Long Day Getting to Hotel in Santiago

Trip Start Feb 17, 2010
Trip End Apr 15, 2010

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Flag of Chile  ,
Friday, April 9, 2010

We left Pucon at 6 am - ugh - I slept a good part of the morning.   We had a few pee stops and snacks stops.  People were eating hot dogs with guacamole.  Then in the early afternoon we stopped at a restaurant for lunch.  I had a nice salad with asparagus soup.  The scenery was varied- very misty with trees in the beginning.  The highway was named "route of the forests," or something like that.  There were sections of pine trees, poplar wind breaks, some mountains in the distance--areas of sugar cane, fruit trees, grapes--then came more industrial buildings.  Toll highways with very new, spiffy service plazas made their appearance.  The rest stop banos were fully equipped.  Mick had warned us that in Chile the people speak very fast.  He said if you ask them to speak more slowly, they don't.  I did notice that people in the snack bars spoke to us foreigners as if we understood what they they were saying, just as they would speak to regular Spanish-speaking customers.  In one of the snack bars, I was waiting for my hot chocolate until I realized that you needed to give your receipt to the drinks person in order to get your drink.  It did seem more complicated and this was the first time I had encountered such a process...except for the Mamuschka chocolate shop in Bariloche where you selected your purchase, went to a separate cashier to pay, and then came back to another counter where they handed you your very nicely wrapped packages.  But that reminded me of Soviet Russia and I assumed Mamuschka with its matryoshka doll motif had some strong Russian connection.

We drove almost 900 km to Santiago.  I really didnīt notice a lot
of earthquake damage although some of the others did.   We didnīt make it to
Santiago until dusk and had to drive around to get a parking space in the heavy
traffic for quite a while.  It got dark in the process.  We then had to unload all of our stuff quickly on the sidewalk across the street from our hotel because
the truck couldnīt really park on the street.  When we got to our hotel, we found
our bookings had been messed up and we had to go to another hotel...dragging all of
our junk...about 4 blocks away.   None of us were happy. this.   The Best Western is a
nicer hotel but we were supposed to go back to the other by noon the next day even though we
canīt get our rooms until after 2 pm.   What a mess.... 

We finally all got settled.  This was our final dinner together as a group so we had a special get-together where Sarah our poet laureate read a poem that had sections about each of us...and our little foibles.  The hotel made an exception and stayed open to serve us dinner in their excellent Indian restaurant that is lauded in the Lonely Planet guide.  It was a very tasty dinner....after all, we are into food!
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