South America | Chile | Santiago de Chile – happy again
Been having a fab time since my last whining session. Finally managed to get on a plane to La Paz 2 days later, so arrived and pretty cool city, I thought. So there I was rushing around trying to see all the sights as I only had 2 days there. A couple of hours later when I started seeing double and walking in circles, it occurred to me that I might have altitude sickness. So I spent the next 20 hours in bed, convinced I was dying.
But I survived, and went on to more sights. The witches market is really gross, all these old women selling nasty herbs and dead animals. Nice!! Lots of backpackers stuck in La Paz coz of the blockades, so it was a really good part atmosphere. The pubs are filled with really sleazy old men singing Barbara Streisand songs, the western music they have here is so old. On one bus, this will only mean anything to Clare, Esme and Tawia they were playing Please Don´t Go girl. Can you believe it? I of course had to burst into song with the whole bus leaning round to stare at the mad backpacker in the back. NKOTB rule!!!
Managed to get out of the city finally, and made my way to Potosi to the silver mines. Amazing, the bus actually arrived there early, and had to wander all over he town to find a hotel as it was 3am. Finally managed to wake s/one up, and he put me in this dorm miles from the main hotel, so I spent the night with my knife clutched in my hand, convinced I was about to be murdered in my bed. Yup my imagination has been working overtime on this trip.
Anyway went down the mines and they were fantastic!! The conditions are appalling and I’ve never seen so much asbestos in my life, but it was like an obstacle course, with a flame-spitting lamp in one hand, crawling through water, sliding down holes, climbing up walls. Fantastic!! Then we got to blow up stuff at the end.
After this I headed off to Uyuni where I took a 3-day safari type drive through the salt lakes and into Chile. This was the most amazing thing. Flamingos, lamas, red, green, white and salt lakes. The conditions were primitive to say the least though. No electricity or water and the beds had stones in them, but it was amazing. On the last day we had to get up at 4am to drive to the hot springs where we went swimming as the sun rose. Definitely not to be missed.
D’you all see how positive I’m being now, after complaints about my moaning I decided to revise my style. Also its probably coz I’m out of Bolivia so am now free of stress.
Got to Santiago today after taking a bus from the border yesterday. My god the Chilean officials are evil. They confiscated all my stuff, my water, fruit, biscuits, and worst of all my coco leaves. Wanted to show them to everyone, but unfortunately they’re illegal here, though in Bolivia everyone chews it like gum, horrible stuff!!
Santiago rocks!!! Supposed to leave tomorrow, but decided to give up my trek through the glaciers down south to spend more time here. Definitely my type of city. I love Chile!! Probably doesn’t hurt that the buses are so great. They recline, and they have cushions and blankets and 2 stewards who feed you and tuck you in. Far cry from before, and this will be the last time I ever mention the bus, so you can all relax.
Anyway, off to explore more.