Thursday, February 21, 2019

South America 2019: Trip Notes # 13

South America 2019: Trip Notes # 13

Following our "Good-Bye's" to Lynn and Artie and to new friends that we met while on the ship, we had to figure out how to get to Santiago - about a 90 minute drive from the port. 

The ship's tour department was very happy to charge us a flat fee for $400. Taxis would charge about $200. By asking some local people on the dock, we discovered there was an upscale local bus (with about three stops) that would take us into town for $16. 

Within a minute of arriving at the bus terminal, we found a taxi that took us to our hotel for $10 (including a nice tip). Quite a savings. 
Central Bus Terminal - Over 50 Buses Were Coming And Going

Santiago is a town that kept us busy for three days. There were many hi-lites. The best of the best was a Pre-Columbian museum. Never have we seen so many wonderful pieces that (at the newest) would range from 500-1500 BC. 

 This Guy Is About 4 Feet High 

 Miniature Figures

 Link To Asia?

There was a museum room filled with beautiful and intricately designed clothing and ceremonial items such as headdresses and capes - all made from feathers. Unfortunately, picture taking was not allowed.

Below the museum is a large room - sort of like a "vault"  in a sub-basement. There is an exhibit entitled - "Chile Before Chile!" There were items thousands of years old. Some of the pieces "connect" with the Easter Island and other Polynesian inhabitants. 

These Statues Are Carved From Wood
Compare Their Sizes To Jerry's Height 

  Jerry Was Able To Take Pictures Of This Piece As Well As The Items Below


 This Fellow Got The "Ugly Stick!"

For those that are interested, Jerry has many more pictures which can be forwarded in a different email.
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Santiago has its own "White House. However, in this case, it's a palace - Palacio de la Moneda. Similar to Britain (Buckingham Palace), there is a "Changing of the Guards" ceremony. Palace tours are permitted. We could not get tickets - needed to plan many months in advance.
  Band And A Group Of Guards March Toward Palace
 Another Guard Group March Out Of Palace
 Horse Guards

 Palace Guards Use A Flag Standard Similar To what Nazi's Used When They Paraded

 Women Police and Woman Guards Must Grow Hair Long and Put In a Bun
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Below the palace are several art and exhibition galleries. There was a  "horse-related" exhibit that we found quite interesting.

A Rather Elaborate Saddle

 Silver Stirrups

 Fancy Leather Saddle
Room Partition Panel And Panel Close Up

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Outside of town is a "Handicraft Village" - the site where Santiago began in the 1500's. 

There is a typical church but more important, there are >100 small artisan shops where visitors can buy items that are actually made on-site. 

Although much less commercial or touristy, this park reminded us of Olvera Street - the site where Los Angeles began.
A small stream wandered through the area and there was a typical (but small) plaza where visitors could gather for a drink or a bite to eat. 

 While waiting for Uber to pick us up, Jerry made friends with Noah. 

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Bellas Artes Museum - Beautiful building. Limited collection. Central theme for most of the canvasses was "political." - down with capitalism, up with communism. Also, most of the pieces were "dark" - not only the nature of the piece but the colors chosen by the artist.
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Our hotel was centrally located enabling us to walk or take a short (low cost) taxi ride providing a quick and concentrated overview of the city.
Many Pedestrian Zones

There was a downtown  meat market. The beef and chicken was being sold so quickly that the market staff simply "dumped" (from large boxes) replacement products into the cold meat case. There was no time to make a pretty presentation with the meat and chicken  
This Picture Represents 1/4 Of The Counter Size 

Day and night - Every street has sidewalk vendors - and, the locals are actually buying the items.

Food vendors are everywhere.
 Jerry Buys Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

 Vendors Cook Meat, French Fries And Other Items In Oil
Hot Pot And/Or Stove Inside shopping Cart
   Several Mobile Shoe Shine Vendors On Every Block

  Not Uncommon To See This Type Of Vehicle Drive In City
Vehicle Has Many Dents From Impact Of Thrown Bottles, Rocks and other Projectiles

 Broken tiles and cement and many open holes are scattered throughout the city streets and sidewalks. Pedestrians really need to be careful when walking on sidewalks.

 Food Deliveries Are Now Common

 Jerry Finds More Interesting Manhole Covers

Every intersection has the typical "Walk - Don't Walk" signals. There is one big difference with the Santiago signals - they are all separately timed based on the amount of traffic at that particular intersection. 
For instance, the "Walk" signal might be for 60 seconds at one street and 15 seconds at another. Also, there is a graphic or figure that "walks" slowly until the signal is about halfway through the cycle. Then, the graphic speeds up to the point that the figure "runs" the last few seconds.
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The central park (Plaza de Armas) is picturesque. Besides the pretty foliage, the make up of the locals at the plaza range from businessmen eating lunch on a park bench, a want-to-be minister touting a bible passage, homeless sleeping on the ground, tourists and some heavily made up women what we feel were prostitutes.

As in most Catholic cities, typically there is a cathedral near a central park. 
Music During Services Was Quite Nice

 Churches Are Everywhere

From an architectural perspective, Santiago's buildings can be separated into three categories: old, rundown structures that are probably 50 - 75 years old, ornate or classic buildings that were built between the late 1800's through the 1950's (much like we would see in Washington DC) and ultra-modern buildings uniquely designed with a lot of glass and metal.  


 Apartment Building


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We were surprised to see so much emphasis about Easter Island, the Polynesians and the indigenous people

  Contemporary Interpretation Of Easter Island Statues

 More "Conventional" Interpretation Of Easter Island Statues 
Outside Our Hotel

Having the correct power plug or adapter is always important. At our hotel, the 220V plug is thinner than the typical European 220V plug and, in some cases, there was a need to use three pins rather than the typical two-pin plug.

Required A Little Ingenuity

There is an upscale neighborhood (Lastarria) near our hotel. It is a  tree-lined semi-pedestrian zone area with outdoor cafes, great (local/typical) food and very affordable prices. We had delicious empanadas, a large bowl of salmon ceviche  and a fruit drink for $25. 

By 8:00 PM, the streets were filled with locals and their pet dogs
Chileans love dogs.
Urban dogs are leashed - Small town dogs run free. They are neutered, get shots and are fed - Chilean dogs have a good life.

Restaurants Use Recycled Material For Utensils

Quick Santiago Anecdotes:
  • Significant amount of locals are blind, missing limbs, are "little people" or have other physical issues
  • Even with traffic, drivers are calm - no honking. Emergency vehicles use "flashing lights" - no sirens
  • Locals seem to be "chunky" - not as slim as in other areas. Lots of fast food restaurants
  • Few women wear high heals - we did not see any manicure shops. Few women use nail polish
  • Many tall buildings have attached outside emergency escape ladders due to earthquake issues i.e. elevators won't work, etc.
  • Few, if any, designer tennis shoes are worn - most tennis shoes are basic
  • There are many small, urban parks with swings, slides and other fun devices for children living in apartments
  • Taxis are inexpensive
  • Many people smoke - all ages
  • Lots of drug use - addicts sleep on the streets - locals go about their business - police or other agencies do not seem to do anything about the situation
  • If we had more time, we could have spent another day seeing and doing
  • Many "hole in the wall" inexpensive restaurants 
  • Met a couple on the ship that recently traveled to New Zealand. They were seriously interested in emigrating if Trump would be re-elected. They were denied for two reasons. Too many Americans were already applying and candidates had to be under 40 years old.

 A Souvenir

We Passed  A Beached Ship In a Fjord
Wreck Caused By Miscommunication
Question: "Captain, Should We Turn Left?"
Answer: "Right!"
This Lead To Standardizing "Port" and "Starboard" Nomenclature 

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Our ship would have to get supplies whenever/where ever possible. Ship handed out bottled water when going on a tour. Our water came from South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, etc. (We did not go to South Africa on this trip).

This was a fun, action-packed trip. We learned a lot - As always, "Our Bags Are Packed" - We're ready to head off for another adventure. 

                               Final Approach To LAX - Local Mountains

"Breaking" News!!!

 Fall On Ship = Foot Fracture

What Are The Odds Of:
Two Friends On The Same Trip At The Same Place Each Having An accident Resulting With A Fracture? 

Sadly, The End