Sunday, 6 February 2011

Strange things from Santiago

Santiago has many unknown facets some of which will be revealed here.

Fact 1:
Fire hydrant orphans are often left on the streets to fend for themselves.  Through the generous donations of gringos, such as ourselves, you can adopt an orphaned fire hydrant for the day and take it walking with you.

Fact 2:
It gets so hot here that the bases of some trees melt.

Fact 3.
Graffiti artists have to pay per square metre of building they want to paint on.  Poorer artists have adopted the more cost effective method of arbol art.

Today we bused to Valparaiso (or Valpo as the locals call it).  The bus terminal in Santiago is a microcosmos of great throngs of people either coming or going.  We didn't know which group we belonged to.  
It was the first time we'd been out of bed before 9:00 as we're all still suffering from jet-lag.  I'm a foot taller than most men here and with two blond daughters we stand out in any crowd.
After a conversation with the conductor from one of the many bus companies that thread their way throughout this long skinny country, we finally agreed that yes we had reserved seats on the 8:30 bus and yes he'd told us to wait by the side and yes it was now 8:40.  I tried my best to ask him at what time do I start to panic but apparently my Spanish does not work at bus terminals.
He did eventually hand deliver us to the driver of our bus who took us on a very pleasant 90 minute journey to Valpo.  The seats equalled those of business class airline seats.  The buses are smoke free and there is even a movie dubbed in Spanish to watch on the way.  It was an Adam Sandler movie so there wasn't too much to think about.

Modern play equipment

Constant smog covering the mountain
We've happily left Santiago.  We did feel safe there and everyone was helpful and patient with us, but our intention was always to spend a few days there to help us acclimatise before moving on.

Tuna and mayo in the hotel

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