We've both arrived safely in Santiago, which, I might say is quite surprising as I had braced myself for not getting on the flight as it was overbooked and I was on a standby flight. I have been warned that the flights back to New Zealand are even harder to get on if you have a standby ticket.
We both got hit pretty hard by the jet lag and the heat. Hopefully our bodies will continue to adjust to the odd sleep patterns.
Our apartment in Santiago is great, we are on the 17th story looking across to a castle. Next door is a supermarket and we are about a block from the train station. Obviously it is much more expensive than a backpackers or other options but we figured we'd start the trip in style!
The hardest thing is definitely the language; ordering train tickets or paying for a meal is quite an ordeal! We are both doing an online course called duolingo.com but we are really struggling. It is also very tricky to know if we are getting ripped off because we can't speak spanish at all fluently.
There are lots of stray dogs that just wander the streets and sleep in the middle of the footpath here. Plenty of street vendors selling freshly squeezed orange juice and other tasty looking treats.
We visited the port town of Valparaíso today - such a busy place! A kind traveler from Spain saw our confused looks at the train station and offered to help us navigate through all the commuters. Eventually we made it to the bus terminal where we caught a luxurious bus to the sea side town. There were blocks filled with street vendors selling their various wares. We got a big bag of half a kg of strawberries for 300 CLP (about 70 cents NZ). Although tempted we stayed well away from the many carts of fresh fish being sold!
Tomorrow we say goodbye to Santiago for a while, as we head north towards a town called La Serena.