So we left Auckland airport for our longest flight yet, over the Pacific to Chile. We could see the Andes from the plane, but then we dipped down into the cloud of smog that surrounds Santiago and never saw them again. There was a hoard of teenage girls waiting at the airport. I gave them a wave, and they waved back, but I´m almost certain that it wasn´t me they were waiting for.
We only had a couple of days in Santiago, most of which we spent sleeping at funny times trying to get over our jetlag. And we weren´t the only sleepy ones.
The dogs may take a relaxed attitude to life, but the people don´t. We saw two big protests in two days, one about housing and one about education.
As for sightseeing, we took a cable car up to the top of the Parque San Christobal which overlooks the city.
We also visited a few museums, but they all seemed to have very little by way of exhibits. We kept getting lost on basement floors just looking for more stuff. I´ve been dusting off the old Spanish A-level, but at first I struggle. I´m able to string a few key-words together so that people understand what I want. The problem is when they reply. It seems that I remember how to speak Spanish but not how to listen Spanish. I feel much better when I hear from other travellers that Chilean Spanish is notoriously difficult to understand, even for Spanish speakers. It´s the equivalent of a poor English speaker visiting Glasgow – total confusion! I´m getting my ear in a bit now and we are muddling through.
Mr Beet´s Spanish is coming on a treat. It took me about six months to teach him “No cheese please, I don´t like cheese” but now we are here he is picking it up very quickly. The first words in his vocabulary were empanada (pasty), churrasco (steak sandwich) and lomo a lo pobre (steak, egg and chips). Steak, egg and chips has been a firm favourite.
A few more photos from Santiago on Mr Beet´s flickr page.