Trip Start Apr 02, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Chile  ,
Friday, May 23, 2008

We spent an extra four days in Mendoza as the Chilean border was closed due to snow. Everyone in Savligiano Hostel was waiting to cross the Andes to Santiago, so we all got to know each other pretty well! By the fourth day Grechy and I had enough and decided to go North to Salta.Two hours before our bus was due to leave, the Chilean border opened, so we bought another ticket to Santiago. Andesmar Bus Co. messed us around a bit so we went with another company called CATA (Arg $55). The journey took 11 hours, itīs meant to take 7. The border crossing took three hours. When we got out to have our bags checked the sniffer dog stuck his head right into my backsack. Throad Lozenges. Grechy had a great laugh at the shock etched across my face. We eventually arrived in Santiago and it was lashing rain..itīs been a while since we had a īwelcomeīrain shower (a bridge south of the city got washed away that night!). It took us a while to flag a taxi (CHP $5000), we eventually got to Bellavista Hostel at 1am. Our room is on the top floor of an adjoining building. The Hostel is really nice, good internet and thereīs a good gang staying here.
The city of Santiago is a welcome surprise. We expected an absolute dive as most people we spoke to said it wasnīt worth the trip, that it was crap basically. But, you canīt beat reverse psychology, we like it. Itīs cosmopoliton, there are lots of markets, restaurants and bars, they play chess in the squares and thereīs street entertainment. A huge amount of stray dogs too mind you, but īgood looking onesīas Michael pointed out! 
We went out with a gang from the Hostel last night and met the locals who tried to teach us to Salsa. I stood on feet, Grechy stood on mine, but apart from that, Santiago isnīt all that painful. Two days and two nights here is probably enough though!
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