First off, my form has been found, so I’m not going to be an illegal immigrant. Wooo!
Anyway, enough of that nonsense. Last night I returned to Santiago for my free weekend, and it’s going really well so far. After I arrived, I met up with JD, who’s the other intern based in Chile (although he’s at a different mine), and we went over to an Irish bar for supper near his flat. We had fajitas and cheesy chips (good combination, you should try it some time), and had a good chat before heading home.
Today has been very busy. I got up, and left my hotel at about 9:45. First I bought some postcards, and then went to a nearby shopping centre, to get a nice cup of tea.
I wrote the cards (to my family, TKC, PC, and LB), and got them all posted off at the nearby Correos. After that, I topped up my phone with more internet, and then decided to go and see what Barrio Bellavista was like, having been recommended to go there. I decided to get the Santiago version of an Oyster Card (called a tarjeta bip! – presumably because of the beep noise the machine makes when you scan it), and took the metro to Baquedano station.
I found the Patio Bellavista quite easily, which is a small area, with lots of shops and bars/restaurants. I had some lunch, grabbed some cash from the ATM, and bought a large Chilean flag as a souvenir. Then I went halfway up San Cristobal hill to Santiago Zoo to see what they had.
At the bottom of the hill, in Bellavista. Because llama.
It was quite interesting. In addition to the usual elephants/lions/giraffes/penguins/etc., they had some native Chilean animals (such as flamingos). However, what I thought was great, was the fact that they had bog standard mute swans, and guinea fowl (for the latter, luckily I wasn’t hungry, as I’d just had lunch).
Yes, those are just normal swans.
There was quite a good view from the zoo too.
Santiago from halfway up San Cristobal hill.
Afterwards, I took the metro to Tobalaba station, which is past my hotel, as I wanted to walk back through all the various small shopping centres that pepper the area.
On the way back to the hotel from Tobalaba station.
There was a huge amount of variety, and several were themed. A couple consisted mainly of normal shops, that people use for everyday chores (e.g. cobblers, greengrocers, etc.).
Normal, small, local shopping centre.
I came across a couple that were several floors high, but the floor was a helix, so it wound up and up. Theme wise, there was a LOT of variation, including electronics, computer games, and… well, what made me think I was in Soho in the 1970s… (no photos of THAT I’m afraid haha)! The electronics ones reminded me of the similar ones in Mong Kok in Hong Kong, with all the tiny shops selling cameras etc.
Anyway, I’m now back in my room, and will be meeting up with JD shortly to go back to Bellavista for the evening.