Sunday, August 16, 2009

South America 2009 - Day 10 (8/16/2009) - Buenos Aires to Santiago

We took a taxi (arranged by the hostel) to the international airport around 8:30, and our flight to Santiago departed around 11:30. The rain that morning was the first that we had encountered during our trip - luckily, we were on our way out of town. After arriving in Santiago, we grudgingly paid the reciprocal entrance fee for Americans ($130) and then got through immigration and customs without issue. As we exited into the terminal, we were mobbed by taxi drivers offering us rides. One persisted, and we yielded when he offered us a price of C$10000 (the information from the hostel said that prices under C$15000 are reasonable - the exchange rate was about 540:1 relative to the US dollar). The driver had some trouble finding our hostel (La Chimba), but we eventually got there.

The hostel was not heated during the day, so it was quite cold inside. After settling in we headed out to find some food around 4 PM. We settled on a Chilean restaurant around the block, and the meal turned out to be quite good. I had some chicken maranera (which actually turned out to be a heavily stuffed chicken breast) with french fries, while Greg had a filet steak with rice. We also ordered some fried cheese and a couple of jars of freshly squeezed juice that ranks among the best I have ever had - one orange, and one orange-banana. We must have caught the tail end of the lunch crowd, as the restaurant was pretty crowded when we arrived, but had emptied out by the time we were finished eating at 5:30. After eating, we took a small loop around the block on foot - not much going on - before heading back to the hostel, where we stayed for the rest of the evening/night. During this time, we met a few people, including a couple of girls who work on South Park (the TV show) - they gave us some advice about Machu Picchu, as they had recently been there. We also decided to book a tour to Valparaíso and Viña del Mar for the next day, and planned to take a city tour of Santiago the following day (if the predicted rain was not too bad).

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