Wednesday, September 30, 2009

window of opportunity

A few snaps of the Andes crossing by bus - 8 hours in all but about 2 at customs, one of the most ineffectual border crossings I have ever seen. We sat around waiting and waiting whilst a number of customs agents sat around twiddling their opposables. There were windows for bus passengers (huge long lines) and windows for a few car drivers. (twiddlers)

Do you think there was a chance for the Twiddlers to help out the Bussers when they had nothing to do? (About as much chance as me becoming lead male for the Bolshoi Ballet that´s how much)

So I stood sullenly in line casting baleful glances and wishing for sprained thumbs on the lot of them.

I was lucky to have decided to come today. My bus driver told me the high pass at the customs post was blocked the day before and people had to sit in their buses/cars for 11 hours!! And he said there was another blizzard forecast for tomorrow.

Arriving in Santiago I was blessed with one of those rare occasions where everything works effortlessly in my favour.

There was a metro station outside the bus terminal and it was on the correct line to take me to the station directly opposite where I was staying. My hostel happens to be right in the centre of the city in a lovely cobbled-streeted area full of big old buildings. This atmospheric area only extends to one city block.

The hostel was huge, old and looked very interesting in the website photos. This should have rung alarm bells.

It turned out to be like a cross between something from Gormenghast and the Addams Family. Huge cavernous rooms, dimly lit and full of old (not antique - just plain old) furniture.

The staff were also cadaverous and moved about slightly hunched on parquetry that creaked and groaned like an old forest in a gale.

Still, I unpacked in my room (up 84 flights of stairs to the attic) trying to put things on tables and on hangers without actually moving about on the floor, to avoid the dreadful creaking.

I decided I really needed to move in the morning - and this idea was reinforced when I went looking for the breakfast room the next morning.

After negotiating several flights of stairs (up AND down) criss-crossing various stages and wings of the building, I finally found the ´SeƱora´ who was preparing breakfast. She was dusting off a table in a lovely little room on the corner of the building with early morning sunshine streaming in through the windows. The room was charming with a ´homely´touch to it.

¨Desayuno?¨ I inquired, pointing to the room.
¨No!¨she replied and instead ushered me into a dim, dark room in the middle of the building with a faint glimmer coming from a window into a small light-well.

Breakfast was a 3 day old bread-roll and instant coffee.

So now I am in a much more friendly and pleasant place across the road.

I´m quite liking Santiago. Today was hot and sunny and I wandered the streets all day, taking in the Museum of Contemporary Art.

When I first entered this magnificent edifice I could see the main entrance rotunda was being set up for something, and I was directed downstairs to a single large exhibition room. It contained 12 large paintings by one artist.

Then I asked the door attendant where next. He said that was it. Nothing else.

I left a little shocked and continued with my rambling, past the building, only to discover the front entrance was at the other end!

I had gone into the arse end of the building - so it comes as no surprise that all I saw was a lot of s***

across the andes

through the mountains

mountains road

near the customs post

chile border post (the 66th!)

my street

the 2nd hotel

detail from my window

art gallery

some church or other

protester - good to see demos are alive and well in chile

demo detail

1 comment:

Robin said...

happy birthday champ - Robin