Santiago (without the fingerprinting)

Trip Start Jul 02, 2009
Trip End Jun 28, 2010

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Flag of Chile  ,
Sunday, October 18, 2009

On my previous visit to Santiago I'd got fingerprinted and had only returned to my lodgings at seven in the morning.  The very polite officer who did the fingerprinting said that it was purely a civil matter and that I could return to Santiago anytime that I wanted to.  So, just over four years later, I did.

The weather this time round was a huge improvement on the earlier visit when it never stopped raining.  The first action was to organise my visit to the north of the country and I cursed myself for not having my camera to hand when the only opportunity to photograph Chilean soldiers (coal scuttle helmets and all very, very Werhmacht) presented itself.  I would later make the journey to Escuela Militar where I was unable to spot a single coal scuttle helmet.   I was gutted!

A couple of days after getting into town, I went north visting Iquique (see blog) and Arica (see blog) and did a day trip to Valparaíso (see blog) soon after returning to Santiago.   I didn't take a lot of pics in Santiago.  You can see the snow-cappped Andes from the city but once you get to somewhere with a view you're likely (as I did on Cerro San Cristóbal) to find the air quality quite poor. These pics should give you an idea of what I'm talking about and I'm looking forward to a clear, photo-friendly day next time I'm in town.

One special memory of visiting Santiago was doing a talk at the scarily-named  Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and I was greatly relieved to learn that there was not to be an auto-da-fé at question time.  The talk had its origins in a facebook group that I help to look after.  Just before doing a similar talk at USP in São Carlos, I'd sent a message to all members to see if anybody was interested in attending.  I got a reply from a scientist (who runs perhaps the only Medicinal Chemistry facebook group in South America) in Santiago asking if I was going to be passing through.  I needn't have worried about the auto-da-fé either since the everybody was very friendly and they took me out for an excellent lunch. 

If LAN loses your luggage and you're wondering what's happened to it then check out the luggage art at Santiago's airport. 

Then it was off to Easter Island.  I'd been in South America for a day short of four months and had managed to avoid the Andean Gorge Plunge Experience.  I'd not been bitten by animals (the bats carry rabies and drink blood as part of their normal diet) or insects (the barbeiros can give you Chagas).  Most importantly, I'd not added to the Chilean database of fingerprints.  It really had been a blast! 

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