Wed 22 Jul 2009 8 °C
I got to know Santiago more seriously today and other than smog I don’t see major negatives. It is tough to tell it’s a South American city as it reminds me a lot of some European cities, however it feels kind of different here and more down to earth. People seem special, they’re pretty open however still quite conservative – exactly the behaviour I respect. When it comes to the way they look like, they are shorter in height, I feel like a giant (finally!!!!), their tan is lighter than what I’ve seen in Latin America by now and they appear quite humble. There are no other races here, other than some blacks, and even less Asians, majority of population appear of Latin descent. Racism doesn’t seem to be a stranger here, Chileans don’t like their neighbors, predominantly Peruvians as they bring their lack of cultural behaviour, and Argentines because of their arrogant behaviour. That’s what I heard and read.
Today I moved to another hostel, Gustavo helped me carry the bags, they weight a ton, seems like I packed bricks. As soon as stepped inside the hostel “Green House” I felt heating which was a big plus, however once they showed me my tiny tiny room, located right in front of the common breakfast table, I decided to move back to the first hotel the next day. After my complaint to the owner, he offered me another much bigger room, in another – more quiet location for a little higher price, so I am very happy with my accommodation right now.
Today’s plan was claiming the hill following my good old tradition. I don’t recognize a town without a good hill to climb. Santiago has several, and today we chose hill San Cristobal on whose top there is a 9 m tall statue of some cool Virgin. On the way to the climb starting point, we passed through the lively and colorful neighbourhood of Bellavista. Area is packed with bars, discos, and cafes. Gustavo says that at night it gets so crowded here it’s hard to get through. There was some shy sun today, so we enjoyed lunch outside in a patio, yeah here they sit outside in the middle of winter as well.
We climbed the hill in 45 minutes. Other than the virgin, there we saw a famous Santiago smog layer. Yeah its definitely there, and the Andes that surround the city, were completely impossible to be seen.
I got a Chilean mobile today! Process was quite simple as Gustavo was with me so I didn’t have to use my brain or flash my perfect Spanish. After unsuccessful attempt to bring back to life my Canadian Fido, we entered a telecom store with intention of buying a new phone. Gustavo negotiated everything with a sales woman (who I didn’t understand a word, she spoke like she was on ecstasy), so 15 minutes later I had my first Chilean shopping done. Price was excellent, phone is capable of sending messages internationally which was my major expectation, so I am quite happy now.
One metro ride US$0.80
Mobile phone, charger, headphones, and 100 minutes included US$35