Sunday, 2 May 2010

Santiago, shoes, football and earthquakes?

Hey everybody here is the first update from my brief time here in Santiago so far! I´ll start with the journey, which at over 24 hours was a long one (with a 6 hour wait in the US of A!) Oh I dislike American customs as much as eating pig´s brains, but money dictated that the cheapest plan was to fly with Delta airlines through Atlanta. Whilst I must say the staff on Delta airlines were pleasant enough, especially the guy at Manchester Airport who spent almost 20 minutes on his computer to ´find´ my booking, the rest of the service was pretty poor! After the initial scare of being told my booking did not exist, I boarded the plane, to find a seriously poor standard of seating! Despite the excitement that I was sitting only a few meters away from Ricky Hatton (the boxer!) in first class (him, not me), I was soon getting frustrated with only one TV screen for the entire cabin and therefore no choice of movies, and a tray/table that almost cut me in half whenever I tried to open it. So 8 hours later I was happy to get off the rather scruffy looking plane! US Immigration was a typical unfriendly farce although fortunately I was able to get through unmolested!

I´d taken two relatively new pairs of footwear with me, and one pair of rather strange looking trainers that I had taken were cutting into my feet quite badly just walking around the airport. I took the hasty decision to chuck them, and buy a cheapish pair of shoes from the airport. These new pair lasted me just one day of sightseeing around Santiago before they too had cut my feet and given me a blister on my little toe! ´Ah´ I hear you all saying! So pair of shoes number 2 were binned, and I am n the search for a decent pair of trainers, as it's quite cold here at night and I will be doing lots of walking I think!

So to life in Santiago, it´s a fairly nice city, built up with tall buildings, with a mix of old and new architecture.... after a couple of days strolling around, plus an evening BBQ at the lovely hostel I have been staying at (in picture below)

I´m feeling at home here. The city has some great bits of parkland amidst the buildings, and I particularly enjoyed the walk and tram ride up to the ´white virgin Mary´statue on one of the hills! The views were absolutely great.. here are just a few photos from around the city.

I was quite sad to leave the hostel today, as I have already met some great people from Scotland, Switzerland, Canada and the UK. So after getting up early to watch the ´big game´ (Liverpool vs Chelsea) at 0830, I moved into a hotel for the duration of the conference. I didn´t mind moving into my own room though, as two of my roommates decided to synchronise their snoring from about 0500, keeping us all awake! That´s what happens when you only pay 700 pesos for a dorm room I guess! I did however return to the hostel tonight to go on a trip to watch a local Chilean football match. It was quite a good atmosphere with the home crowd singing for the entire 90 minutes even before the 2nd, 3rd and 4th goals were scored! I even saw some decent players that would give Lucas a run for his money in the Liverpool starting 11! (And for those Man Utd fans reading this, yes I know Gerrard threw the game away but Gary Neville would have done the same! So here are some pictures from tonight´s game in Chile!

So far so good here in Chile, the weather is warm in the day so I can wear my shorts and cool in the evenings. I´ve met nice people and feel at home in this city already! On to the conference! Oh I nearly forgot, apparently there was an earthquake this morning, nothing major, but the ground moved.. I was obviously too caught up watching the football to notice! Still, I´m sure there will be more to come!
Oh and Liv, thanks so much for the phrase book, I can ask for the bill and everything!
Regards from Chile,

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