Go to porpoising.shutterfly.com 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 Hyatt||Mom, 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 Mime||There 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)
|Fountain, with mountains in background||Metro stop Escuala Militar (far right on Red Line)|
|Chilean Army soldiers on subway||Metro 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 Santiago||Downtown 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.
|Claudio Fernando||Santiago 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 Santiago||Downtown Santiago|
|In the Cave||In 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