all ventured out, a little cautious as Junior had been given a tip on this restaurant from a friend and we weren’t entirely sure of where it was.  To Junior’s credit he managed to get us there without any hassle.  Well the service was first class and the food even better.  By the end of the night (around 1am) they gave us a complimentary liquor followed by a gentle nudge out the door.  We’d love to share some photos with you, but as mentioned in our last post we no longer have a connection from the camera to the computer, these will have to wait.  We were so impressed that we promised each other another meal there before we leave for Rio on Monday morning.

Junior is hopeful of catching up with Rob & Eric when he visits New York in late September to buy a new bike.

Along with Ben and Jo we took a cable car up to the statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking the smoggy city of Santiago.  Turning into a nice sunny day we then jumped on some dodgy chair lifts which gave us great views overlooking all of Santiago.  The following day we took the advice of the American guys and others who have ventured before and took the bus to Valpairiso, a small town on the outskirts of Santiago, renowned for its colourful architecture and quaint shopping experiences.  What a city of pastels, a smorgasbord of colours set into the hills at the oceans edge.  We spent the day walking around and soaking in the city.  We also found a leather shop recommended by the American guys but with our difficulty in conveying exactly what we would like, we decided against buying anything.

The following night we returned to the Fat Cow with Rena, Brent and a few other local friends of theirs.  Well when I say local, I mean people who live in Chile at the moment as our table was a veritable mixed salad of nationalities; American, Chilean, Peruvian, Bolivian, Australian, German, Japanese and a Texan (we all know they think they’re their own country)!  Once again dinner was awesome, despite Junior swallowing his whole without chewing we were again able to enjoy a wonderful meal and some nice Chilean Red Wine.  Chilean wine is definitely a good drop at a good price, comparative in flavour to some of the wine regions in the great state of South Australia.

The following day we got up for our usual free breakfast at the hostel before getting ourselves ready for our first South American futbol experience.  Angela (the German girl we met at dinner the night before) met us at the hostel and we were on our way to the stadium to try and buy tickets.  The metro ride there was something to behold, we were told to get on the first car to avoid the supporters and luckily we did as we could hear them singing on the train as it arrived to pick us up and as we stepped on the cars started moving up and down as all the supporters on the car behind were jumping up and down.  They continued this the entire ride (about 6 stops) singing and chanting to everyone they came across.  At first we were both a little concerned about our safety but continued on to the stadium to buy tickets.  This is a harder task than it sounds as the riot police met us at one of the external gates and told us that tickets were only sold at the ground until 12pm.  It was now 1.30 and the game started at 3.30.  So we left via the metro for the nearest mall to buy them from a department store, of course the closest mall did not have this particular department store so we had to get back on the metro again to go to the next mall.  We finally found the place and were able to get tickets, but they would not be in the same area as other people we were supposed to be meeting at the game.  O well we now had to get back on the subway and get moving as it was almost 3.  We got back to the gate we were refused entry at before only to find that the seats we had were almost on the other side of the ground, more walking and we eventually got through the security screening to find some seats in a reasonably quiet section of the crowd. 

As we walked into the stadium (just a few minutes before kick off) the noise literally brought goose bumps to both of us.  We were seated in Universidad Catolica’s section of the crowd who were definitely smaller in number than their counterpart supporters for Universidad de Chile, but this did not dampen their spirits nor their enthusiasm to make noise.  Despite the names this is not a college game, these are merely the names of the teams, like Manchester vs. Liverpool, this is the national competition game and we found out two of the better teams in the league, so we were in for a treat.  Catolica had a group of drummers who kept their supporters active the entire game.  They were going before we got there and continued without interruption for the entire 90 minute game.

Junior picked that number 11 for U de Chile was a gun player up forward (of course) and shortly into the second half he came through with the goods with a rebound goal that put his supporters into frenzy.  The noise which had been constant was now almost deafening, despite being down 1 – 0 the Catolica supporters continued in song trying to rally their team.  Less than 5 minutes later their faith was rewarded with an equalising goal.  More fireworks, flares, singing and the circus continued.  Another 10 minutes went bye before Garry Medal (real Chilean name) sent the Catolica supporters over the top with a great volley goal to give them the lead and eventually the win. 

We tried to leave a few minutes before time to avoid congestion on the subway and to escape with our lives.  Unbeknown to us we were in the section of the crowd that was being locked in the Stadium.  That’s right the iron doors were padlocked shut and the riot police would have none of our pleas to escape.  We were told we would have to wait approximately 20 to 30 minutes after the final siren before we would be let out as the U de Chile supporters were being let out first.  Apparently they separate the supporters to avoid conflict, etc. etc.  Each team also arrives via different metro lines and stations to help ease any tension.  We then walked a small marathon trying to find the metro station to get us home, after about 45 minutes of walking we finally found it and a group of U de Chile supporters outside waiting to be let in??  Yep, they had locked down the subway at both stations closest to the ground so that people wouldn’t cause trouble on their way home from the futbol.  In my opinion they probably caused more trouble than they saved as the juveniles at the station with us were doing everything they could to cause mischief while they waited to be let into the station.  After another 30 minute wait we were finally back on the metro and on our way home to eat.  It was definitely a marathon of a day!  We picked up our favourite dish from the Chinese store around the corner and called it a night as we prepared ourselves for the very early shuttle to the airport the next day…fingers crossed. 

Tags: Philosophy of travel


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