Trip Start Nov 05, 2006
Trip End Jan 14, 2008

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Flag of Chile  ,
Saturday, October 13, 2007

Santiago is Chileīs capital and largest city.   Despite this and all the cool things that a large, modern city has to offer, Santiago seems to get a bad rap from the travel boards.  Nobody considers it a bad destination, but rather a less desirable destination than the alternatives. 

We decided that we would base our visit to Santiago from an actual hostel.  This is a little out of the norm for us since it entails using shared bathrooms with twenty-somethings and being exposed to their late night tendencies through thin walls.  The reason for this decision is that Chile, and especially Santiago, is really expensive.  This is the best reason we found why people might not like it.  Hostel accommodations ran twice what hotel accommodations cost in the neighboring countries. Hotel prices were on par with U.S. prices.  Thus, the hostel was selected for our stay.  We were smart enough to get a private room though so our exposure wouldnīt result in any late night, homicidal thoughts.  The hostel itself "Hostel Andes," is nice enough with an English speaking staff and a great location just across the street from a metro station. 

We set out to explore Santiago via the Lonely Planetīs walking tour.  Our tour took us through the major downtown sights and wound itīs way through the open market plazas.  One of our goals on the tour was to visit one of Santiagoīs "Cafeīs con Piernes," which literally translated means coffee with legs. These are not your normal cafes, but rather hide behind mirrored or smoked glass where espressos and cappuccinos are served by bikini clad waitresses.  Considered "normal" by the business crowd, and filled daily by business suits, these cafes also lend themselves as a unique, cultural experience.  Please note: visiting these places was Lauraīs idea.  Our choice was more of a Cafe con Piernes "light" where waitresses wore short skirts and leggings and limited their socializing to blowing kisses at the predominantly male crowd in the standing-only cafe.  The coffee was just o.k., and the eye candy was "aesthetically challenged" so I guess the lesson here is to go for broke or just stay in the family cafes. 
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