Arrival in Santiago
Santiago Travel Blog› entry 19 of 22 › view all entries
We were up with the alarm at 7:00, had breakfast in the Horizon Court and met the gang as planned at 8:30. Gus & Val and we went to the Horizon Court to wait it out while Frank and Pat stayed at the lounge on 7. Our color, “Gold 1”, was near the bottom of the list so we knew it would be a long wait. As with our trip to Alaska, booking the post-cruise program with Princess apparently gives a lower priority, not a higher one, for getting off the ship. Eventually we were the only people in the Horizon Court and, though the staff didn't bug us, we moved to the pool to get out of their way. It was after 10:30 when we got called for disembarkation. There was further delay because we had to take a shuttle bus to a terminal and then have our luggage scanned by dogs for agricultural products so it was after 11:00 by the time we got on the bus.
The good news was that we had an outstanding guide, Alex. The bad was that we shared the bus with a group of incredibly rude, overbearing, loud-mouthed New Yorkers (actually I think New Yorkers transplanted to Florida) who thought they were very special indeed. We stopped at a quaint roadside stop called "Los Hornitos de Curacavi" for lunch. Among the six of us, we had 10 empanadas, 4 glasses of wine, a glass of water and a glass of coke and the bill came to only about US$40...TOTAL! We were fortunate in that we were the first bus there and got tables and prompt service. By the time we came out, people were stacked up waiting to get in.
Alex was fantastic; both entertaining and informative yet the obnoxious New Yorkers had a discussion about tip for him and decided among themselves that $2 was appropriate! No wonder people hate Americans; I was ashamed to be associated with them.
We got to the hotel, the Grand Hyatt in Santiago, about 2:45 and, though most people got their keys, we did not because our room was apparently not ready. It was almost 3:30 when we got to the room and when I called for the bags I was told if I wanted them soon I'd have to come down and get them myself!
I called Franco and we agreed he'd pick us up at 9:00 for dinner, then called the others to give them the word that we'd not be joining them for dinner.
Having waited long enough, I went down and got the bags. The bellmen were helpful enough; they were just totally overwhelmed by sheer volume. The young man who helped me said they had checked out over 500 bags early this morning and were checking in almost 500 now.
I spent about an hour at the hotel's absolutely gorgeous pool. When I was returning to the room at about 6:30 I ran into my friend Jim from the Patagonia trip. I'd seen him in line when we were waiting for our keys yet he had just then gotten his! And I thought WE had a beef!
After I dressed for dinner I realized I was too hungry to wait until after 9 to eat so I went in search of a snack. Options in the hotel were sparse so I walked the 3 blocks to the huge mall, Parque Arauco, and after a search settled for some hot pretzels from "Mr.
Franco and Carola picked us up at a little after 9:30 and we went to a restaurant called "C" for dinner. C is a new fusion restaurant and was excellent. We had a fantastic time and a great meal. They did not have an English menu so ordering was challenge and a lot of fun. We shared abalone and razor clams for appetizers. For the main course I had duck while Lin had filet and both were excellent. Carola had said that Tom Jones had just appeared in Valparaiso and, sure enough, he was entering the restaurant as we left. We got to the room about 12:30.