It´s even got supermarkets!

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It´s even got supermarkets!
Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile


San Pedro was the border town where we changed buses and spent a few hours. A cute white-washed little town absolutely full of package tourists and western style restaurants – quite a shock after Bolivia! A tiny town next to the desert, yet every single Chilean person there seemed to speak English. We ate a huge meal and relaxed in the sun, eternally grateful for both warmth and good food. It wasn´t my favourite part of this trip to have to get straight on a 22 hour bus to Santiago after 3 days of no sleep and no shower, but we needed to get here for the flight to Caracus. Even though the bus was like a 1970´s time warp (leather seats, orange curtains and ET being the prime time movie) it was still extra comfortable compared to anything in the Andean countries. As Northern Chile rushed by the window I couldn´t help looking out in wonder at the perfect paved, straight road, and lack of any sort of terrifying drop at each side of it. We arrived in Santiago and checked into our seriously luxury hostel called, “The Happy House Hostal”. Happy was an understatement when we saw the seemingly space age, spotless kitchen, TV room with cable and big comfy chairs, and our high-ceilinged victorian chamber complete with Chaise-Longue! Excitement really did reaching breaking point when, 2 blocks away we located a full-on big supermarket. We had been transported to heaven. Good looking, un bruised, ripe fruit, meat in lovely little packages instead of pigs heads hanging everywhere, bottle upon bottle of cheap Chilean wine and the star, the big one….. real cheese – yipee! (Cheese in Andean countries comes from sheep and tastes like eating a bag of salt) The next day I took the ultra modern and clean underground to a suburban shopping centre. I must have looked like a child at Christmas staring in awe at the beautiful shops, lights, fountains and restaurants. Every designer label under the sun (but of course I managed to hunt out a couple of bargains!), department stores, massive food court, it was flashier than anything I have seen in England! I was wandering along when suddenly something familiar caught my eye inside a posh department store…. no.. it couldn´t be, could it?? “Top Shop”, and low and behold it was!I had only been dreaming of being transported to London for just one day to go to Top Shop recently, so I couldn´t believe it had made it to Chile!(Yes I am as sad as you think…) Santiago really is like a different world to other SA capitals: there are virtually no indigenous faces, the culture is European.The city is well ordered, the people are dressed smartly, the cars are expensive and don´t feel the need to beep every few seconds and it takes a mere 15 minutes to send something from the post office! The only negative thing I have to say is that it´s still bloody cold! So, after 3 days of appreciating the modern life, we are off up to Caracas, Venezuela, for a few days before hitting the Carribean coast. Not a moment too soon!


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