Trip Start Feb 03, 2006
59Trip End May 09, 2006
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MILES: flying 8517, bus 780, taxi 43, walking 82, ship 9656, Zodiac boat 22
total: 19,100 miles
The road trip from Valparaiso on the coast to Santiago is about 100km. Chile is a very interesting country, geographically. It is as tall, as the U.S. is wide, yet Chile is only 150 miles wide at its widest point. It is like a long french fry (don't ask me why I thought of that...) Chile has been very isolated in its history, in part because of this geography. One the west the country is bounded its whole length by the Pacific Ocean. And on the east, the Andes run the entire length north to south
Today Chile is the most stable, definitely the safest, and probably poised to be the most properous country in S. America. My initial impressions when arriving in Santiago was how much it reminded me of the U.S., in a positive way. Their roads and freeways are well maintained, their cars are newer, they have great public transport, there are new high rises going up all over town. With the exception of language, I felt very much at home here. Plus, they have their share of beautiful older buildings (the city was founded in the 1500's, making it much older than our cities).
From my hotel, it is very easy to get to the subway, head to downtown, and walk the city. One negative, at least for us, is that their prices are very similar to ours, as opposed to Argentina and Uruguay that were just outright bargains. Each day I have spent here, I have enjoyed the town more, lots to see, and easy to see it.