Saludos from Santiago, Chile!
Trip Start Aug 26, 2007
40Trip End Jan 05, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I arrived last night and words cannot describe how excited I am to be here. This trip is not just a site-seeing vacation, but also a journey of self-actualization, personal insight and discovery, blah blah blah. Lofty goals, I know, but for those of you that have read "The Alchemist," I'm like the boy in search of the Egyptian Pyramids, but hoping to find more. For those that haven't read The Alchemist, go read it! There are no shortcuts in this travel blog.
Couldn't help but notice the big Customs' sign at the Santiago airport that points out that only 4 countries charge Chileans for entry into their territories (US, Canada, Australia and Mexico) and as a result their citizens have to pay a "reciprocity fee" when visiting Chile. Talk about eye for an eye! I happily paid my fee and proceeded to complete the required forms. It was the first time in 14 years that I completed a form that asked me for both of my surnames. That was exciting, considering I used to use both of my last names all the time circa 8th and 9th grade when I lived in the Dominican Republic. I completed my forms and headed for the hotel, so I could get some much needed sleep and start my journey!
My Hotel: Disclaimer from the Semi-Backpacker
Exploring Santiago by Car, Foot, and Teleférico
In typical semi-backpacking fashion, I passed up on the hotel's Santiago City Tour, which was out of my budget at $85 and instead opted for my own custom tour. Armed with my guidebook notes, I approached a taxi driver and he charged me the equivalent of $12 for an hour of his time, Chilean wit and funny stories included! During the orientation of the city, Mario, the driver, explained all of the Metro stops I would need to take, so I could go back and explore the sites in more depth through out the day. It was a perfect way to make sure I only spent time visiting places I was really interested in, given that I'm only in Santiago for 1 day.
San Cristóbal and the Teleférico
Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.
Something from far off: it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.
Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind
as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood-
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.