Our very first stop on our travels is Santiago, capital of Chile.
Nathan and I were slightly nervous because we knew nothing about South America.
On a sidenote: I had been trying to learn Spanish by audiobooks and Duolingo and am excited to have the opportunity to practise the language. I’ve forgotten how much I loved learning new languages. I know bits and pieces of different languages but have not been the master of any.. not even my own mother tongue Cantonese and/or Mandarin!
First impressions of Santiago:
1. Our Airbnb host was lovely enough to offer us a ride from the airport (albeit for a fee, understandably) BUT that makes for a local contact and direct transport to our accommodation without us worrying about how to get to our new home (for the next 7 days). He said “exercise normal precautions as you would at any major city – something bad happens anywhere in the world if you are walking in the streets at 2am”. Wise words we’ll probably take with us for the entire year. We crashed in bed at 11pm that night though, after a wander around our neighbourhood for dinner.
2. There’s no escaping the fact that Nathan and I look like tourists. We would have to wear masks (or speak fluent Spanish) to be locals. But maybe being a tourist isn’t such a bad thing (other than you are a target for all sorts of petty crime). The waiter in our restaurant politely asked us whether it was our first time in Santiago (which we said yes) and gave us some hot tips about travelling around Santiago.
3. It was around 9/10pm and there were many people in the streets. And by many I don’t mean four, or five, or ten people in our vicinity. Bars were packed. There was a “hot new restaurant in town” and that too had a queue – but we were famished so we couldn’t be bothered waiting. It certainly wasn’t a Friday or Saturday night – it was a Tuesday night! Yet there were throngs of people in the street – young, old, and even pet owners walking their dogs… at 10pm!
It’s only been less than 12 hours in this city – eight hours of which we spent sleeping – watch this space!