I fell asleep last night listening to a podcast on my Android and sometime in the night had a dream about my Aunt answering the phone with noone on the other end of the line. I checked my phone log this morning and found either my stomach or my autonomous telephone actually had called her in the night. My log also shows that I called a hotel in Barcelona a couple days ago. Not sure how that works.
Seeing those calls in my call log made me recall a conversation we had with an expat in the Santiago bus station shortly after arriving. He assuredly informed us that the NSA is monitoring communications from US citizens in Chile, implying that they can control our equipment due to the malware they install on our devices. I can see now that he is right, though why the NSA would want to disturb my Aunt in the night is beyond me.
Yesterday worked like clockwork for us. We got up early, walked to a nearby hotel that serves breakfast on the 14th floor so we could watch the first rays of the Sun illuminate the Andes. We got to see the first rays, then the clouds moved in to the east and then it was in shadows again.
The sights during bus ride through the Andes were spectacular. From our upstairs seats we caught many great views, however I was a bit envious to the folks who had the front row seats since they had the full effect seeing the oncoming panorama. The formations of the peaks and valleys spoke of the incredible violence of the Earth’s formation.
Here are a few shots through the bus window, some of which are marred by reflections from inside the bus.
It took quite a while to clear customs at the border. Everyone had to get off the bus, go through passport control, have our baggage and persons scanned for contraband while the police scoured the inside, undercarriage and engine compartment. The biggest delay was due to there being many buses going through customs before us.
Santiago could be a poster city for the effects of population growth. From the time we got off the bus it was clear that we were walking where others were planning to walk and if we stopped we were clearly in someone’s way. I’ve been in crowded cities, of course, particularly Mexico City, where too many people are packed into too small spaces. I thought it would get better after we got out of the bus terminal and subway, but it did not abate that much.
Our apartment is in Barrio Lastarria, a very cosmopolitan neighborhood with lots of pubs, cafes, restaurants and sidewalk merchants.
We look forward to seeing the city, but also anticipate a couple day trips to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. We’ll not do those trips on the weekend.
After close to a month in Argentina we are a bit shocked by prices in Chile. Things cost slightly less than in the US, but significantly more than Argentina. Food is very expensive in the stores, which is somewhat surprising given its availability. Perhaps I have a skewed perspective since we are in a big city.
Sidewalk vendors line the sidewalks of this neighborhood, perhaps amplifying the crowded conditions. I watched one young woman lighting what looked suspiciously like a hash pipe, and checking on the legality of marijuana in Chile, found that Chile has the highest per capita marijuana usage in Latin America. Perhaps that explains the number of people walking into me better than the population density.
How much produce does Chile send to the US? Some fruit, for sure, but I would imagine more than just grapes, since their growing season is during our winter season.
I wonder if gringos competing for their produce is why Chilean food is more expensive?
This is a good question. Argentina sends a lot of produce to the north as well and food costs are not significantly inflated. I think Chile has a stronger economy. Perhaps it is related to the relative affluence vis a vis its neighbors.
Charlie, I want to Thank you and Paula for sharing your trip with us. The pics. are beautiful. Have fun and be safe on your adventures.