Captivated by the Santiago smog

I am now in Santiago, the capital of Chile! I have to say that I’m already falling in love with the city. Everything is just my style here – the people are so friendly and shy, horns don’t hoot madly at me when I cross the street and the city is surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains. However, the Andes are only visible really early in the morning before the famous Santiago smog has had time to engulf the skyline! It’s a shame that Santiago’s pollution has nowhere to escape to because the mountain backdrop really is beautiful and it can’t always be seen.

I got NO sleep whatsoever on the bus here two nights ago so I used yesterday to just lounge around and catch up on some sleep. I’m sharing a hotel room with Nicole and we have a TV… wow! To my delight, Back to the Future Part 2 came on and we spent a while watching that. I have to say that it isn’t nearly as dramatic dubbed in Spanish – it was so funny listening to a deep Latin American voice coming out of Michael J Fox’s mouth! The bit at the end where the guy gives Marty a letter from the Doc was the funniest, though. I’m used to hearing him say, “Is your name Marty McFly?” in a mock-dramatic American accent, but whoever dubbed for this actor said, “Tu nombre es Marty McFly?” and sounded totally Scottish! Nicole and me nearly died laughing.

Today I explored the city with Amy, Nicole, Dani, Sarah and Matt. We went to Cerro Santa Lucia and climbed right to the top of the bell tower, where we were rewarded with panoramic views of the city. Afterwards the others headed to the fish market while I had some lunch, then I went to the Museo Histórico Nacional to wait for them. I was a bit early so I perched myself on a bench on the nearby plaza and spent a while happily people watching, pleased when I realised that I could understand a lot of the conversations going on around me. I must have learned something in my Spanish classes! 🙂

More time went by and the others didn’t turn up, so I went into the museum by myself and wandered around. The exhibitions were really interesting – they chronicled the development and history of Chile from pre-Columbian times right up to the present day. I’m such a swot for things like that because I think that the more you know about a country, the more you appreciate and understand its culture and how it evolved into the place it is today. When I got back to the hotel I found the others waiting… they had gone to another museum! Doh.

Whenever we get to a capital city, our group changes because the trip is broken down into lots of segments, which allows people to choose where to join and where to leave. I was really sad to see some of our group go but excited to meet the newcomers. Our group now looks like this:

Chad (Canada, group leader)
Amy (England)
Dani (England)
Dawn (England)
Emma (England)
Frank (England)
Kathryn (England)
Maria (Ireland)
Matt (Canada)
Michelle (England)
Nick (England)
Nicole (England)
Robyn (Australia)
Sarah (England)
Tim (England)
Me (Scotland)

I’m really looking forward to the next part of our trip! 😀

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