Carolyn Broadwell - Travel Tidbits - Dec 2003 - Jun 2004

Monday, March 01, 2004

Santiago, Chile

Well, it's time to bring you up to date on where I am... Santiago, Chile. It is familiar, as I was here last year, and am in the same hotel. When I checked in, and gave my name, she brought me up on the computer, and I didn't even have to re-register.

I think the last update I did was on Buenos Aires, with a few impressions of the city. It stays in my memory as one of the most wonderful cities I have visited, ever! That is the way I felt the first time I was there, and it's still my feeling.

Before arriving, I had heard and read a lot of warnings about various scams that tourists might experience, as well as crime, etc. But most of the recent visitors I met had said they felt very safe while there. So did I...until the last day, when Miguel arrived home with the story of a robbery of a tourist he had just witnessed! He and another bystander had been diverted by a motorcycle rider making some comments, and then the two men who committed the robbery made their get-a-way on that motorcycle! Miguel said he was glad I was leaving, so he wouldn't have to feel responsible anymore. That of course was said in jest, but it did give us all a pause in thoughts about the city.

I think I described the food, the main avenida, and maybe a little more. What I don't think I mentioned was the grandeur of the city. Everything is on a very grand scale! And there is lots of space. Many of the streets are much wider than one usually sees in most cities. I could go on about Buenos Aires, but it would get pretty lengthy to read, and I do want to at least mention two more things before I get to Santiago.

From BA I took the us to Mendoza, best known as the center of the wine industry in Argentina, and also as the starting point to visit, and/or climb Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the western hemisphere. It is also a very beautiful city. Although it is very large, it is low and spread out, and didn't give am impression of size. The streets in the center are all lined with trees, and along the edges of the streets were something I associate with the middle east! Joobs! (These are sort of narrow chanels or small canals a foot or more deep with water in them.) However, in Teheran (where we lived in the early 1960s), they were a method of delivering water to homes, and here I think they were designed to carry runoff when it rained. They were nice, though, with the sound of water running by. The trees completely arched over the streets, making almost everywhere quite lovely and shady. Sidewalks were very wide, and walking, which is mostly what I did, was a real pleasure.

I had wine with one meal (I only ate one dinner out). The wine menu was long; maybe 20 or more wineries on it, with many offerings from each winery. Since I had nothing to go on, I decided to go for price, and the most expensive 1/2 bottle of red wine was slightly over $3.00! It was called BorgoƱa (a tilde over that N), which I haven't heard of before. (Has anyone else out there?) And it was wonderful! I had it with a parilla (the selection of a variety of barbequed meats), side dishes, delicious salads and desserts, all in a "tenedor libre" restaurant, which means what we would call buffet style and serve yourself.

I could also go on about Mendoza, but again, it would be almost endless, and I do want to mention the trip across the Andes mountains! That was spectacular, with the mountains being quite bare, colored all shades of red to brown to black, tumbled striations and boulders everywhere, and topping this landscape, very high mountains covered with blindingly white glaciers and snow! There were patches of greenery along some of the rivers, but it was really much more desert like in appearance even then. And on the Chilean side, it was really a steep descent. Then it really turned to desert, with cactus to complete the scene. So dramatic! The whole trip, including border formalities, took about 7-8 hours. I am so glad I did that!

Most of my time in Santiago has been re-packing and re-plenishing my supplies for the upcoming boat trip. But I also met a young Norwegian couple as we arrived in Santiago, and we've had dinner together each evening (2 so far, with one planned for tonight, also).

The friends one meets traveling sure make the travel even more interesting, and some (some of whom are getting this update) remain friends (I hope) the rest of my life.

I'm off for now, to collect my laundry, repaired shoes, and other miscellany still to be taken care of.

Regards to all,


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