Monday, April 11, 2016

Day 1 -- Getting there

The longest Thursday ever.  It started at 5am Brisbane time, and ends at 9pm Santiago time -- on the go for 29 hours non-stop.  Left Brisbane on time for the 3 hours to Auckland on Qantas 738 aircraft.  Fruit and pancakes for breakfast:  pretty ordinary.  In Auckland at 2.30pm local time, and had to wait until 6.30pm for the next leg.  Got to know the duty free area pretty well, doing laps to get a little exercise.

The 12.5 hour flight to Santiago was with LAN on the latest Boeing aircraft, the B787-800 Dreamliner.  Had never seen on before, and it offers a very comfortable journey.  The food service (dinner and breakfast) was excellent.  Arrival into Santiago quite spectacular.  The cabin had been kept dark to allow maximum sleep time (to those who can manage it).  We hit the South American coast well south of Santiago.  At 1pm local, the crew opened the windows to display a stunning sunlit scenery of the snow-capped Andes not far inland.  Santiago lies in a valley between the Andes and quite steep coastal hills, so the final approach down the valley to the airport is very scenic.  Caught between the hills, the city's pollution tends to hang trapped.  It was 35C today.

The first sign one sees on entering the terminal is a direction to Australian, Mexican and US citizens to line up and pay a reciprocity fee before proceeding further.  $US117 for Aussies.  That apparently s what we charge Chileans to enter Australia.  Tit for tat.  Cleared immigration and customs speedily and was met by Chilean Tourist agent who delivered me to hotel and checked out my ongoing travel details.  He told me that Santiago is 6 million people, very safe city, but notorious for purse snatchers.  "Try not to look like a tourist" he advised me -- a bit difficult with a camera around your neck!

The Hotel Panamericano is right in the centre of downtown, surrounded by dozens of eating places and near most of the key sights.  It is an old building, struggling to earn its 3 star rating:  but is clean and comfortable which is all that matters -- and has free wifi!  An early night planned tonight, and tomorrow I will probably join the Walk-for-tips English walking tour of the central city (4 hours).

So the adventure has begun.

1 comment:

Judy said...

Pleased the flight went well. Hope you were able to take advantage of the black out and have a nap. The movies would have been no use to you as you would have seen them all!!

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