Tuesday, 8 February 2011

In search of a flat hill.

January to February is the Chilean summer holiday period.  The chance of finding a job before March is slim.  We knew this but wanted to spend some time getting to know the city and take some time to do a reconnaissance before getting into the daily grind.
Perhaps we should have come straight to Valpo and slept off the jetlag here, as the prices for accommodation are very similar.  However, now that we have been to Santiago we know for sure that we don’t want to base ourselves there.  Admittedly when we first came to Valpo I thought we were out of the fat into the frying pan but after a few days here I can see us living here for the next year.
Another downside to arriving at this time of year is all the long term accommodation is being used by holiday makers and the choice for apartments doesn’t really grow until the start of March.  To give you an idea of costs you can rent studios from around AU$230 a month.  We’re going to see a two bedroom apartment tomorrow for AU$470 a month.  Obviously a single person can have simpler accommodation but with two girls we have to be more aware in our decision making.

Wheel for ascensor

We went a bit touristy today and caught the ascenor down to the bottom of the hill.  There are only five ascenores working in the city and most of them are one hundred of more years old.  The one near our B&B is the third oldest in the city.  It costs CH$300 per person each way.  (CH$ = Chilean peso).  Have they ever crashed?  I don’t want to ask.

We caught the trolebus into town, CH$200 per person every time you hop on, and went to Plaza Simon Dolivar.  It’s like a small carnival all year round.  They rent out these great three wheelers for kids and push cars for the little one.  For CH$500 the kids can whizz around for 15 minutes thus depleting their energy store necessary for climbing the hills.

Across the road you could pay CH$1300 and each child gets to have three turns on the various rides.  There’s no where in Australia where two kids could have three rides for less than $5.  Sometimes it feels very affordable here.

It is possible to avoid walking up the hills by catching a colectivo (a shared taxi, with a set price and a set route), catch one of the five working ascenores or one of the buses.  There are so many forms of public transport that they all have some sort of strange horn or buzzer to attract your attention in the hope you’ll jump on.

I think the way to tell a good electrician is to look how curly his hair is.

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