A Travellerspoint blog

On to Peru

First stop Lima

sunny 24 °C
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Day 4

Awake at 3 Am for 3.30 pick up to Airport .. negotiated security Ok .. and started a fridge magnet collection of the countries I have been to with Chile.

Met up with Steve and Linda from NZ who I had met earlier and were on the same flight, but connecting to a Cuzco flight. Nice to catch up and share experiences, they went on a private Valparaiso tour but unfortunately the guide was really only the driver and spoke limited English, they were really just driven around and told 'get out good photo" with no real explanation unlike our guide on a large tour who gave plenty of information.

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Landed in Lima and the drive to the hotel in a plush suburb the holds the golf club and embassies was an eye opener! dranamatic driving tactics .. streams of minibuses picking up locals on the road into the city tooting horns to warn of arrival and lane change. No pedestrians dared walk on a pedestrian crossing as no-one was stopping.

The hotel again seems very well appointed, I wanted a bit of comfort especially in South America where I would struggle with the language and am definitely getting that. Only problem is the national pass time of tooting the horn and a particular road that goes past the hotel is where two traffic flows merge sounds like there are a lot of close calls. Also car alarms of various parked cars seemed to be set with a low tolerance because they were going of with traffic flowing past. so no daytime snooze.

Went for a walk around the emabssy area - but no organised tour. Plenty of that to come.

Had a few Cerveza in the hotel bar and met a couple from Torquay who would probably be in Cuzco at the same time and hotel and a Guy from Vancouver who was a mining engineer who passed on some handy tips for Cuzco etc. He had fond memories of NZ from a trip and also watching NZ win the World Amateur Golf Tournament at his course in Vancouver storming past the yanks after being 7 shots at the start of the final day.

Posted by Midworlder 21:02 Archived in Peru Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Santiago Day 3

sunny 26 °C
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Santiago Day 3

Valparaiso & Vina del Mar full day tour .. took us an hour to exit Santiago for the 80 minute drive to Valparaiso as the Santiago Marathon meant every street the driver wanted to use was closed, this compounded the fact the regular driver had slept in and we had to change two buses before leaving. Good natured chaos.

Valparaiso is a world heritage site .. a funky town, colourful houses and the home of the Chilean Navy, destroyed

Pablo Neruda's house Nobel Prize winning poet was the first stop. Built on five levels.

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A trip on the funicular was interesting more so for the american engineer with us who was almost wetting his pants in excitement

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Vina del Mar was realy only for an overpriced lunch and a look at the beach

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Back at 6.30 and time to negotiate the US Airforce personnel who were out on the large after a successful airshow, many had large unexplained bills with hotel (phone calls and drinks they had forgotten) so getting an early check out before the early morning trip was a mission.

As an aside the hotel is on Bernardo O'Higgins St - I found this an intriguing name and later found out O'Higgins was one of the leaders of the movement for Independence from Spain. His father was Irish but never married to his mother and left the family when Bernardo was very young. He hated his father I understand but took his sirname later in life because it was unique in the country purely for political reasons to stand apart from others

Posted by Midworlder 16:21 Archived in Chile Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Santiago - Day 2

Getting to see the city (through the smog)

sunny 25 °C
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The day starts of with a trip to the gym (needed badly) and breakfast in the hotel. Then a 1/2 day tour of the city - 4 people on this tour and it turns out there is a NZ couple who were on the same flight over. Linda and Steven had just finished University and travelling before jobs start they are spending a few weeks in South America Inca Trail then two months in Europe, including the ANZAC Day at Gallipoli (lucky them). Nice to hear a NZ accent so early in my trip and we are going to catch up tonight and have a drink and swap information.

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The tour itself was a little disappointing as far as views of the city from the mountain Cerro San Cristóbal accross the city were spoiled by the smog. Apart from that the information provided was very good and some of the city architecture and specially the visit to the Santiago Cathedral was very impressive, NZ is a very secular society but Chile has a very strong Catholic make up and there was strong sense of devotion at the cathedral.
Some other interesting sights and a good commentary.

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On a computer front used an external hard drive successfully for the first time, so making progress.

Posted by Midworlder 18:28 Archived in Chile Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Leaving New Zealand

on the road ... or plane in this case

sunny 26 °C
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The Journey begins ......

At 46 years of age a Banker and only the occasional overseas trip I have decided to take some time off and visit a few places in the world. I am going alone although I will be on tours here and there and hopefully catching up with friends and photography acquaintances along the way. South America is the first leg

Flight from Auckland to Santiago left on time at 6.35 PM, Friday and after a sleepless 11 hour journey I arrived at Santiago around mid-day on Friday !! TIme Travel !!! Magic what the International Date Line does.

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First impressions was the smog / pollution which is apparently is made worse by the proximity of the mountain range running alongside the city and leaving it nowhere to go. The heat seemed a bit oppressive we were told it was 24 C but it was a heck of a lot hotter than 24 C in Auckland. Lunch happens at 2 - 4 for businesses and shops close up. A
" No hablos espanol " will be used a lot, my phrase book will come in handy though. Hotel Crowne Plaza seems very suitable, staff are very helpful, apprently there is a large Air Show on this weekend as there would be over 100 US airforce staff staying in the hotel.

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Pizza & beer for a late lunch in the afternoon ... managed to score a free wireless connection (normally only dial up is free) for a day at the hotel and caught up with my FT friends

All in all good impressions of Santiago ... crime is low for South American standards and the people seem friendly, lots of beggars buskers and artists on the streets and at traffic lights though, but I have come from NZ so not surprising I notice it.

Posted by Midworlder 18:00 Archived in Chile Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

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