Monday, August 8, 2011

Oh, Santiago!

We made it effortlessly to Santiago on Saturday morning after a 9+ hour flight from Dallas. (p.s. I love the international area of airports! There is so much excitement about the upcoming adventure - although tempered by the long flying time.)

After paying a $140 entrance fee into Chile (each), we retrieved our luggage and took a taxi to the bus station in downtown Santiago to get a bus to Mendoza. We knew it was a possibility that the pass over the mountain would be closed due to bad weather. Well, it was. We took a taxi to a budget hotel listed in our guide book that was good enough for a few nights. It had a TV! But let it be known that budget hotels in Chile don't supply shampoo.
We explored Santiago Saturday and Sunday since the pass through the Andes to Argentina was closed. We came upon a cross-country race through a park that was pretty inspiring. Thank goodness we hadn’t been traveling long enough that we didn’t feel guilty for not exercising yet, or I think we both would have ditched our sensible walking shoes and jumped in the race. Santiago is a huge city surrounded by mountains with very nice people, some pollution, tons of graffiti and street dogs with sweaters, and currently a protest to demand affordable education. The stray street dogs are just that – stray, not really feral. They are different from lost dogs in the US – they don’t look at you with sweet eyes like you could be their Alpha. They sleep on sidewalks in the middle of the city and don’t bark or beg. They are very independent and not aggressive. It made me thankful for all our pet and feral cat/dog programs in Austin. You don’t realize what it could be like without these programs until you see it.
demonstrations for affordable education with police-that-look-like-military presence

homeless dog with sweater
cross country race through park

We packed up our bags and left our hotel early Monday morning to go to the bus station in hopes that the pass would be open. When we found out it was still closed, we bought tickets for the following day, treated ourselves to a fancy coffee and toast and then a hotel room near the bus station with shampoo and more cable television. We explored Santiago for one more day and had our favorite meal yet in a great little neighborhood called Barrio Brazil. 

Let's hope the pass is open tomorrow! 

No comments:

Post a Comment