10/22/10

Go Go Go Santiago!

Chi-chi-chi-le-le-le!!! (Chilean flag in the shared van ride from the airport)

Two weeks since those Chilean miners were freed from  beneath the earth, I find myself staring at the very capsule that dramatically brought them  back to the earth´s surface. Called the "Sphinx", this life-saver is Santiago´s most famous attraction today. There´s a long line of people wanting to take photos next to it, mostly Chileans still collectively high on national pride as they find themselves aligning with the belief that hope and prayers can indeed move mountains. The capsule is displayed right in front of the impressive Palacio de la Moneda, Chile´s official seat of government which surprisingly allows anyone to go close to it without security shooing you away like a stray dog.

I flew into Santiago without much jetlag thanks largely to the fact that it´s only an hour ahead of New York  in terms of time zone. It took almost 8 hours of overnight flight on Lan Chile to Lima, Peru´s capital city, for a scheduled stop-over. Normally, this flight I took wouldn´t have involved a plane change but due to operational reasons, we all disembarked and transfered to a similar Boeing 767-300 aircraft that brought us to Santiago, Chile almost three hours away. I really didn´t mind as it meant my legs were able to stretch and at the very least, I felt like I came back to Lima again even if  it´s only inside the airport terminal.

Palacio de la Moneda
The Sphinx
My $33-room at Che Lagarto hostel has its own receiving room

There were several options for me to go from  the airport to the Centro where my hostel is located. Officially designated taxis cost $28 dollars and being that I´m  strictly on budget, I went straight to the shared van counter which charged me $11. There were some waiting involved as the van - able to fit 7 adults - waited for other passengers. Lionel, a French guy traveling also alone, sat next to me and our conversation immediately went into typical backpacker mode - "where are you going next?" Before we knew it, I was being dropped off right in front of Che Lagarto Hostel where I will be staying. At $33/night, it´s the cheapest so far I found that offered a double bed with private bathroom.. (I´m  so over with shared bathrooms!).

Caroline, the very friendly front desk clerk at the hostel, told me right away that the miner´s capsule is here in the city. Now that´s some kind of ¨current events¨relic that got me excited. Fortunately, the Palacio de la Moneda is only a few minutes walk from the hostel.  Caroline gave me a map and merely followed the signs - and the people. It´s a Saturday and most Chileans are not at work so they trooped to where I was also headed and that´s where I found myself in the midst of many locals ogling at this piece of metal that´s seemingly more precious than gold.

15 comments:

  1. Denz, love the red door to your hotel room. And, oh, what a timely visit, huh.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice room...I like the red theme... red and white on bed. Especially the red double-leaf door

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are everywhere... non-stop travelling around the world?

    A very nice room for a backpacker ! :-0

    ReplyDelete
  4. damn... i will be visiting santiago next year :) cant wait

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ang galing! You saw that now world famous escape capsule habang mainit pa.

    ReplyDelete
  6. wow, you're travelling again. so envious. did you plan on going to santiago after the miners were rescued or is this trip planned before all these happened?

    i don't want to share bathroom with strangers, period!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Exciting timing for you to be at a place where people are celebrating their conquest. And that's how the powerful sphinx looks like in broad day light - wow!

    Love all the photos esp the second image and the last.

    ReplyDelete
  8. i love the last pic!

    now i want to go to chile!

    RON

    ReplyDelete
  9. wala ako masabi, dennis!
    you're trotting the globe almost every minute!
    so where's your next destination?
    and don't tell me in your post you're traveling on strict budget, ha ha ha! that's hard to believe. look at that lovely hotel room you got.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You're traveling much!

    By the way, that red door reminds me of my friend's house here in Abu Dhabi, as in super red ang theme nya. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. WHOA! reminds me of my dream house with flaming red front door!

    from Europe, balik South America na naman!
    la dolce vita in travel!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Whoa, the last time you were in the Baltic States, and now you're in Chile frolicking. What's your secret?

    ReplyDelete
  13. EL CALAFATE, ARGENTINA - I´m currently here in southern Patagonia. There´s no internet in the Chilean part where I went to and this hostel I´m staying at right now has only a couple of free computers for 30-minute use(I didn´t bring mine as I knew I´m really roughing it this time). Will be updating my blog and do my blog-hopping soon!

    MyGrisWorld,
    i even thought the miners won´t be rescued until december since that was what the news have been saying initially. it´s just coincidental.

    Mokong™,
    the red door really is eye-catching. i think that´s the color scheme for che lagarto, a hostel chain in south america, since the one i´m staying at in el calafate has a very red headboard!

    Sidney,
    i´m into my second che lagarto hostel here in el calafate and so far, the hostel exceeded my expectations. clean rooms, running hot water, free breakfast and very friendly staff - highly recommended hostel!

    fufu,
    there´s plenty to see in santiago but i bet you´re already reading on that. am just not sure though if the miner´s capsule will still be around as two cities are fighting to keep it.

    bertN,
    never expected to see it bert but something´s always happening when i´m in south america. i got into el calafate only to find out that the current president´s husband (who was previously argentina´s president) died while in this place. all argentinean flags are at a half mast this time.

    Photo Cache,
    this trip was meant to be done earlier this year but i ended up moving it to late october due to conflict in schedules. it turns out to be a good decision since the weather in patagonia has been very great so far!

    Rizalenio,
    it´s good to see something that´s quite as popular as the miners themselves hahaha! the long line of chileans really prove how this thing will become a popular museum piece.

    flip'n travels,
    yes ron, you and your partner ought to see and experience chile (and argentina). the southern patagonia is phenomenal.

    docgelo,
    i know people thought i stayed in a hotel but it´s actually a hostel. i booked a private room since i don´t want the hassles of a shared bathroom anymore. i´m currently in el calafate, argentina.

    witsandnuts,
    this is a trip that´s been at the top of my bucket list for years and when the opportunity came unexpectedly earlier this year, i grabbed it (though i had to postpone it to this time).

    RV Escat,
    patagonia has always been in my mind. i went to chile and argentina some years ago hoping that i could visit the southern parts of it and here i am - very happy to finally make it.

    Linguist-in-Waiting,
    no secret there hahaha! patagonia, especially the part that involves chile´s torres del paine national park, is an expensive destination but since i won in an auction earlier this year, that made the trip possible.

    ReplyDelete
  14. pards, i like the red door capture...nice elevation!

    ReplyDelete
  15. oh yeah super famous yang capsule na yan! life saver! nakakainggit!! puro travels sayaaaa! :))

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...