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Saturday, November 25, 2006

ADVETURES IN CHILE: Getting Around Santiago

THURSDAY, NOV. 24/06

Oka, my feet are wor down to the andkles and I have a huge lister on my big toe. My ankle has a twinge and m legs are aching but still, we soldier on, determined to see eerything we can in he short time we are here.

Getting Around by Bus
There are a abundancer of rickety old ellow ¨micros¨that rce up ad dow the avenues as if they are on a speedway. The city has replaced some of them with sleek new green double length buses which will cut down o the chaos and pollution, but there are still swarm of these anceint yellow Mercedes Benz speedsters spewing exhaust and racing to pick up passengers along their routes. This morning we took our second bus ride down to Santiago Cetro with grandma. The bus was alread full when it got to our stop but we jammed on, backpacks and all, and found a place to stand up front clinging on for dear life as the bus hurtled down El Santo Avenida through the morning traffic. Amazingl it picked up at each stop and more people pushed their way on til it was so crammed full the doors wouldn´t shut. Then içoff we went careening down the avenue dodging thrug the heavy lines of traffic. At each jolting stop I was sure Íd be grown through the windshield but we somehow managed to arrive at our stop in one piece. Pretty exciting, like being at the midway!

Patrick and I have preferred t take the metro which is sleek, clean and efficient )so clean hat I defy anyoe to find so mch as a crumb ont he floors of the stations.) Santiago metro has four lines, three of themm )green, yellow and red= merge with the forth newer line. The fare is reasonable too, less than a dollar except duriing peak periods. There are also plenty of cab, and taxi colectivos which run on a ixed route.

Today´s city exploration tour took us to Barrio Brazil, was an area once occupied by the wealthy but after they moved to newer areas, for years was neglected but now is enjoying a new popularity as many of the yonger well'to'do are treturning to create a lively bohemian atmosphere. There is a charming plaza with a towering monkey pzzle tree, various beautifu palms and other ornamental trees. The park is popular with students and today there were many folk sitting on benches reading newspapers. We discovered that there were a lot of Chinese restaurants in Barrio Brazil which was quite unusual.

One of he landmarks of Barrio razil is the newo Gaothi Basilica de Salvador which dates from 1892. We missed that one, but saw another newer church that was worth a photo op. Then we walked around enjoying the various other architectural delights that grace this tranquil area of the city. We walked around and came across tiny Barrio Concha y Toro, a little cobble stone square with quaint buildings and a gushing fountain, a little oasis at the edge of Barro Brazil

We decided to stop by another area, Barrio Patromato, where there is an enclave of Palestinian and Korean people,but we found it rather run down and uninteresting, so returned to Santiago Centro, back to Cafe Cecilia where we were treated to a delicious lunch of bean soup and tomato salad and another tour around the Station with grandma(this time with Patrick in tow). It´s quite amusing these round'about treks to the washrooms, as everyone along the way seems to know grandma and she stops to introduce us to everyone. They were again setting up for another extravagent banquet and again we went out to the the little plaza in back to see the memorial for the poets and writers.)

Next: off to the the ocean

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