Baron Dave Romm (barondave) wrote,
Baron Dave Romm

Best Birthday Present Ever: Porpoising To Antarctica IIIa: Santiago Nov. 27 early afternoon

The continuing disclaimer: This is the rough first draft of my trip report, and I haven't even looked at all the pictures yet. The pictures as posted on LJ are temporary files on my system, and will likely look different than when I posted them. Go to for info on the trip report (which isn't even remotely started).

Go to to see all the pictures, unedited and uncompressed. Let me know if Shutterfly's navigation isn't working; I've tried to separate the pictures by sections such as this, but they all seem to be in one album. And it won't let me upload anymore...

Saturday was a busy day. Even though I was in Santiago for a short time, I made two trips into the city. I'll divide this section into two parts: Early pm when I went on my own and later with the expedition. At the end of the last section, we had arrived in town and got a room. And I was tired....

Still, I didn't want to sleep much during the less than 24 hours we were in town. I needed a nap to recover from the flight (I don't sleep well on airplanes, though I doze off), but we had hours until the Lindblad arranged tour. The hotel restaurants weren't open, except for lobby service, which meant mom and I got a quick lunch and didn't eat in the fancy eateries.

Ethel, in front of fountain at the HyattMom, in Lobby where we had lunch

It was at the Hyatt, catering to high-class patrons, that I noticed a curious phenomena: The coffee was terrible, though they claimed it was fresh brewed. I don't really like coffee much to begin with, but I can appreciate quality caffeine. Perhaps they simply brew it differently in South America, or we do something here in the US I don't quite understand. I never had a good cup of coffee the entire trip, and we were in the lap of luxury the whole way.

Street MimeThere was an election going on

Finished lunch and itched to explore. Finally escaped to see Santiago on my own. After much consultation with the staff at the Hyatt, who gave me a map, I walked a mile to the nearest Metro stop, the end of the Red Line L1, Escualar Military. I had changed some American money for Chilean, and trusted that most tourist places would take dollars. Wherever I go, I try to get the subway map of the transit system I've been on. However, I can't get map of the Santiago Metro System. The ticket booths didn't have any, nor did anyone I asked in the Metro stops. I'm not sure they exist. Santiago Metro Map (pdf)

FountainMetro stop
Fountain, with mountains in backgroundMetro stop Escuala Militar (far right on Red Line)

Chilean Military GuysMetro artwork
Chilean Army soldiers on subwayMetro artwork

This was my second subway in two days, though didn't get map of DC Metro either. (The small light/compass/thermometer attached to the zipper of my jacket came in handy in DC, but I wasn't out after dark in Santiago.) I took the Metro to the "downtown" exit at the U. de Santiago.

Downtown DaintiagoDowntown Santiago
Downtown SantiagoDowntown Santiago

As I was playing tourist and snapping photos of interesting stuff, a young man approached me. Claudio Fernando was a student (he said) and went on for a bit about the potential strike at the U over conditions. He offered to be my guide to Santiago. I took him up on his offer, on the condition that I didn't have much time and wouldn't go off the main street.

ClaudioSantiago City Police
Claudio FernandoSantiago City Police

We walked up the street and he pointed out the obvious places and took me to "The Cave" which was a tourist trap kind of market inside of a cave! I finally got some Santiago post cards.

Downtown SantiagoDowntown Santiago
Downtown SantiagoDowntown Santiago

In the CaveIn the Cave
In the CaveIn the Cave

At this point I begged off further exploring to head back to the Hotel. Naturally, he hit me up for money. I gave him a $2 bill and a dollar coin. He protested, saying that he couldn't spend them. Not that he gave them back… To be sure, the airport money-changing sign didn't include these denominations. Still, as I told him, this was real American money, and a fair amount of change for a student in a poor country. We had walked to the next Metro stop, Santa Lucia, and I headed back. Walking the mile or so from the Metro to the hotel, I passed by a street mime I'd seen before and gave him a dollar coin. I eventually gave the concierge of the Hyatt $2s and dollar coins to mail postcard (which I haven't gotten yet…).

12 Postcards at standard tourist rates: $6 US
Transportation, native guide and street mime: $6 US approx
Spreading $2 and Sacagawea coins in Santiago underground economy: Priceless

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