Chillin in Chile

Trip Start Jun 13, 2008
Trip End May 25, 2009

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

OK, so we finally got on a bus to Santiago in Chile... it took some doing though because when we first got there, they told us there were still no buses... it turned out that wasn't the case though, and we managed to get a bus that morning, that went straight to Santiago, give or take an hour or so at customs...

Having arrived, we made our way straight to La Casa Roja... so many people had recommended it to us on our travels that we reserved a place for ourselves in advance and were delighted to find a massive TV room with a gas heater and big sofas... time for a nice little rest... followed by a visit to the adjoined bar...  Within minutes, we found 3 unsuspecting victims to play the Ring of Fire with us... one of which ended up in the pool... he was not pleased (It's pretty cold here at night!).

The next day me, Tom and Charlie (a lovely English lad we met at the hostel) made our way to another winery to take the tour and try the wine...  This one we actually recognised... the bottle is really familiar and I know I've drunk it in England a few times... the vineyard is called Concha y Toro and one of their wines if called 'Casillero del Diablo', or 'the Devil's Cellar', the reason being that when the first owners stored wine in the cellar, locals kept stealing bottles, so they spread a rumour that the devil lived in the cellar... and it worked, people didn't steal wine from there any more... genius, eh?

The tour consisted of us being shown around the grounds, which had been modelled to look like a Victorian English garden, tasting two wines and again being told about how to sniff and taste each sample, and being locked in the Devil's Cellar in the dark, while listening to a recording of said devil explain to us why he lived there... I found it pretty amusing that the happy, chirpy introductory film we watched with people smiling and enjoying their wine was narrated by a cheesy sounding American voice, while the devil was, of course, English... ;)

After the tour, we went into the cafe there and tasted a couple more wines, and had an appetiser to fill the void.... It was a lovely afternoon, and by the end of it both Tom and I were feeling ever so slightly merry...!!

The next day me, Tom and our new mates Charlie (Brit boy) and Brian (ma boy from North Carolina) visited the Bodies exhibition... it's going all around the world at the moment... it is sold as an art exhibition, but I thought of it as more of a science fair... The artist has taken loads of dead bodies, donated to art, and taken them apart to show the muscles, veins, arteries and so on... it was really, really interesting, and a good Spanish lesson too!

It was pretty freaky looking at dead bodies at first, but the novelty soon wore off... you almost forgot they were real people, until you noticed some bit of hair around the nostrils, or some other small detail that had been left behind... it was really surreal... The weirdest part was a series of jars with foetuses ranging from about 7 to 24 weeks old... crazy...  oh, and we also got to hold a human brain at the end... random...!

Our last day in Santiago was spent wandering around an area outside the main city with Brian, where there's a mountain/hill that you can get a great view from... but we arrived pretty late (due to me being hella-hungover) and opted to go to the zoo... I haven't visited a zoo for about 7 years (apart from when I did a bit of work for Bristol Zoo) because they generally make me cry... I can't handle them... but everyone told me how well cared for the animals in Santiago are, so I thought I'd give it a try... the zoo also leads up the same hill we were aiming for, so it felt like killing two birds with one stone...

We saw quite a lot... monkeys, polar bears, flamingos, penguins, seal (just the one :'( ), white tigers, elephants, giraffes, a hippo, zebras and a whole load of birds and other animals... but again, I had tears in my eyes pretty much the whole way round... I love animals and I loved seeing them in a lot of ways, but the overriding feeling for me was that most of them were depressed and shouldn't be there... I'm not condeming zoos because they do a lot of good work, but that was how I felt, walking around...

Anyway... to try and make up for that, Tom and I went back to the hostel and cooked a curry... SCORE! We found Pattaks curry paste in the supermarket near the art exhibition and make ourselves a killer prawn tikka masala... yummmmmm!!  That was followed by games galore...  We had a really good group of people going while we were in Santiago and we played Mafia/Wolf, which are both detective type games, and the Ring... Our last night in Santiago was a bit of a heavy one... one of the Irish lads, Harry, bought the bar out of beer as it was closing and announced that no-one would sleep til it was all gone... It was an awesome statement, until he started sleeping in a chair and then went off to bed himself... haha...

Oh yeah... as a small side note... I had to dye my hair again because it had gone a neon shade of orange... bloody fraggle!!  So Falex (Female Alex) dyed it for me... legend...!!

So anyway, Santiago was brilliant... pretty much a party town for us, but it a nice bit of culture thrown into the mix... and with the end of our visit to Santiago, came the end of the South American leg of our trip... I can't believe we've been going for six weeks already!

As always, more photos are available on Flickr: 
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
La Casa Roja
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