Tag Archive: Santiago

Thursday 21.05.15


Santiago (Capital Chile, population 8million)


Arrived yesterday evening at 22:00 shattered. It never ceases to amaze me how doing absolutely nothing sat on a plane can make one so tired. Anyhow, the first morning was spent “lozzing” but by the afternoon decided to dive out into the melee and take one of the 3 free city walks available to the visitor. We hooked up with our guide Alfonso, who would take our small group on a walking tour of the main points of interest within the city centre.IMG_0289


Public artwork in Santiago

Public artwork in Santiago

“Ahhh!!..Perchance to dream,…to rest, to contemplate the machinations of mankind on this mortal coil”




He explained that Santiago only really opened to the tourist market ten years ago, prior to that it was considered a tourism backwater. Its history is a study in Spanish colonial rule from the C16th century onward. Latterly brought to international notice by the despotic rule of the left wing socialist antics of Salvador Allende (1970-73) then the far right wing “Coup d’etat” led by General Augusto Jose Ramon Pinochet of a military Junta. The walk encompassed the various administrative centres built in the style of the early colonial Spanish powers which are visually very pleasing. Later we visited the student quarter where the story told by some students that when asked what they propose to do after exams they reply that they want to go to Oxford or Harvard. Studiously neglecting to say that these are the names of riotous bars downtown. There are also a number of Coffee Houses that boast service provided by extremely scantily dressed “hostesses” that serve “coffee only” during a 9-5 working day. The overall impression is of a society that takes life in its stride and is at peace.

The walk was supposed to be three hours, however due to Alfonso’s youthful enthusiasm, it lasted a good four hours plus an hours stop for a snack and chat in a local bistro. The walk as I said was free however, I thought it definitely warranted a discretionary payment as self evidently this was a practiced protocol. Besides the guy deserved it as he was everything one would want in a guide, attentive, courteous and informative.Friday 29.05.15 Arrived in Valparaiso after an hour and a half journey west from Santiago through a gap in the Andes mountain chain.Valparaiso is girdled with high hills set slightly back from the coast.

View over Valparaiso.

View over Valparaiso.

The topography is reminiscent of San Francisco. On first impressions, one is somewhat taken back with the state of atrophy that many of the buildings appear to be in. However, once one has spent a few hours wandering the streets and alleyways, a slow seduction of the senses takes place by the ambiance, the graffiti, shabbiness and ultimately a certain type of  charm that the environment engenders.

Tropic storm (Typhoon Pam) hit Vanuatu, a group of islands just to the west of Fiji yesterday. News reports say forty people were feared lost and wind speeds were recorded at 155mph. damage to property is extensive with almost ninety percent of homes impacted with structural damage. Bizarrely, the prime minister (Baldwin Lonsdale)of Vanuatu was away on a conference in Japan about disasters and their impacts.Here in Fiji the effects were less damaging, however the rain and windspeed increased dramatically and swiftly over a twelve hour period as the storm passed.certainly felt the power of a phenomenon that one had never experienced before. Quite remarkable and very disconcerting. 15.03.15 The storm now appears to have passed and is headed further south, to the north east of north island New Zealand.

View from NaNaNu-i-ru back to the mainland.

View from NaNaNu-i-ru back to the mainland.

27.03.15 Flew five and a half hours Jetstar back to Sydney. Left Fiji with mixed feelings. The people are wonderful and the outer islands are bliss. However, one is left with the sense of a tourist economy being “managed”, which isn’t really conducive for the purposes of independent long term travellers.

On a different note, we are flying back on an A320, five days after the German Wings flight piloted by Andreas Lubitz was deliberately flown into oblivion in the Southern Alps…..just a thought for the families of those people and what terrible agonies they must be going through.

Landed Kingsford Smith where number two daughter (Georgina) was kind enough to come out to meet us on arrival and drive us back to Bondi Beach. Had a good old natter and catch up, before “hitting the hay” for a relatively early night after a tiring day of travel.

31.03.15  Now begins a period of planning. The plan is to “Bunny Hop” across the Pacific Ocean,visiting islands along the way. A little daunting as there does not appear to be any integrated flight protocols for travellers wishing to make their own arrangements.One hopes to visit the Cook Islands, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Easter Island, finally getting to South America and making landfall in Santiago, Chile in May.

I do not think that it gets any better than this.

I do not think that it gets any better than this.

Monday 06.04.15 Sees the hustings gaining momentum for the UK general election. Interesting times. Endeavouring to make arrangement to vote remotely or through a third party proxy is proving somewhat time consuming but hopefully will get there in the end.

Friday 10.04.15 Having largely accomplished the task of figuring out flight connections and accommodation, all that remains of our stay in Australia is 10 days. Following which is a flight  to Aukland and then transfer to a flight to Rarotonga in the Cook islands.

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