Change Yourself…Change The World.

On to Chile
November 27, 2009, 4:59 am
Filed under: Chile


I arrived in Chile yesterday. The view from the airplane is gorgeous. Breathtaking mountains, everywhere.

Unfortunately, either I’m an idiot who forgot to check what visa requirements there are in Chile, or, someone decided to rip off Americans yesterday. I got off the plane to be surprised with a visa charge of ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS. WHAT?? I was outraged. Especially since all of the other countries could pay $15, $30, $60 at the most (well, except for Canada, who had to pay 1 dollar more than the US- what gives?). Well, I basically threw a fit. I told them that I wasn’t aware of beforehand how it was $130. That I was only going to be in Chile for a few days. That I was a student. That I had come in on a flight.
Did they care? No. Did I have to pay the $130 fee? Yes.
So anyway this pretty much completely soured my first experience into Chile, which otherwise would’ve probably been very pleasant.

That aside… Santiago is a really cool place, to be honest. It’s really beautiful and sunny outside. It has a completely laid-back vibe going on in the city. One of the things that I love is that I don’t feel like a tourist here. I can wander around to my heart’s content without feeling like every sight I see is being catered to a tourist- that every person who looks at me thinks ‘oh, she’s a tourist’- that people don’t come up to me on the street with pamphlets of substandard tours to the middle of nowhere- it’s really nice, actually. It makes me feel that what I’m seeing and feeling, is real. That it isn’t a fabricated ‘made-up’ version of what tourists WANT or EXPECT Santiago to be. And at the same time, Santiago is beautiful, interesting, and a really cool place to be.

Let me tell you- that is very difficult to find while traveling. I haven’t felt this comfortable since Uruguay.

I am really enjoying being in South America, to be quite frank. When I traveled alone in Europe, I felt really- ALONE. But traveling here, in South America alone, I have no problems. I feel like I become friends with the country- that I can be easily entertained by all of the puzzle pieces that the city has for me to put together and explore. To me, Santiago is an intricate design, one that I feel I could spend months sampling and still not feel satisfied.

Unfortunately, as I am completely tied down by work right now, I have had no time to go outside, except for a little Thanksgiving turkey today at an American restaurant (surrounded by American people with American beer with American pumpkin pie with American football- it was nice). I love Santiago but I don’t have the time to appreciate it.

As time goes on, I keep getting the feeling that I am going to need to come back to South America someday and spend a long time getting to know all of its secrets. Don’t be surprised in a few years from now if you’ll find me back here, trekking through Bolivia, dining in Santiago, breathing in leather heaven in Buenos Aires, and maybe even heading to Antarctica– we’ll see where the wind takes me.

Until then, I’m loving the life here in Chile,

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