30.12.2009 - 31.12.2009
Santiago is a lot like Los Angeles, there is a lot of smog, the streets are confusing to navigate and there is a lot of traffic. The only real difference is that everyone speaks Spanish. Okay, maybe there really are no differences.
I only had one day in Chile´s capital city, and I was determined to see the former residence of Pablo Neruda while I was there. Mr. Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972. He is considered by poetry lovers as one of the best poets of all time. His masterpiece ¨20 Poems of Love¨ was published when he was only 19 years of age and catapulted him to stardom. The museum in Santiago houses many of his former possessions including original poems, a painting by his friend Diego Rivera, and of course, his Nobel prize. If you are not familiar with his poetry, I very much suggest that you pick up a copy of his work. He is one of my absolute favorites, second only to Maya Angelou.
I also went up to to the large urban park in the Bellavista neighborhood where I took a funicular up to view the city. Santiago is nestled in between the Andes Mountain Range, but you could barely see the mountains because of all the aforementioned smog. It was cool to ride the funicular, though.
The rest of the time I just walked around the city getting lost. There was not much else that piqued my interest other than the museum, so I´m glad that I didn´t stay more than a day here. Pablo's house was really cool to visit, but this is the only stop on my entire trip that I might have skipped if I were to do it over.
In looking back, this has been the most amazing trip of my life. I saw and experienced amazing things that will serve as fond memories for a long time to come. Most importantly, this trip would not have been nearly as awesome if it weren't for all the cool people that I met along the way:
-Jorge from Brazil for your impeccable skills in locating airport transportation
-Alexia, Suyida, and Candida for your fun-loving spirit, and Alexia especially for her subway navigation skills. I channeled your subway skills and mastered Santiago's system!
-Ben from New Zealand for being an awesome hiking partner in Iguazu. I´m really glad we ended up doing the last waterfall!
-Kory for the awesome and insightful conversation in Iguazu. For some reason, it feels like we´ve known each other for a really long time, keep throwing those quotes my way!
-John and Zubin for the fun time in El Calafate. You both have a place to stay in Los Angeles should you be in my neck of the woods.
-Kelly for her camping tips and all those conversations. You and I kicked ass on that W circuit, and I still think that you´re more of a badass than I am. We need to get some In N´Out one of these days.
-Rebecca for the tip on the Pablo Neruda house - great suggestion!
-Diego for all the cool nature facts and the suggestion for the great pizza place
-Craig for the empanada - I owe you!
-Diego and Alberto for the hospitality, I hope to see you both in California real soon!
I would also like to thank my devoted readers as this has been a pleasure to write for all of you. I won´t have another adventure for awhile, but it looks like I´m headed off to Costa Rica (and hopefully Belize) sometime next year. Gracias y hasta luego!