I arrived yesterday in Santiago de Chile. The flight was pretty good, however I couldn´t sleep at all. Flying into Santiago is pretty spectacular - the Andes are so close and go on for what seems like forever. I guess they are the longest mountain range in the world (*useful pickup at trivia last week*). So far the jet lag has been reasonably debilitating - I crashed as soon as I reached the hotel yesterday, and today a short nap turned into about 4 hours long, but I had a great morning wandering around the centro, visiting the Cathedral, and the boho district - barrio Bellavista, which was full of brightly coloured buildings, and contains Cerro San Cristobal, a hill in the middle of the city. I caught the furnicular to the top, and took in the impressive views of Santiago. It was an overcast day, but it was still a fabulous view of the city and the Andes.
The thing that gets you in Santiago is the constant sense of smog. From above you can see it just hanging over the city. The reason is due to the mountains, the winds can´t come in and blow the smog away, so it just hangs. Apparently this is the worst time of year for it.
I´m staying in Providencia, which is one of the nicer parts of town, plus there are some good restaurants and cafes. Last night I ate at a place called Bar Liguria, which is apparently a bit of a Santiago institution. It was great! Then tonight I had a pisco sour and a vino tinto along with my beef a la pobre (spanish for steak and chips). Either the pisco sour is a little potent, or I´m still getting over that jet lag. At least it´ll help me sleep tonight.
So far here in Santiago the most useful phrase has been ´poquito español´. I speak enough spanish to generally ask for what I want. The problem arises when I am asked questions about what I want. This is when the phrase comes in useful. It´s what you say when you can´t say anything else...
Photos to come when I can upload them.