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April 08, 2005
Jody writes:

See our Santiago pictures

Our first few days in South America have been spent in the centre of Chile's dirty great capital, Santiago, in a place called Hotel Plaza Londres. A double room for nine-quid-a-night - far nicer than the 30 quid-a-night crowded dorm we paid the night before in Sydney.

The hotel is a tad eccentric: the one window in our room was boarded up for the first two days we slept there, but today we returned to find that the board had been removed. "Daylight!" we thought, until the hotel handyman painted over the glass to block out the light again.

It may be hard to fathom but hardly anyone speaks a word of English here. Fancy that - a foreign country where we're forced to speak THEIR language. So, you can't work out the restaurant menu? Well it looks like you're eating chicken and chips again, because 'pollo y fritadas' is the only thing you can decipher.

Amy and I have struggled through these past few days pretty well, though we did have a case on our first night when we couldn't get rid of a waiter. We'd yet to finish decoding the menu and needed to buy ourselves more time. 'Two more minutes please' and 'one moment more please' didn't work, so I had to resort to the age-old failsafe of sign language to shoo him away until we'd finished working out our order. (I've yet to resort to the traditional English way of communicating with a foreigner - repeatedly speaking slowly and clearly in English until they understand).

So far the only Chileans we've come across with perfect English were the two con artists we met in the street yesterday. They claimed to be studying medicine at the local university but said they couldn't afford to continue their studies unless we gave them hard cash. Just think of the sick and needy children they'll be unable to help unless we coughed up some money. Despite the duo being a tad mature for starting a medical degree (they were in their 40s), the student card they showed us as proof was so pathetically doctored with absolutely no attempt to make it look authentic that we took pity on them and gave them the aquivilant of 90p just so we could move on.

Other than that particular instance, we've blended in quite well. Yesterday an American approached me and stumbled through a question about the toilets in our hotel, thinking I was Chilean. "Donde est una banos?" he asked. "They're over there, mate," I said.

In Santiago at least, Chileans look and dress just like most Europeans. In fact, we could be in Rome for all we know - especially with all the pictures of the Pope hung through the streets (like Italy, there's a lot of Catholics in Chile and the many churches are stunning).

What have we done in Santiago? Slept alot. The Australia-to-Chile jetlag is a killer. We've also visited the mad house of the Chilean Noble prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda (deceased), browsed some museums and drunk lots of wine. At under a quid a bottle for top quality merlot, who wouldn't?

posted at 8:42 PM | link

4 Comments:

  • Cumpleanos feliz Amy!
    (think that's right... - if not, i did only go to three spanish lessons, so you'll have to forgive me...)

    we didn't spend your birthday together last year, and now we are apart for this one also - here's hoping for next year, eh?!

    have a lovely day babe, hope you get the card.

    danielle xxx

    By Blogger The Berg, at 1:08 PM  

  • Cumpleanos feliz Amy and Jody! (think that's right... - as long as Danielle's spanish is any good!)

    Happy Birthday Amy. Hope you have a great day on your birthday. Great to see you met Gollum - i didn't recognise him at first don't know why :S

    Everyone missing you Amy down our end, keep enjoying yourself.

    Matteh/Rare/The pestering one <3 xxx

    By Blogger Matteh, at 1:40 PM  

  • Hippy Bathday, Amy - and wow what an entretaining time I've just had, catch up, reading back through your entries for the past 3 weeks. Yours and Jodi's diary accounts get better and better... I was in hysterics over the Chilean entry... you luck people .. what an amazing adventure you're having. How can you possibly want to come back? What ever you get up to today, Amy, here's hoping your special day is a brilliant one. Lotsaluv, Jonathan, J,J & J xxxx

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:53 PM  

  • Happy Birthday love!


    Hope you got my e-mail <:(

    Miss you tons, enjoy!

    Jay xxx

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:43 AM  

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Jody and Amy have finished their 10 month adventure around the world, that began Nov 2, 2004, and ended Sep 2, 2005. They're back home in London now, doing normal things, like going to work and drinking tap water. You can see a map of what was their planned route, but we didn't quite follow it.
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