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Santiago

CHILE | Friday, 21 December 2012 | Views [2326] | Comments [1]

Aconcagua from the bus

Aconcagua from the bus

Anconagua, South America's highest mountain, towered over the vineyards of Mendoza as our bus lumbered towards the mountains.  Yeah, we thought we had sworn off bus trips, too, but this one is relatively short, only eight hours, including two hours to negotiate customs and immigration at 3000 meters (9300 feet for the metrically challenged).  The problem with driving through the Andes is that you can't actually see the peaks.  But on the downhill trip the newly painted yellow lines on the hairpin turns ahead twisted like so much linguine thrown on a table.

twisting

   The twists and turns of traveling to Chile

When Lonely Planet promised that we would be pleasantly surprised by Santiago, it forgot about the sprawling suburbs.  The Andes floated ghostly in the afternoon haze above shacks and hovels cobbled together from scraps of wood and sheet metal, framed by equally shabby high-rise tenements.  It's easy to see why earthquakes in this city of 6 million people are so devastating.  

Our room at Plaza Paris Amistar is actually a small apartment.  The bedroom is smallish but the kitchen is wonderful.  The wi-fi is good, and the sat TV carries both CNN and BBC.  We even have a laundry in the basement.  Being on the 12th floor is a bit worrisome, holiday earthquakes, being as common as they are.  The location in El Centro is great, too.  It's an area of tree-shaded pedestrian malls, shops, banks and eateries - even a well-stocked supermarket.

 

 

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