IM now in Lima, Peru and ¨Wow¨, time and distance just disappear here.  Its been four days since my last post and already i am in another country and another timezone.  Three countries in 7 days so far, its time to chill out for a bit!

   NOTE: Unfortunately for this log I am sporting an impressive hangover, so excuse my articulation and possible lack of wit (I think I can hear the comments from here…) Tears and laughter ensued as Maurice left me for Canada last night but not before some ¨goodbye beers.¨

    Santiago is a really cool city.  Stories of uncontrollable pollution are drastically exagerated and the streets are safe enough, at least at day time anyway.  The interesting thing about Santiago is the massive gap between rich and poor, atleast how noticable it is for a foreigners eyes.  El Golf the business district could be Melbourne, while the slummier areas could be likened to Adelaide (nah just jking).  By and large tho a really ´walker friendly´ city, decked out with statues, churches and colonial architecture Santiago is impressive to a travellers eyes, and the people are friendly.  For example, an ice cream in the park saw a local practising his English with us, this (as most conversations here do)  led to a conversation about soccer and the next day I went to the park for a kick with the local guys.  Im not modest, its no secret, and I think I can hold my own with a soccer ball…but….that afternoon was an education.  Drastically unfit, i was outplayed but picked up a few moves and for the first time in a month finally kicked a ball around. 

   We visited the museum of Contemporary Arts, cool Andy Warhol exhibition, and walked the suburbs of Santiago the next day.  A dawdle through the cetral market included a $2.50AU pollo asado con aros y ensalada (BBQ chicken, rice and salad) lunch in the craziest food court ever.  You walk through a big door into aisles lined with tiny reseraunts all selling the exact same thing, at the exact same price while people yell thier only English at you to entice you into thier resteraunt ¨Chicken, fish, chicken.¨ In the end we just ate at the most ´Gringo´ looking place, more out of habit than choice. 

  San Christobel, the highest viewpoint in Santiago sports a giant statue of the virgin Mary looking over the entire city.  Though i could not notice the smog at ground level the elvation really made the smog visable impinging on the view and hanging over the city like a low and angry cloud. Though we made friends with some schoolgirls, i think it was only our white skin that attracted thier continued attention.  San Luis Parque, where again ornate statues line the steep paths, saw a drink in the shade and a contintuation of my infatuation with too many photos (i think i have taken about 400 in the month i´ve been here, god bless digital cameras). 

    All in all Santiago was awesome.  Sunshine, picturesque urban layout, and way too many roast chicken dinners resulted in being overindulged, overfed and over crappy food for ever.

LIMA

   At 5am yesterday morning I awoke from 2 hours sleep to catch the airport shuttle bus.  Why is EVERYTHING so expensive at the airport?  Of course there is nothing like a lack of sleep to make you appreciate an overpriced Pastrami sandwich, but still….

   No sooner had I stepped off the plane than i noticed the complete contrast between Peru and Argentina and Chile.  Though I´d been warned, numberous times, I couldnt help but be reminded of Thailand as the two money exchange places (situated 5 metres apart) yell at tourists to change thier money with them, and why not to do so at the other place.  Infact, there is nothing you can do when 15 taxistas swamp you a foot from the airport door, all convincing you to follow them as they try and shuffle you into taxis, but laugh.  And thats what i did, even after a bad sleep.

    A short haggle for the price of a taxi and I felt like I was home, this was the travelling I was more used to, this was the purchasing method I have previously thrived upon.  The game of the up and down, the power of the haggle.  I think im going to need a week maybe to get my groove back, but when i do… Look out!  This is going to be fun!

Till next time

Ash

 

 

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