July 2003

It's time for another update already...
but this one is short.

Our tour of the Bolivian salt flats dropped us in San Pedro de Atacama in the north of Chile. This is a quiet little backpacker-oriented tourist town. It offers a few tours to see flamingoes and more salt flats, but we skipped those and just relaxed for a couple of days and tried the first of the Chilean wines.

From there we took an overnight bus to Santiago. We installed ourselves just outside the center of town in a sort of student district called Barrio Brasil. One of the highlights here was a great bakery in a quite neighborhood. We took the metro into town--quite a strange experience since the metro is made by the same people that brought you Paris's line 1. If I unfocused my eyes so I couldn't read the spanish advertisements, I could imagine I was back in Paris. The beeps and squeaks and buzzers and rattles were completely identical.

Cool statue in Plaza de Armas Churches and sky scrapers

With only a few days here, we only did one real trip: out to a local vineyard. The tour was nice, and so were the wines. Our guide claimed that the best wines in the world are still in France... but then she was French and perhaps not completely unbiased. On the other hand, wine is cheaper than milk in Chile, and that's a pretty good point in its favor.

Hangin with the vines Chillin with the barrels Casillero del Diablo

The rest of the time we just relaxed in the city. We had a picnic or two in the park and took full advantage of the nearby bakery. We occasionally complained about how the prices of most things were higher than in the previous countries, but it was also the most western-like city that we've been too. Apart from a bit of smog, it seemed a pleasant and livable city. The only real downside was that the accent in Chile is almost incomprehensible to neophyte spanish speakers like ourselves. We pointed and smiled when necessary.

Church seen from the park Relaxing in the park

Last modified: 29 June 2003