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marge & ian’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 19 Jan 2006

Location: *Santiago* - CHILE, Chile

Map*Santiago, CHILE* 19/01/06 - 21/01/06

The trip to Santiago was one of the most comfy we have had....Semi cama (semi-bed) seats and even personal headsets to watch the films on tele. Marge was in her element. The overnight tranquility was short lived when we arrived in one of Santiago´s main bus stations at 7.00am in the morning when it was swarming with people! The lady at the hostel we had booked for 2 nights had sent us an email with directions ..it looked easy, a nice shuttle bus to the "Barrio Brasil"......oh were we mistaken. Three times I went to the information desk, using my best Espanol to locate the pick up point of the mysterious shuttle bus. I just could not find it. At one point the guy at the info desk gave me directions for a bus to BRASIL (the country.) Anyway, after an hour when a fluent Spanish speaking English bloke was no help either, I decided to take matters into my own hands and looked at the map in the lonely planet. Guess what ? When I managed to identify which of the many bus stations we were parked, it was only 3 stops on the tube to where we wanted to go. What a waste of time. So what happened to the mysterious shuttle bus ? The woman had only given us directions from the AIRPORT. As Tony the Tiger would say, "GREEEAAAAT!" We have written this little description of our whoes to illustrate the difficulty of independant travel to those who have not done it before. This sort of thing happens all the time.

So we eventually got to the hostel which was an old colonial mansion, a bit run down but in a great location in the student area. We spent the first day doing more admin like changing our flight reservations (we are not leaving S.A until end of March now b the way!) picking up our mail from home that Sara had kindly sent our to us, and finally locating a KFC or Macdonalds as we had not had any "proper" food for ages. By the way Santiago is like a big European city full of high rise buildings and shops in the centre. Its only when you get to the old Spanish colonial buildings like where we were staying that you see some camera. Oh, and there are loads of beggars as the Chileans do not look after their poor as well as the Argentinans.

The Holy Grail
When in Pucon a couple of Brits had told us about the "Holy Grail". In Santiago they has located a curry house inside a posh..ish hotel THE MAJESTIC! Marge booked a table. It was only a 15min walk from our place and on arrival we were greeted by a real Indian lady in the full garb who stuck a bindi (one of those spot things) on Marges head when she sat down. The menu had a few of the regular Brit curry options chicken tikka masalla, sheesh kebab, madras etc. Heaven. The food was great, not as good as home, but enough to fill our curry cravin. It was so good we forgot to take a picture of it for you to see !! Anyway, we went to bed that night with fully bellies and smiles on our faces.

20/01/06

When on the trip to Patagonia Marge had caught a serous dose of "Camera envy" after seeing Paul´s camera. This had developed into a full blown obsession in Pucon when Marge had seen Paul´s photos on the internet. We did genually have an issue in the photo department (Marge´s department) though as our current camera had a battery life as long as Mark Ducker´s patience with restaurant waiters and we were going on a 4 day trek on the Inca trail next. So we spent most of our second day in Santiago looking for a new camera and we managed to find a super duper,but expensive one, just before the shops closed. We celebrated with a Macdonalds.
So to us Santiago means fast food, curry and shops ! All we had to look forward to was a 28 hour bus journey to Arica (which is on the boarder with Peru.)