Day 2 – Sydney to Santiago

Today was always going to be a long day, made even more so by the fact that we crossed the dateline. It started with a 6am (Sydney time) call from a id blocked number. I didn’t answer it. That may have been a mistake. After a quick brekkie in the hotel we toddled off to the airport for the next 16 hour leg of our journey.

On arrival we discover that the big notice board shows our flight CANCELLED. I thought I handled this set back quite well, but Kingsley thinks I was a bit more panicked than the situation required. We hot footed it to the appropriate gate and asked the man wandering about in uniform what was going on. He told us just to queue up and that an alternate flight had been organised. Crisis averted. There was some very good people watching while in the very, very, very long line.
One and a half hours later we reached the head of the check-in queue to be told by the man there that no, we weren’t on that flight, but that QANTAS had re-booked us on a direct flight and we should  hurry over it to the other end of the terminal.
Sure enough that was the case and we were checked in to the replacement flight without too much bother.
The new flight was due to leave an hour and a half later than the original, but without the stop off in Aukland we’d be spending four fewer hours in transit. Except that our new flight was subsequently delayed for a bit over an hour due to ‘aircraft positioning’ and the fact that the catering wasn’t done while they were waiting for the right position. 
No big drama and once aboard the flight was pretty painless. No cute little iPads this time, in seat entertainment only and not quite as roomy as the last aircraft but we managed to get a little bit of sleep and have arrived on the other side of the world feeling that yes, it does feel like 3 in the afternoon not 3am, which is an unexpected bonus. (I spoke a little too soon. Shortly after drafting this I had a ‘little lie down’. )
View of the Andes.

Santiago airport was no fuss and straight forward. It is well signposted in both Spanish and English. Australians and Mexicans still need to pay a reciprocity fee on arrival but the process was clear and efficient. Clearing customs likewise, though the guy who served us was a little ray of sunshine – not.
Having done a little bit of research before arriving we booked a shared transport with transvip for $10 USD each. I’m sure there were cheaper alternatives, but it was quick and saved us from the swarm of taxi drivers milling at the exit.
Finding out how to check into our apartment was harder. I had read about this online too, but hadn’t written myself any notes. After a bit of searching around we found the office hidden away on the 8th floor. The lovely girl doesn’t have much English and our Spanish is as close to non existent as to be the same thing. Even so, we managed to check in and use the fancy electronic keypad, reset the room are, shower and generally make ourselves feel moderately human again.
Observations on Santiago so far based on the plane’s approach and the transfer is that those mountains are quite amazing. It is summer here, but those peaks are still well dusted with snow.  The whole coast is rimmed with bright white beaches, or at least that how it looks from altitude. Inland everything was surprisingly green. Lots of fields crisscrossing the countryside like a patchwork quilt.
The up side of staying in an apartment rather than a hotel is that it removes the temptation to stay in and order room service. When we woke up from our nap at 7pm we had to hit the streets to get a lay of the land, some local currency and provisions. 
First impressions are that Santiago seems a very walkable city. At 7, and now getting close to 9pm it is still light and there are lots of families about in the streets and markets.
For those of you who know the adjustment period I had with crossing roads in Vietnam, this city could not be more different. There are traffic lights with pedestrian crossing signs at every street corner and everyone obeys them. The are nice wide pavements, albeit with a fair amount of repair work underway.
All in all, looking forward to a full day of exploring tomorrow, followed by a wine tour in the Casablanca valley on Monday.
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2 Replies to “Day 2 – Sydney to Santiago”

  1. CRJackson

    Good news about the rescheduled flight…. I would have been panic ridden….. Which means I would be very very quiet hehehe. We have a rule…… No room service….. That rule is only broken when Brian wants to ;p

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