Where are we now.....

Trip Start Sep 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 04, 2006

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Flag of Chile  ,
Sunday, January 8, 2006

Before we start I would like to point out that we were left luggage less and had only the carry on and the clothes we were wearing; also we got to see Fidel, but only on the television.

Having slept profoundly on the plane, we arrived in the morning flying beside the mountain ranges that divided Chile and Argentina. Beautiful peaks caked with snow. We were hoping and waiting for a chance to visit some of the renowned national parks, but we had to recover from the airplane ordeal first.

Santiago seemed more European, with city attitude and architecture and did not fit the image that I originally had of the country. It also seems to be the land of big burgers and hot dogs. Malls upon malls full of consumer goods displaying signs that encouraged the use of fantastic plastic surrounded us. We spent a couple of days wandering around town looking for a Lonely Planet guide to the place but were appalled when the asking price was 50 USD, double the retail price. We would have happily paid for that if the South American guide was available but nowhere in the capital was the title available, at any price. Blind and guideless we went to a museum that housed the best pre-Colombian artefact collection we had ever seen. An amazing amount of detail could be seen in all the works of gold, pottery, rock and textiles. It was amazing and to top it off, we got to see a couple pre-historic mummies.

We noticed that there seemed to be an underground gothic culture amongst the youths and we were surprised that this apparent gothic culture turned out to be youth culture in general. Tattoos, piercings, black everything was the "in" thing and it showed when we stumbled into the "Love Parade" of 2006; a street party, 150 000, strong of Chilean youth complete with numerous water cannons spraying the then drenched dancing crowd, trucks decorated with sponsors banners pumping music all doing a circuit with lovely ladies and gentlemen going off. I felt like it was an end of graduation pool party but of years eight and up - except there was no pool and our school was home to the children of darkness. Everyone was wet and had confetti over them. All of them were happily cramped on the streets with a giant poster of "Bachellete for President" hanging on a 30 story building who coincidentally won the election 2 weeks later. We however were safe in a café drinking our beers with a couple of Australians from our hostel (there does seem to be a lot of us in Chile). Trapped inside for a good 4 hours before it was safe to leave the barricaded premises, we quenched the crowds thirst every now and then through the lattice gates offering beer and water.
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