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Trip Report Santiago Trip Report

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I had a full day in Santiago (actually I am still here, leaving tomorrow). I think Santiago is a nice introduction to S. America, not as scary as Lima. It was very hot at midday (maybe over 30?).

I flew LAN from Lima, the payment of the $131 fee hurts even more when there is just one station open and the system is slow. I haven´t seen an Okidata dot matrix printer in a long time.

Other than that I liked Santiago´s airport and plan to do lots of souvenier shopping on the way back from Punta Arenas, my next stop.

I used Transvip´s Compartido service at less than 10,000 CLP round trip. (like Supershuttle) It took about an hour. They want 1 hour 20 minutes to reach the airport again in the morning.

My hotel Best Western Los Espanoles is satisfactory, no elevator but it has everything else needed like A/C and free internet. The interior room I have is small, but very quiet. It is a short walk from the Los Leones Metro, one of the reasons I chose it (and because Hotel Orly doesn´t reply to emails). I found the Metro is easy to use, just ask for a tarjeta dos mille and you only have to stand in line once. And hold the card right up against the scanner.

I enjoyed La Chascona ( and appreciate Pablo Neruda the flea market pack rat), the Bellavista streets at least during the day, and there bought a tiny lapis gatito as a memento (it was 10,000 CLP) from the shop labeled factory. Other highlights were the PreColumbian Museum, which has labels in English and fantastic collection of textiles, and the Frida & Diego exhibit in the Cultural Center at the Moneda (Centro Cultural Palacio de Moneda). I only found out about the latter because the guide at La Chascona mentioned it. My South America guide book didn´t mention this place, which is fairly new. They have special exhibits, a shop selling Chilean artisan crafts at fair trade prices, and several cafes and restaurants. I wound up eating at the cafe there and enjoyed the fresh cherimoya juice and some simple grilled turkey and salad.

I have to say I found the fish Market (Mercado) a disappointment as far as restaurants. Very tourist trap, and the food on the tables looked like nothing special. (So instead I had tuna helado for lunch). Tuna=Cactus. Refreshing.

I will have to wait for my seafood in Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales.

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