January 05, 2009 GMT
Santiago/Valparaiso

Arrived at Santiago Airport 5:30 AM, 31st of Dec. Got through customs with no problems in about 45 min. Rental car place was not ready for me till 7:00, but were happy to tell me they had upgraded me to a 4X4 pickup at no charge. The problem was that the 4X4 pickups are two seats and 5 foot bed. Took till 9:00 to get this solved and get the right truck.

Truck has a portable GPS unit which helps a lot, punched in coordinates for HD dealer in Santiago and was there by ten. Got phone numbers, contacts and the obligatory shirt. Friendly people in the shop but only one had good English. I then started to look for a hotel where I had not got much sleep last night. Got lost at least a dozen times not finding anything that was not more than I wanted to spend so I headed out of the city toward Valparaiso (105 k) but traffic was horrendous due to the holiday and everyone heading to the beach for cooler weather. So I turned off toward San Antonio but it is a sea port and not set up for turists. Did find two Motels along the way but they charged by the hour. Ended up circuling around back to Santiago and getting a hotel room down town.

Santiago is a big city (14 million) and has a lot that looks like New York City but it also has some slum areas.

Arrived at Santiago Airport 5:30 AM, 31st of Dec. Got through customs with no problems in about 45 min. Rental car place was not ready for me till 7:00, but were happy to tell me they had upgraded me to a 4X4 pickup at no charge. The problem was that the 4X4 pickups are two seats and 5 foot bed. Took till 9:00 to get this solved and get the right truck.

Truck has a portable GPS unit which helps a lot, punched in coordinates for HD dealer in Santiago and was there by ten. Got phone numbers, contacts and the obligatory shirt. Friendly people in the shop but only one had good English. I then started to look for a hotel where I had not got much sleep last night. Got lost at least a dozen times not finding anything that was not more than I wanted to spend so I headed out of the city toward Valparaiso (105 k) but traffic was horrendous due to the holiday and everyone heading to the beach for cooler weather. So I turned off toward San Antonio but it is a sea port and not set up for turists. Did find two Motels along the way but they charged by the hour. Ended up circuling around back to Santiago and getting a hotel room down town.

Santiago is a big city (14 million) and has a lot that looks like New York City but it also has some slum areas.
Santiago_City.jpg
Santiago

Santiago_Cuba.jpg
Plaza in central Santiago, Big Cathedral on the left, note "Cuba" in back ground. A Cuban band was setting up to play, celebrating 50 years sence revolution.

Must have walked ten miles a day around Santiago and unlike Mexico, Guatemala or China, everyone is very respectable of your space with no one ever trying to sell you something you do not want.

On Saturday I headed out of the city, (not a big city fan) for Enzo and Martina's place in Valparaiso. This is not a small city but I can tell much more where I am with the Bay to West and hills to the east.
Valsp_Harbor.jpg
Valparaiso harbor, the house I am in sits high up on one of the hills overlooking the harbor.
Valsp_Hamburger.jpg
Big Mac is nothing compared to this hamburger I got down town, was something over 8 inches with three patties of meat.
Valsp_Asodo.jpg
Enzo cooking "carne da vaca" Asodo

There are three moto riders from the USA here getting ready to ship home (San Francisco). Also to from Germany and I think another just got here. Had problems with paperwork today (Monday) should be fixed tomorrow and I can get on the road.

Valsp_Esindor.jpg
Bruce and Joe from San Fransisco (and me behind the camera riding up the cable car

Valsp_Esindor2.jpg
Cable car unit to haul people up the hill, there are six of these in Valparaiso still running. Costs 300 CP (40 cents)

Valsp_House.gif
The House I am staying in is just below this one and built in 1906. These were grand houses when built and some are well maintained/restored.


Posted by Robert Thode at January 05, 2009 04:45 PM GMT
 


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