I am staying at Hotel Fundador, it is a nice place, the staff are friendly, the only draw back is there is no soundproofing so it’s like you have the window open. My bed is comfortable, there’s a good shower, and nice sheets.
I got up at 7:30am, had another go with opening safe but no luck. Breakfast at the hotel is included in the price of the stay – I had serious tea withdrawal by this time! There was the usual stuff: cereal, fruit, toast, hot dish, plus some very sweet looking pastries.
Then I went to reception to get a hop-on/hop-off bus pass for the city – the tour stops at 12 main tourist points – and to ask if my safe could be opened.
First off one hotel man came up and spent about 15 min trying to open it, then went and got another man who must have had the override code as he opened it straight away. However, he must have met people like me before, as we then had a lesson in opening and shutting about 5 times before he decided I understood what to do next time.
By this time it was 9am and I thought I will just have a quick nap before getting out on the tourist circuit – and didn’t wake up till 1:30pm. Given that there is a football final between Chile and Brazil tonight and there are constant hordes of people walking past the hotel with horns and singing and cheering. I must have been tired.
The man at the front desk said he did not recommend starting the city tour today with thousands of football fans in the city, so I thought I would just have a look around the vicinity of the hotel, get an adapter for Chile, water, and masking tape. When I came through Immigration my bike box was inspected and then shut with two flimsy pieces of tape. I managed to find a store with masking tape within a kilometre of the hotel, and despite making a few wrong turns, I found my way back – however I had written down the name of the hotel just in case.
There were quite a lot of street performers and street sellers. They are quite intense, I got a Chilean paper flag head band to stop being asked constantly if I wanted one.
As I have slept most of the past 36 hours I thought I would go to a Chilean show and dinner, so I went to reception to book one. I wanted to go to through Turistik Tour Cena Show Santiago, but I was not allowed to as they don’t take single bookings!! However there is one with another company that I can go to the helpful hotel receptionist found for me she tells me it is really good.
Talking about reception reminds me when I got to Wellington Airport the check-in lady was asking about visas and how long I was staying in each country and doing all sorts of adding up. I was confident that Rachel from House of Travel had everything sorted and I didn’t need a visa, but the longer the check-in lady took and more questions she asked, I was starting to get a bit concerned! But it turned out the confusion was because I had no ticket flying out of Colombia, or into Argentina and even though I had explained I was bike riding she did not grasp that I was riding all the way there! She thought I was just doing some biking in Colombia and Argentina. Once we sorted that out (and I removed the giant bottles of shampoo and conditioner and rearranged a few things!) all was well.
Until I got to the hotel in Santiago and the reception man asked for my Police Visa! “What?!” I said, “I don’t have one!”. It all got a bit exciting at this point and I was going through my ticket folder in the hope that one may emerge when he smiles and points to the piece of paper the lady from Customs gave me on the way in, that she explained as “You need this to get out of Chile”, so phew!
I am very pleased that I broke up my flight over here by staying in Santiago for a few days. If I had gone straight through to Cartagena then I would have landed here at 11:15 in the morning, and then left again at 1am the following morning – I don’t think I would have managed it well! Instead, I will leave Santiago on Monday morning, after two nights here. The flight is still at 1am, but at least I will be rested, before being picked up from the hotel at 10pm on Sunday night. Hopefully there won’t be any issues with getting my bags looked after during the day at the hotel.
A blast from the past: Yesterday when the driver picked me up at the airport, we were talking about the smog and he said it is so bad that there is now a restriction on cars on the road, yesterday cars that the registration plate ended in 7 or 8 were not allowed on the road. Those of you who were old enough will remember the carless days of the late 70s due to the petrol crisis. My day was Sunday!