It was so crazy here last night after Chile won the football, the city partied for hours. The pick up to the show was 40 minutes late – I was starting to be sure I had been forgotten but the lady at reception assured me they would just be running late. Once I got picked up I could see why they were running late, the traffic was gridlocked! Luckily they had a traffic warden at most intersections.
There were cars with flags hooting with people hanging out of windows. people standing almost leaning out of cars. people on the street and in cars waving flags and chanting “cc le le le chile!” (or at least that’s what I think they were chanting). The police did not seem to be bothered at all by the people hanging out of cars, so very different from NZ. I must look up the road toll as the cars do not always look road worthy, cyclists mainly don’t have helmets, and to my NZ conditioned soul people hanging out of cars is not going to end well.
There is an amazing amount of graffiti in this city, just about every building has some tagging. A lot is graffiti but some are works of art. This on private houses, public buildings, shops and on walls and riverbanks. There are also a lot of stalls and makeshift shops selling 2 dollar shop type stuff. A small number of homeless people, but not beggars that I saw.
At the show we got to sit with the tour group which I was pleased about. I sat next to a very nice young couple from Brazil who luckily had not come to see the football. They came for the skiing. The show was interesting, sometimes the dancing reminded me of a mix between Maori and Pacific Island.
They got members of the audience up at regular intervals, luckily they had plenty of volunteers. If you did not know the basic dance steps I don’t think you could have managed, but I guess that could be part of the fun. The whole night the show was interspersed by “cc le le le chile” and occasional breaking into song. I got round the problem of ordering with no Spanish or menu by ordering what the young couple had. I have got their name but it is packed as I am currently in the hotel bar waiting to be picked up to go to the airport.
I got back to the hotel just after midnight. I had worried I might not sleep after my long nap but I slept without waking up until I woke up at 9.50, what the?! So then I had to rush around packing. Things did not seem to go back in as well (as predicted) but I managed to shove it all into the box and bag and then head down to reception to check they would look after my stuff until 10pm tonight.
Next stop: the city tour. I asked reception about getting a taxi to where I could get the City Tour bus and he said “No no need, just go 3 blocks up and you will see the stop”. So with some misgivings I went 3 blocks up and found the stop just as the bus pulled up – unbelievable.
It was freezing on the bus and I had not dressed warmly enough but luckily I had a warm jacket. The circuit takes 2 hours if you don’t get off, so first of all I did the whole circuit without getting off. During the next circuit unbelievably I started to fall asleep again, probably because in NZ it would have been about 3am.
I got off at the Furnicular Santiago. It makes the Wellington cable car pale in comparison. The trip up takes about 5 minutes up and is very steep. On the way back down the guard was explaining to a couple what would happen in an emergency, but it was in Spanish so I missed most of it. But I was not reassured by the tool he was showing them that he would jam in and stop the cars in an emergency, but of course it must work.
The Furnicular was built for Santiago by the Italians, not sure why, will have to google this. There was a Zoo on the way up but I did not stop at it as it did not look particularly big or interesting. At the top of the Furnicular I took some photos, you could see the snow topped Andes behind the city, but the amount of smog meant they were very hazy.
At the top, there were what I am starting to realize are the obligatory 2 -3 stray dogs for every public space. So far most of the dogs had looked older in years and I wondered if there was a revoking programme for the younger dogs. They do not seem aggressive at all and don’t beg for food, so I am not sure how they get fed. They are not skinny but they are slim.
After I came down again I wandered around some markets and then went to go back to the Turistik bus stop but I could not find it. I walked up and down a couple of times as knew roughly where it was, as I had of course got off at it. I was getting annoyed at myself for not having taking better notice but had been falsely reassured by the fact that all the stops had big “Turistik” bus stop notices. In the end I asked a lady – by asked this was limited to smiling and pointing at my Turistik pamphlet. The stop it turns out was 200 meters up the road where I had gone to a couple of times but it did not have the Turistik bus sign that they are meant to have. So I am not going to count that as lost, so that means so far I have been overseas for 48 hours and not yet lost!
I was amused by some of the power lines, there are numerous wires in a tangle going from lamp post to lamp post, unlike NZ where you have to cut back your trees.
Once back at my stop I wandered around the shops for a while and then headed back to the hotel to wait to be picked up. I had 3 hours to wait, but I had had enough of wandering around.
Next stop is the airport, hopefully there will be no issues with customs or the weight of my bags, and then off to Colombia. I have enjoyed Santiago and am looking forward to coming back in a few months.