30th December 2016- After a 15 hour BUMPY flight, with little sleep behind us, we touched down in sunny Santiago, Chile.
Organisation at the airport was NOT good. We lined up firstly to pay our repository fee (with absolutely everyone who got off the plane). Then after paying and getting a little receipt attached to the back of our passport, we lined up again, this time for customs clearance.
The line waived around and around, and after a good hour in queue, complaining that only 2 people were working at the time, they finally opened up another 3 customs booths, and as we only had about 5 people left in front of us, some official came and opened up the winding bands and let a whole group of people who had been waiting behind us to go off to be served by new staff members as priority- so we were caught between the “shall we join the new fast queue or stay here”.
Well after an hour and a half in the customs area, we FINALLY got out to the Arrivals Hall -to be met by our non-english speaking driver for the transfer to the accommodation.
It felt really weird driving along the freeway, with the driver sitting on the left hand side of the car as we whizzed down the right hand lane, on our way to down-town Santiago. So different to Melbourne where we drive on the left and the driver sits on the right side of the vehicle.
Driving along, we are met with all sorts of views as we make our way into the heart of the city.
Slums line the roads, plenty of tin roofs, graffiti, rubbish on the side of the road…………… and a great big billboard advertising that Justin Bieber was coming to Santiago for a concert in March 2017. (Now that was the last thing i expected to see here in Chile. Somehow i doubt he even knows how to speak spanish- the main language here. lol)
After about half an hour, we get into the heart of the city, and find our hotel- Plaza San Francisco. The hotel is stunning. Nicole, our travel agent is showing us the first glimpse of the delightful accommodation she has in store for us, on our trip of a lifetime.
Feeling exhausted, we take the time to catch a little sleep before we head out to have a look around, and search for dinner. (Which i will cover in my next blog post).