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Good Morning Santiago

A quick change of plans, and were in Santiago this morning.

With Paul’s flight delays I was at the Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport for just over 5 hours.  I quickly learned to head up to the departures area, as the international arrivals section had a swarm of taxi drivers nagging you.  So up I went to withdraw some cash from the ATM to chill.  They put the Brazil v. Netherlands match up on the big-screen and a mass of bodies was standing in a trance watching, so I joined in.

After the match I was surprised at how much the Chileans were cheering for the Dutch victors. I didn’t know they had it out for Brazil so bad. A $3 lunch at Dunkin Doughnuts did the trick for settling my stomach.  It taught me: a) how nobody here really speaks much english, and b) how clueless I am with Spanish.

So Paul landed at 15:35. We originally were going to catch a bus from the airport going to the Atacama desert, but we really couldn’t bring ourselves to do the 24 hr bus right after our flight.  So we caught a bus to downtown Santiago to the Andes Hostel where we stayed the night.  They only had 6-bed dorms available, but it turned out alright.  Full lockers in the room for our valuables, spotless, and central.

We met Dave, and English lad from Birmingham.  He was travelling solo on a GAP adventures tour.  All his mates bailed on him weeks before the trip so he toughed it out solo.  With 3 Peruvians in the room with him he was relieved to see us arrive.  So off we set for a bite to eat and a quick walk around Santiago.  3 guys representing the commonwealth, the array of accents (Canadian, Australian, British) was wonderful.

We had a tough time finding food, as only bars were open at 21:00 when we were out.  But we found an Italian place were we had some pasta and beer.  We realized we were screwed whenever the door opened.  It was freezing outside.  Chile was literally chilly!  We bolted back to the hostel only to discover our room was heated up like a Sauna. Talk about extremes!

Now I’m sitting in the lobby of the hostel with 15 other people watching the Argentina v. Germany game on the big screen, while I type this on wifi.  We’re catching the bus to San Pedro de Atacama at 15:00.  It takes 23h 45min to get there, so alot of sleep will be caught.  We hope to spend 1.5 days there before heading up to a border town before entering Peru.  We’ve invited Dave along, as he has 5 days to kill in Santiago before his tour starts, but who knows if he’ll want to drive 1 day just to see the desert.  We’re only going there to break up our trip to Peru.  We don’t feel like driving for 31 hrs straight.



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