La Bienvenida a Santiago

So Qantas did this really on-to-it thing where they rescheduled our connecting flight from Santiago to Lima so that instead of waiting a few hour at Santiago airport, we had to wait about 16  before we could get on the next plane to Lima.

Long lay overs are inconvenient. If you have not had the pleasure of landing in Santiago Airport then I can assure you, this airport offers no such luxuries to improve the inconvenience. that would improve the inconvenience for an overnight stay.

It made sense to venture into Santiago for some fun and get a hostel bed instead. It did not make sense to come to this decision and try to book our hostel, after we had arrived. With shitty drop-out wi-fi that most airports seem to like to provide, and while  being hounded in every direction by  taxi drivers, we managed to successfully book two beds at La Chimba in the Providencia district. Lots of coll places to enjoy a Cristal and some food!!

Before we left the airport we had been ripped off twice ( i know they say don’t exchange US dollars at the exchange centres in the airport…yes I did – and yes, I can confirm that this is a very bad idea. Then the travel cards would not work. When we FINALLY managed to get some pesos together, our taxi driver ripped us off.

Obviously, the first thing we did once we had plonked our bags down in the hostel was to go and drink a 1 litre bottle of cerveza in the sun. Life righted itself once more. Muy Bien.

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The slice of my 12 hour experience of Santiago (thank you Qantas), besides the valuable money lessons that i picked up, is a little like this:

The leafy streets lined with old buildings brought to life by colourful artistic images, or spastically wicked graffiti upon almost every building face. A street gallery.

The people who are gracious when you come and sit at their restaurants and blurt the kind of broken spanglish that a 1 year old would be ashamed.. Thanks for trying and giving us something to laugh about for the rest of the day, their laughter says.

The strangers who stare just a little bit too long (apparently we stick out…). One of our gracious waiters became our bodyguard at lunch making sure a man with seemingly not the best intentions left us well alone. GRACIAS!

We stayed at la Chimba. A massive hostel with an awesome chiller lounge. Big ups to the location the comfy beds and the massive kitchen!

Let downs – the free breakfast: I know enough not to expect anything gourmet when I hit a hostel with a free brekky, but breakfast with a broken toaster, a couple of pieces of bread and no cereal is a bit of a tear jerker. Luckily our reception mate stepped on it when we asked him and some cornflakes were delivered…

#backpacking breakfast hack – ALWAYS carry with you a banana. Turns a tasteless, nutrition-less breakfast into a tummy grumbling cure.

On the whole – it beat staying at the airport over night by a hundred fold!

Ciao Santiago, bring on Peru!

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