The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 94-95, Vistas and Views

The following takes place on Tuesday, March 1 and Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The night before was an amazing time, one of the best nights I’ve ever had to be honest. It was definitely sad to say goodbye to Ben and to know that in one more day I’ll be the one saying goodbye. But what a way to send him off! And for those that are curious about the “incident” with the guard at the India Embassy. 3am, as we were walking by, the girls all decided they needed a cigarette and bummed a light off of the guard. Then Ben thought it would be a hell of an idea if he took his belt off and take turns wacking us all on the ass with it while the guard took photos.

Yeah. We were drunk.

I woke up with Stefan packing up his stuff as his girlfriend from back in Brazil was supposed to be arriving that afternoon and they had booked a different hotel to spend time together. Another hard goodbye was had as I watched him leave the hostel. That left myself, Erin, and Kasandra of the original five still in the hostel.

We all slowly got up and met downstairs for some early afternoon coffee and food. We were all still feeling the effects of the night before so most of us were a bit slow in responding, and more than a little sensitive to the bright midday sun. I made plans to head up to San Cristobel once again to do some walking, geocaching, sightseeing, and possibly go to the swimming pools that are located at the top while the others decided to continue recovIMG_2671ering from their hangovers in the hostel.

Once again I found myself on the ancient furnicular up to the top of the mountain. Once there, I climbed further to get to the statue of the Virgin Mary, the main attraction at the top of the hill. Speakers throughout the area pumped out what I can only describe as hymnal singing. Very calming and it gives a strange sense of peace as one sits in the shadow of the giant statue overlooking the city.

I sat there for a long while just enjoying the view, marveling at the idea that I’m in such a major and beautiful city. Eventually though, I figured it was time for me to move on, do some walking, maybe lose a little bit of weight(one can only hope).

I ended up looking for, and finding, three geocaches on top of San Cristobel,IMG_2679 including one of the oldest in the city. Lucky for me the areas were both out of the way and deserted. It was strange to be in such surroundings in the middle of such a huge city and not hear a single sound from said city.

Eventually I made my way to one of the swimming pools but by the time I got there, there was only two and a half hours left before it closed. And at $6000 Chilean Pesos, I would rather spend an entire day there for that much. It looked beautiful and had an amazing view of the north of Santiago, but no thanks. Not for that price for that short of time.

IMG_2681As I was walking back to the furnicular I passed a taxi with its driver showing his passenger one of the overlooks of the city. Seeing me walking by, the taxi driver offered to let me tag along all the way to the furnicular for free, saving me having to walk 2km. Ah, what the hell. If it’s free!

I spent the night pretty laid back, hanging out with everyone in the hostel. No booze, no partying, no staying up past three a.m. Thank God as I needed a break from all that.

The next morning I took the metro quickly to the bus terminal and was easily able to find a bus leaving that day for Mendoza, Argentina. I raced back to the hostel, packed my bags, checked out, and said my last goodbyes to Erin and Kasandra.

The bus ride to Mendoza took me through some intense scenery as it wound itsIMG_2721 way through the Andes mountains. At one point we were in a winding road that had over 30 180 degree curves in it. And while it may look like Santiago and Mendoza are pretty close together on a map, because of the Andes the trip takes just over eight hours to complete.

The border crossing was extremely painless. They didn’t even take my backpack off the bus to put through the scanning machine or to check. Once we passed the border, the trip didn’t take much longer than two hours. Arriving in Mendoza, the first thought on my mind was to somehow get some Argentinian Pesos. With all the money exchange offices closed I resorted to just taking some money out of bank machine and putting the $15,000 Chilean IMG_2726Pesos in my wallet with the hopes of exchanging it sometime the next day. A short taxi ride later and I was at my hostel.

Exhausted and ready for whatever Mendoza had in store for me.

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