Santiago...And I'm Tired...










I arrived in Santiago, Chile!!!!  It was a long flight.  Yesterday I left Madison at about 6:15p.m.  I caught a connection in Atlanta at 10:55p.m., and arrived in Santiago at 9:30 this morning.  I had never really been on a red eye flight before.  I thought it was going to be great!!  That is until I remembered, I don't sleep well on planes.  I maybe got about 2 hours of sleep while traveling.  So, I am tired tonight.  I feel like the dog in the first photo. 

Enough complaining.  I arrived in Santiago!!  Made it through immigration and customs (phew) and found my lift to my hotel.  A really nice guy named Hugo.  He had a lot of information about Santiago.  I didn't realize it was such a big city.  I think he said the population is 6.5 million in Santiago and 16.5 million for the whole country.  So, most people live in and around Santiago.  I guess it makes since. I got to my hotel and was able to check in about an hour later.  Got to my room and dropped off my stuff and packed up my camera bag and went out to explore.  The original plan was to take the subway to the end of the line at Los Dominicos.  A neighborhood in Santiago.  I was looking for an artist's market.  I always try to buy a piece of artwork wherever my Great Adventure's take me.  But, when I got to the hotel, I realized that my hotel is in the center of everything.  Within walking distance.  So I scrapped that plan and set out on foot.

You may remember from my last Great Adventure that I was having major problems navigating in Vietnam and Laos.  I could get lost walking out of my hotel there.  Here, not so much.  I knew where I was most of the day!  Success!!!  It's pretty easy to figure out this city.  There seems to be a main street and everything is either north or south of that street.  It is called O'Higgins street.  Very strange for a Spanish country, but I found out that there is an Irish and British influence here as well.  Thus, O'Higgins St.  Anyway, I first went to the San Francisco Church, since it is right next to my hotel.  There wasn't a lot of activity here and it was noon so I didn't get any photos.  There wasn't really a great vantage point for photos.  I found out later that the church is always open to tourists and you can take photos inside.  So, I missed out on that deal.  After walking around the outside of the church I headed North to the Downtown and University area.  The streets in this area are amazing!!  Seems to be newer cobblestone but the area I was in was all pedestrian.  No vehicles allowed.  There were a lot of shoe stores.  A lot.  There also seems to be quite a few banks in this area too.  Mostly I saw banks and shoe stores.  But the streets have vendors, like in NYC selling drinks and food and magazines, etc.  I walked around this area for hours.  I finally go to the Plaza De Armas.  The original city center of Santiago.  Very old buildings and fountains.  I think the photo with the fountain was taken in this area.  Then I wandered West and came to the President's house.  Basically the White House of Santiago, I think.  Or, maybe it was just where the President works out of.  It was kind of impressive that you could walk right up to the entrance.  You couldn't go in, but you were free to walk around.  There is a big plaza there and I sat there for a while and just relaxed.  Then I noticed the guards on horses.  They wouldn't say anything, but tourists were flocked around them getting their photos taken.  I thought it was pretty cool, so I tried to get some different angles.  I hung out here for quite a while.  Then I headed back East to the Lastarria neighborhood.  It was a cool neighborhood.  I found a little cafe and with my HORRIBLE Spanish, managed to order a sandwich and a Coke.  Sat there for quite a while.  When I got up to leave from there, I was exhausted.  It was about 4:00 and I had been up for over 24 hours.  So I headed back to the hotel for a nap.  I was out in about 10 minutes when I got back.  Slept for a couple hours.  Woke up, took a much needed shower, and headed out for dinner.  Found a nice Italian place with great food.  I have to confess, I chose it because it was really close to the hotel.  Maybe, next door.  Now, here I am, back at the hotel.  It's about 9:30 here now.  I have to get up at about 4:00 tomorrow morning as Hugo is picking me up around 5:00a.m. to go back to the airport for my flight to Punta Arenas.  Punta Arenas is maybe 1000 miles south of here.  I know the flight takes about 3.5 hours.  So, tomorrow I will be in the Patagonia region of Chile.  I will spend one night in Punta Arenas, then on Sunday I am going into the National Park, Torres Del Paine, for 4 nights.  I will be hiking and horseback riding and taking some photos there.  Super excited for that!  Thanks to everyone for reading and I will try to get another post tomorrow before I head into the middle of nowhere.  Take it easy...