Santiago de Chile November 4 - 7
After a slightly delayed but uneventful 12 hour flight with Qantas I arrived at the hotel around 2pm. The views flying into Santiago were stunning - snow capped mountains - The Andes and the Coastal Range . It is a city of around 7 million people. A bit of an earthquake tremor as I was going through customs! Not unusual in these parts I believe. For some reason I went for a walk in the blinding heat -32degrees- for around half an hour before having a nice meal of seafood ceviche and then crashing for the night. Mornings and evenings are much cooler with the temperature dropping maybe 14 degrees.
A fairly quiet day with a walk across the muddy fast flowing but fairly empty river, along a very nice park to the Lastarria barrio or district. Then to the Museo de Bellas Artes to escape the heat. The Intrepid group met at 6pm with our guide Emmanuel, a well travelled young Argentinian. There are only two others on the trip - Debbie from near Byron who has been 3 months in the US at a summer camp, and David from Adelaide who was on my flight and met on the transfer to the hotel. Based on my dealings with him so far I will have to be super tolerant.. He is the master of the bad joke and innuendo and makes them constantly. Went to Bellavista bario for dinner of prawn and cheese empanadas ( better than it sounds ), octopus and a grilled seafood platter. All delicious.. Chile is famous for seafood. I was surprised to see so many sushi, middle eastern and Chinese restaurants. Bellavista is a buzzy neighborhood, lots of restaurants, music, people strolling around. Near our hotel there is lots of street art - not what I'd call graffiti - and it really livens up the place.
Another scorching day. A three hour walking tour of the city with an enthusiastic 24 year old student called Valentina. Met her at Plaza des Armes, the city centre and then to the presidential palace where Allende suicided in 1973, past the stock exchange, university, the main thoroughfare of avenue Bernardo O Higginns which was once a river, Lastarria and Bellavista Barrios, Parc Forestal,
A nice dinner at la Nona in Bellavista where I ate Pastel de Chocola, a dish based on corn, meat, olives, raisins - very delicious - and pisco sour..
Tomorrow we are off to Mendosa in Argentina by bus.