Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Long Trek to Santiago

That was a long trip. I woke up 4:15 on Friday and headed to the airport. I managed to score a last minute upgrade to New York, which helped reduce the pain of that 5-hour flight. In New York, I met up with Liz and Elana. We were lucky that our eleven our flight to Chile was nearly empty. Everyone had at least one to three seats to himself. I’ve never had a long flight that was so empty! I watched The Watchmen, which concluded when we were over Cuba. It was neat to look down and see the lights throughout Cuba, hoping some day I’ll be able to visit. I managed to sleep for probably five decent hours before breakfast. LAN Airlines is great. They have new cabins and the most comfortable seats out of any airline I’ve flown. They also have a great inflight entertainment system that eases the tedium of a long flight.

I was disappointed that the flight into Santiago was still dark. I could barely make out the silhouette of the Andes. I could also notice the smog in the air because it was clear out, yet the safety beacons on the wing reflected off a layer of pollution.

When we arrived at the Santiago Airport, we had to pay a $131 reciprocity fee. Since the U.S. charges other countries’ citizens several hundred dollars to enter, other countries now apply a similar charge to Americans. Elana and Liz tried to pay in cash, but the man would not accept the bills. They had to be absolutely perfect. Eventually, everyone paid with a credit card. After we picked up our bags, the girls immediately got taken advantage of. Airport staff offered to push the carts they had their bags on. We literally went 15 feet, and they wanted a tip. If I had realized that they weren’t waiting for us, I would’ve known what was going on. I really hate when people take advantage of you at an airport. First impressions are so important and negative impressions lead to mistrust.

Marlen and Antonio greeted us in a mixture of Spanish and English. My exhausted brain struggled. The ride to the hotel was short. The air felt cold and crisp, like camping. At our hotel, ChilHotel, I took a three-hour nap and struggled to find the energy to manage a shower. I finally felt clean, rested, and ready to explore Santiago this afternoon!

1 comment:

  1. jejejeje. Me encanta como escribes Grant!
    Como decimos los periodistas, tienes buena plumaaaaaaaaaa!