The Dream is Over
18.12.2012 - 19.12.2012 20 °C
Santiago - The Dream is Over
Overnight Stays: Somewhere between Panama & Santiago; Santiago
DW - What annoys me most about dreams is that you never find out what happens in the end, you always wake up and reality hits your tired eyes with a brutal force. The dream that has become the Wombat Tour is about to end and, as opposed to other dreams, what excites me most is that we don't know what happens next.
It was always going to be difficult to get the most out of Santiago. Having been away from home for nearly two (2) years, the last couple of days were always going to have our minds anywhere but where we were. Instead of embracing the bustling markets and pan-pipe bands, our minds were on what lies next. Parties, family, friends, Christmas, New Year, puppies, and that's just the first week of return. Beyond that there's work again (sigh), then who knows what happens...?
Our flights from Cuba to Santiago were a walk in the park, despite the 3am arrival time and stitch-up at the border of $95 each to enter the country, even if only for just a day, grrr. We didn't manage to catch a wink on either flight so were expectedly buggered, and Loz took refuge for a few hours in the hostel common-room couch while I caught up with the world after about ten (10) days offline. Given it was the end of our trip, we were tightening the belt wherever we could, in anticipation of horrendously high Aussie prices now only hours from our reach. That's why we chose not to take a room at 3am, we were happy enough to wait for a good night's sleep the next night, and maybe an arvo nap. There were times, mind you, when we were sitting/lying there, in the common area, when a bunch of obnoxious Seppos arrived home from the club, full as a goog, ready to continue the party. And good on them for having a good time, I'm in no position to complain, I'm the stingy one (1) who didn't fork out $50 for a sleep. Anyway, we made it through to sun-up and ducked around the corner for a double-shot coffee.
The plan was always going to be to do a free walking tour of the city, then a siesta, couple of beers and dinner, then countdown to liftoff. When it reached 11am (when most of the walking tours start) we changed our mind and decided we'd do it on our own terms, knowing full well our heads weren't going to be in it, and the last thing we felt like doing was walking around for four (4) hours. So we picked a couple of landmarks on the map and checked them out for ourselves.
As opposed to the other South American cities we've been to, Santiago is very lively during the day, and centralised, which is great. I think because it's a city surrounded fully by mountains (it's kind of in a bowl) it makes everything come together, not sprawl out into the unknown thus dispersing the population. As I mentioned above, just like the South Park episode (although I think they were Peruvian), there were countless pan-pipe bands popping out of the concrete, selling CDs like they were a new concept. The tunes were nice, peaceful, yet energetic and really gave the city a great vibe. We suddenly realised that we like this place a hell of a lot more than expected, it was lively.
A little down the way we hit market central; a collection of block after block of stalls selling anything and everything. In between, a huge meat/fish market, and a vegie market, very cool and great to explore and feast. Uh oh, eyes started to get heavy, very heavy, time for a little siesta. In a rare moment, I don't think Loz managed to get any sleep in, but I sqeezed out about 4.5 hours, and felt fresh as a daisy after being sleep-deprived for 30+ hours.
We planned for an early night with a quick hot-chook dinner and just one (1) 1 litre beer. As we sat, me working my way through the delicious Chilean lager, we started to meet other hostel guests left, right and centre, and the beers continued, another, another. Too many later and we hit the hay, where I again slept like a baby until sunrise, Loz too excited and weighed under (turns out when I've had a few beers I'm quite the task to move) for sleep.
It's now eight (8) hours later and in seats 43B and 43C on Qantas flight QF28 we're over the Pacific, fourteen (14) hours from reality. What happens next? That's the most exciting part.