Fairytale of Santiago

So, I was alone.  Alone in a country where almost nobody speaks English.  Just me, with rusty GCSE Spanish.  Challenge accepted!  First of all, I caught up on emails etc. and then watched the Djokovic-Murray Wimbledon final, which was very exciting (and ended very nicely).  After that, it was time to venture out into Santiago.

My first plan was to find the British Embassy, then go exploring to get some postcards to send to various friends, write them, and then pop into the nearest correos and post them.  That was the plan, but as with most things, it didn’t really work (except for finding the embassy which is quite near the hotel – handy stuff).  The main issue was that when I eventually found the correos, it was closed (as it is Sunday today), and I’ve still not seen a post box anywhere!  Most shops are also shut, so it made hunting for postcards a bit of a mission.  I went into various corner shops, but none had any.  One bloke told me that I ought to try the underground station, but all the shops there were shut.  So that particular venture had to be abandoned sadly.  After the dismal failure of the postcard searching, I walked around randomly for a bit.  Even though it was Sunday, there were still quite a few people around. People of note include one bloke who decided to do acrobatics on pedestrian crossings while the cars were waiting (as you do), or the guy who decided that the pavement was definitely the best place to do some casual arc welding.

It’s winter here at the moment (although it feels warmer than most normal summer days in the UK: 15C), so all the trees have lost their leaves, or have a few brown ones still hanging on.  I say that, except there are some evergreens of course.  Well, when I say evergreens, I mean conifers.  And palm trees.  Yes, palm trees.  Right next to leafless deciduous ones.  It’s an unusual sight, especially when the background is primarily the snow capped Andes!

Confusing Trees

Confusing Trees (click to enlarge)

Anyway, I had a ramble around, and found a large shopping centre (which was open), so I had a look.  Inside was the shop I was least expecting to see.  Yes, there’s a Whittard’s here in Santiago (and therefore, I can declare it a Brit friendly city).  Anyway, I thought it was time for more exploring (hey, that’s what my job is anyway, practice makes perfect), so I walked some more. And got lost.  Not an ideal situation I admit, but luckily, I had the cunning plan of screenshotting Google Maps of the area near the hotel before I left, so I managed to locate myself (it did however allow me to see some rather nice leafy residential streets with high rise blocks of flats on).  After this minor misplacement of the self, I opted to go back to the shopping centre to buy a map of the city, before heading back to my room.

This evening has been pretty quiet, just doing some work for the placement in advance, and chatting to friends back home online.  I’m deciding what to do for dinner at the moment, but I’m still unsure. Hopefully I can find a Chilean restaurant that’s open, as I’m not going to go to the McDonald’s or Pizza Hut that are opposite, it’s just too tragic!

If you don’t know the paraphrased reference that is the title, click here for the (frankly superb) song from which it is derived.


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