A 36 hour lay over to Santiago, Chile that brought me good wine, good weather, and good times.
Arriving in Santiago, Chile— 36 hours ago was not on my list of things to do. But of course, having the incredible flight attendant mother that I do- it turned out to be our Wednesday afternoon activity. And I have to say, it has been a blast. Not only did I get to tag along with an awesome crew but got to fly down in style with a fabulous seat in first class. These seats are sick! They lay completely flat, and have a back massage! This is high-tech.
8 hours later after a few glasses of vino, we arrive.
First dilemma of the trip is at the airport. I get down to customs to buy my Visa for visiting the country ($140), and they tell me ALL the bills I have are unacceptable because a few of them had tiny rips in the top. If you ever go to Chile, make sure you either have acredit card or $$ that is in great physical shape!!
So after switching out my American dollars for Chillayan money, I go wait in line again. This time, I find out it has to be American money! Of course no one told me, they leave it up to you to read the small print. So I have to go right back up to the guy who changed my money for me and ask him for the 140$ back. Of course he gives me 127$ because it was a 13$ fee for exchange. I wouldn't usually be this frustrated, but I had no sleep on the plane and my mothers entire crew was waiting on a bus to go to the hotel. (Not to mention, I did not know how to find them)
So, after a few tears of frustration ran down my face, he ended up giving me all the money back. Problem solved. My next blog will be about- What tears will do to a man- (How to get what you want)
After that panic attack, and a wild goose hunt for my mom, we take the bus ride down the Costanera highway along the Mapocho River to the beautiful Shereton that sits in front of the outstanding Andes mountains. Gorgeous.
First things first, we need a nap. And by nap I mean 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
We wake up, grab Jerry, one of the crew members, and go on a God sent adventure. I think one of my favorite things about Santiago is the talented artists that reside here. From jewelry to paintings, shoes, hats, scarves, hippie-like accessories, clothing, crystals, wood carvings, music- to sculpture, architecture, and textiles. The work that people put into these hobbies is very admirable, being an artist myself.
This trip we took to the arts and crafts zone was quite the hike! Yet very lovely. The amount of stray dogs is heaping. It breaks my heart to see so many wondering around looking for food. I actually decided to name one of them. A very special one. ¨Chica." I figured she was cute and small and it fit for her.
Coming to South American countries is exciting because I get to practice the Spanish language! Not that I am very good at it, but being able to interact with locals is nice. It sort of breaks your fears of speaking out loud in a language not so natural to you. I had a conversation with a man that spoke no English, and it made me feel good about my broken Spanish skills. He understood the point I was trying to get across and I learned a little about him as well! He was a driver for the restaurant, (When people drink too much wine) and originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. He has lived in Chile for 15 years and loves it here. His name was Braulie. He told me I had beautiful round eyes. Nice guy!
The people here are a little hard to read. I would describe them as either very friendly, or very rude. I just feel like I have gotten a few weird looks That's just the impression I am getting. I'm sure there are people out there with a happy medium.
So after the trip downtown, we walked back to the hotel where we joined the rest of the crew for happy hour. Little did we know, happy hour lasted from 5pm to 4am. This group was definitely one of winners. I have to say, the time spent with them was well worth my 140$ visa. (That last for 8 more years)
We hit up a spot called Restaurant Mare Nostrvm. Very classy and RED. I could actually smell the paint it was so fresh in there. We managed to build a table for all of our party of 9 to sit at. It took 9 drunks and a waitress, but we did it!
Vino all around. White and red, Blanco y Rojo. Chile has a very nice selection. And by the 5th bottle, it didn't really matter the taste, red mouthed and gray teeth, we had a flat out great time. And mind me, I am the only one under 40.
We also had a round of gas water and sin gas water. That's water with gas and water without. As the night went on, I began to like the bubbly water. Made for a nice spritzer.
One thing that really surprised all of us, was the cold food. Not until the main course did it seem like they had any type of cooking utilities in the back. Cold mashed potatoes, crab meat, and lobster for a starter, some type of cheese and fish eggs with a cilantro dressing, salad, and to top it off, a SHOT of cauliflower soup. Cold. Muy frio. At this point it didn't matter if it was funny or not, we were drunk. Everything was hilarious. So you can see why cauliflower shots gave us a chuckle. Maybe you had to be there. Either way, the laughs accumulated more and more. Fabulous time had by all.
I will add, the main course of Chillayan Sea Bass was splendid. Topped with a tomato sauce and served with HOT mashed potatoes, my mom and I enjoyed it. And to end the wonderful meal-Flan. With caramel and raspberry sauce, it was dessert for champions. I was pleased!
Let's talk about the walk back. Wow, who would have thought old people were so fun! Just kidding… they aren't THAT old. The people of Santiago could probably hear our howling laughs miles away. Of course, having a few nuts in the group (Me being one of them) to ignite the laughter, had a lot to do with our drunk in public disaster. A disaster that lasted for a few more hours, as we fall into the doors of the hotel. (The ones that spin around of course. Making about 3 rounds in that small space of an entrance, we made it to the hotel bar where we ordered 2 MORE bottles of Vino. Old people can drink! haha, JUST KIDDING, they aren't that old.
As we stumble into the couches of the night, it looks like we are doing a team meeting and having a re-cap about what just happened. For some reason that's how I looked at it.
The bar soon moved out to the patio as we continued to obnoxiously joke around and make fools of ourselves. Matty, one of the flight attendants was cracking me up. She has the voice of a Cuban mixed with a belligerent New Yorker. Shes a nut. The troopers of the night had to be Matty, Jon, Mary, and I. Jon is also a character. His knowledge of wine, and other crazy information about who knows what was great. We must have laughed until 4-5am. The fun finally settled down as the patio closed and we made our way to the rooms.
Side note: I don't know if it was the city lights or the clouds, but I was disappointed in the stars. I used to dream as a child to see the stars in Chile. The internet told me they would sink down into my face. That didn't happen.
Next day, with plans of 10am mountain hike, did not happen. Instead, we woke up at 1, and decided to take a trip to the hotel gym. That was not bad! Sauna and steam room, made it like a trip to the spa! I am rejuvenated and think I will go make one more trip to the city to grab a shot glass to add to my collection. I found a few other souvenirs to bring home including a cute home made sweater for Ayden, my 2 month old nephew. I am very satisfied with the little piece of Chile I am taking home and can't wait to return!
Thank you Santiago, for a great 36 hour lay over.