August 6th - We were picked up by the taxi at 3.30am and made our way to the airport. We checked in quite quickly and our bags were checked all the way to Santiago which we were pleased with so we didn't have to collect them when we arrived at Sao Paulo. The flight to Sao Paulo took 2 and a half hours and we arrived about 8.30am. We were hoping there might be an earlier flight we could get to Santiago but were disappointed there was not so we had about an 8 hour wait at the airport. We were very bored but it was a massive airport so we did lots of window shopping and couldn't even read as we had finished our books and new ones in the airport were about 15 pounds! We had some breakfast and then some lunch and it was finally time to fly to Santiago at 4.
35pm. This was a 4 and a half hour flight but we were on a big new plane so had screens in the back of the seats with lots of tv programmes, movies and games so the time passed quickly. We arrived in Santiago about 8pm, having to put our watches an hour back, and waited for our baggage. Neil's backpack was one of the first out and we waited, and waited, and waited for Emma's until there was noone left from our flight waiting! We went over to a LAN desk and advised the lady that her bag had not come out. She checked the baggage system with the number on the label and advised us that the bag had not been transferred and was still in Sao Paulo! We had to accept it, and were given a reference number and were told that the bag should make its way on a flight to Santiago the next morning.
We left the airport and got a taxi to our hostel. The hostel was lovely and an amazing location, it looked right out over the main square, Plaza de Armas. The hostel was different to any we had experienced, it was on the 6th floor of an apartment block and was really well laid out, in an open plan style with most of the bedrooms in the middle with a walkway right round the outside, there were also two balconies overlooking the square. We thought we'd just pop out to have a quick look around, and immediately felt at ease that it seemed so much safer than what we had got used to in Brazil. We had been told that one of the things we must do in Santiago was to try a 'Completo' which is a hotdog loaded with guacamole, ketchup, onions, salsa and mustard. Luckily right below our hostel was an enclosed alleyway which we decided to name 'Hotdog Alley' and there must have been 30 - 40 hotdog stands and restaurants along there, Neil was overjoyed! We chose one and ordered two completos and a bottle of coke and it came to about 1 pound 10p, they were great!!! We then went back to the hostel for a well deserved sleep.
August 7th - This morning we had a bit of a lay in and then decided to do the walk around the city which the Lonely Planet Guide recommends. As Plaza de armas was half way round the route we started from there and did the second half of the walk first. We walked across the Plaza and saw that there was a crowd of people gathering round a man. We went over to see what was going on and stood at the back of a 6 deep row of people...straightaway neil got picked on by the man saying 'hey you', everyone then turned round and looked at Neil and we quickly walked off. He then started calling 'where you from? come back' He then had the full crowd in laughter...not sure what he said as it was spanish! One of our first stops on the walk was 'el rapido' an empanada cafe, and it was packed full of workers on their lunch break.
The lonely planet guide said you should try an empanada, and we had been told by other people as well that they were good...and they were the best we'd ever had!!! From here we walked passed some government buildings and other city sights, as we were quite tired we left a couple do to another time as it involved walking up lots and lots of steps!! The walk then took us back to Plaza de Armas and we went back to the hostel before going out later and finding a nice restaurant for our dinner. We couldn't find a single bar anywhere which was quite annoying!
August 8th - Emma's bag had still not arrived so the receptionist at the hostel phoned the airline for us but they couldn't really tell us when or what was happening with the bag. Neil had lent Emma some clothes to sleep in and a jumper to wear as it was chilly in Chile, and we went out and had bought a toothbrush, shampoo and other toiletries.
Today we decided that we would go and visit the main shopping centre, the biggest in South America. We got the metro there which was really efficient and clean. The shopping centre, Parque de Arucao was lovely with loads of shops as well as an outdoor street with loads of shops, bars, restaurants, a cinema, a bowling alley etc, Santiago seems to be the nearest to a 'Western' city that we had seen in South America - there was even a Topshop! We walked around for a couple of hours and we accomplished the mission we had come for - Emma treated Neil to a pair of trainers for his birthday and then a Chile football shirt as well to complete his South American set! We had some lunch and then headed back on the metro to our hostel. This evening we got some wine and beer and sat in the hostel and chilled out, Neil was very impressed with the Chilean beer and Emma tried a local wine and about 10 o'clock Neil heard a voice in his head calling him to 'Hotdog Alley' and not wanting to say no, went down and tried an 'Italiano' which was similar to a 'Completo' but with chunkier guacamole, fantastic! We then just watched a film and went to bed.
August 9th - This morning we made it to breakfast which was included in our rate as we had to check out at 10am. We tried the airline again who told Emma that her bag was on the 1pm flight from Sao Paulo and that she should pick up her bag from the airport when we went tonight. Emma was missing her backpack now and was looking forward to changing her clothes! Our flight was not until 11pm so we went back and finished off the sights we had missed on the lonely planet walk. We walked up the Santa Lucia archway, at the top you could see all of the city and the surrounding snow capped mountains. It was pretty but quite misty caused by the 'Santiago smog'. We then visited some markets and made our way back to plaza de Armas.
On the way back we saw the famous "Legs Cafes' which are for business men and all the waitresses wear very very short skirts. We then waited at the hostel for a couple of hours until our taxi came at 7.15pm to take us to the airport. Our flight wasn't until 11pm but we wanted to check in early to get good seats and to get Emma's bag. We went straight to Lan's left luggage office and the man said that Emma's backpack had been sent to the hostel!! We were not happy as it was the airline that told us on the phone earlier to collect the backpack from the airport. He then radioed the driver and told him to bring the backpack to the airport, which would take about an hour. We were still waiting for the bag at 9.30pm, it finally arrived and we went to check in.
We asked if we could have exit seats because of the trouble that we had had with our luggage and they told us they would confirm it at the gate if we could. We went through and were happy when it was confirmed that we had exit seats. We then got on the flight which was on time and were happy that we had lots of leg room as we had a 13 hour flight infront of us.