Hunderburton Adventures


A record of wanderings through Latin America

Leaving Santiago

December 5th, 2011 at 5:37

Hey Friends

Sorry we haven´t been posting much lately. This has been because my computer died, and also because not that much has been happening except for Spanish class and typical holidaying. Now that we´re back on the road and have a new computer we will hopefully post more regularly.

So anyway we´ve finally moved on after 2 weeks in Santiago. While I love Santiago and will always have fond memories of my time there, I have to say it was time to leave. Santiago has the reputation (deservingly I´m told by many) of being the safest and most boring city in all of South America. By Australian standards its still pretty happening, but we keep hearing travelers stories from the more exotic cities of Bolivia and Peru which always end with ¨its amazing… you´ve got to see it to believe it¨ or something like that. It makes ol´ Santiago feel a tad dull in comparison.

Also about half of the population of the orient (or more accurately, about 20 retirees from Hong Kong) moved into our hostel over our last few days there and I cant say it improved the feel of the place. The hostel is smallish to begin with, and completely unsuited for large groups of geriatric travelers. They would all move together like some sort of flock so often we would find that there was an impassable barrier of old Asian people cutting off access to some section of the hostel. Apparently they caused a real stir amongst the staff there actually. The group spoke very little English (or Spanish for that matter), so when they encountered a sign on one of the bathroom doors saying ¨DO NOT ENTER¨ they casually removed the sign and proceeded use the shower continuously for several hours. It turns out the sign had been there for a reason (what a surprise right?) and it completely flooded the ceiling cavity of the room below, which then melted in that way that plasterboard ceilings do when exposed to excessive amounts of water. As a result of all this the kitchen below was flooded. So its no surprise that the group was not popular amongst the staff. This is probably an understatement as the hostel counter guy said ¨I want to kill them!¨ about 3 or 4 times over the course of telling me this story- he also told me that they stole all of the staples from his desk when he let his guard down for a split second, which i thought was pretty funny.

On our last day in Santiago we finally made it to the city walking tour which is normally one of the first things most people do when they arrive in the city, but we had been preoccupied with Spanish classes and other stuff. It was an interesting insight into the history and politics of Chile. They´ve had a surprisingly tumultuous political past there, and in the last 50 years have had both the first ever democratically elected socialist/communist party, and an absolute military dictatorship (you’ve probably all heard of Pinochet?) which was responsible for thousands of political murders and nearly 30000 cases of torture of Chilean people for political reasons (this is a lot considering chile only has a population of 15 million). According to our guide most Chileans know of someone who mysteriously disappeared during Pinochet´s rule. Now that Pinochet is gone, some super capitalist conservative government has taken power, and as a result Chile has one of the worst discrepancies between the wealth of rich and poor of any country in the world. 4% of people control 96% of the wealth or something (don’t quote me on that but it was some similarly shocking statistic)

Chileans love their flags. There is a flag 1/4 the size of a football field in the centre of Santiago, and on one day every year it is a crime to not display a Chilean flag on your property

After the tour we had one of the better meals I’ve had here. At our hostel they have this buffet every Friday; Its all you can eat pasta, salads and steak, and all you can drink beer and wine for $12Aus. The steaks in South America are really REALLY good. I don´t know why people go crazy for Australian beef- it doesn’t compare to the stuff you can get here. The cuts are usually about 1.5 inches thick and always cooked to perfection. So i ate about a kilo of steak last night (if the food is as good everywhere in South America, I’m going to come back to Australia so damn fat) I went pretty easy on the alcohol though. At last weeks buffet i had maybe 4 glasses of wine and woke up feeling like i´d been roofied, and had my brain stomped on. The wine here tastes great but I swear they put antifreeze or something in it.

Asador (BBQ) in Hostel (sin carne)

So anyway, we caught the bus to Mendoza this morning (which is where we are now). Mendoza is this small city near the Andes which is famous for its wine and produces about 80% of Argentina’s wine, or so some Californian guy i met earlier tells me. Its a bit early to comment on the place, having only been here for a couple of hours, BUT the bus trip here was pretty spectacular. To get here from Santiago you have to drive directly through the Andes if you don’t want to take a 4000km detour, so the bus path gets to over 3000m high (we think), so there were some amazing Mountain vistas.

Anna and Nick added a ´subscribe´ function to our blog (for those uncomfortable with RSS feeds), so if you want updates on when we post, subscribe!

6 Responses to “Leaving Santiago”

  1. GREEK LouBalls Says:

    sven, your skinny already… need to gain some weight

    anyway, i didnt want to tell you this.. but bucket is dead :( .. it ate a toad and died…

  2. Delaney Says:

    Sweet post, can you tell us what were in some of those dishes? In particular the two bowls on the left table. It all looks so damn healthy Sven that I’m going to assume you’ll come back more powerful than ever.

  3. Mark Says:

    Put up some photos of these mountain vistas!
    Also I sent you an email about Inca Trail.

  4. Mandy Says:

    You didn’t mention your spanish after 2 weeks of classes! Nick, can you translate the T shirt from Spain yet?

  5. Sven Says:

    Hey Jung. We can see the ip of comments so your not outsmarting the system by using someone elses name

  6. Sven Says:

    Yeah, it was seasoned rice in the white one, and some sort of corn dish in the other one. its a shame there was no meat in the photo- somehow we didn´t manage to get a decent photo. but never in my life have i seen steaks cooked so well.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>