Tuesday, November 22, 2011


A few random thoughts to start the day here in Temuco.

Bus Station in Santiago
 My love affair with the Santigo Metro hit a bump yesterday during the morning rush hour. Everything was great to start. Bought my ticket, walked to the platform and go on the train with the feeling of having just had a hug comforting hug. Then I got to my startion, University de Santiago which is also one of the main Bus stations. CHAOS! The lineup for the tickets was monstrous and meandered down the main hall that was the entrance to the Tur Bus terminal. Talk about human blockage and the pushing, shoving and angry words that go with it. It crushed me (well not really) as I swam through the masses smashing everyone in sight with my pack.

While waiting for my train I felt something was just not right.. As a train passed in the other direction it was quiet. I mean really quiet. As I was heading out of the city there were 3 trains that passed going into the city and it was the same. As it entered, stop and left the station, quiet. Then I realized (it took time because it was early, I did not have any coffee and well I am not that bright at times) what was missing was the screeching of metal on metal that you get on the TTC. I looked down and there it was. These trains do not run on the tracks, they run between the tracks on large rubber wheels. I dont know the technology or how life span of the tire but it was interesting. There was a third track for power, in this case the main track but the train ran along the ground like a car or bus.

As I mentioned before a long bus ride takes it out of me more than a long plane ride and yesterdays 10 hours was no different. I watched the countryside change and it was dramatic. Santiago was surrounded by mountains but they were viewed as through a polluted fog. Get outside the city and there they are in all thier majesty. As we headed south it started to get green, really green. We started to pass over rivers that started small but the further south the larger the river. Each ran fast and were emerald green. Tall forests started appearing and it held true that the Germans immigrated here because it reminded them of the Black Forest. Sure, lets go with that.
On the bus there was a young guy who sat beside me (we have assigned seating) and stared at his PS2 working his thumbs like a crazy man for the entire ride never looking up. I thought it was a bit weird but then realized I had my Ipod and stared out the window the entire time. We all have our things dont we?

Now onto Temuco. LP and Frommers both say its not much of a city and they are right. Its like arriving in Hamilton or St. Catherines. You just stand and say "really"! Anyways jumped in a cab and told the driver where I was going. He just stared at me confused so I gave him my notes.
** I have developed a habit of writing down the address of my hotel or hostel in a little book for just such cases, as well as directions from the bus station thanks to google maps.**
He asked a few of his taxi tribe and when satisfied came back and said, ok I know where it is. Knowing the directions I could follow the street signs to make sure things were good. As with all taxis I just try to chat away in spanish and the response is always fantastic, but in Chile they speak so fast and this was no exception. So we drive along, kind of get to where we are going, stop backup, move to another street and continue. Finally we find my street and in his defense it is fairly isolated but he stopped the car and ran up the street to the actual house (it was a one way and we were to far and could not go up it). He ran back and with a big smile said "We found it" and he shook my hand. That was the best moment of my day!!

Tanta Silva is more a B&B than a hostel and it is just like walking into Gramma's house. Large overstuffed out dated furniture, nick nacks of every variety and a large white poodle that is the happiest dog on the planet. Silvia is warm, friendly and funny. After signing in she smiles and said "ok cash!" I said "efectivo claro" and again it was "ok cash". She laughed when she told me that she was learning english and these were the first words she was taught. I worked with her for 15 minutes on a few phrases "you will need to pay with cash", "We dont accept credit cards", You have to pay for your stay first" and "breakfast is at 8am".

After a week in the Fast times at Ridgemount High experience that was the La Chimba Hostel in Santiago I was ready for some peace and quiet. I have a private room and bath. The bed is massive and comfortable, even with the shiney white comforter with emboidered pink hearts and enough pillows to build a small fort. I honestly dont understand a womans obsession with pillows nor will I ever try.

There are a few markets and museums here that I want to have a look at, plus the central square and the Mirador. I went for a walk around the university district for food last night and it was clean, bright and happening. I spied a german restaurant that has my name written all over it.

On final note about yesterday. In my haste to catch my 7 am train I forgot my toothbrush, toothpaste soap and shampoo at the hostel. Not a big deal as there is a farmacy close by. My issue is I used the shampoo. Now lets be clear, I have not purchased shampoo in 10 years. Now with my hair growing or more to the point I am to lazy to find a barber I have to buy shampoo. My first was about a week ago, used it once and forgot it in the bathroom. This is my second bottle of shampoo I have lost that I have just opened. So no shampoo for 10 years and now 2 bottles in less than a week. Stupid hair, if I did not break my clippers you would be gone!

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