To maximize my vacation time, I arranged my flight leaving right after work on Friday and coming back home Sunday night. During lunch, I took the Riverside public bus to the closest AVIS center and also redeemed my free $10 Panera Bread perk before it expired at the end of the month.
It was a smooth drive to LAX, unfortunately LAX doesn’t have many lounges and the AMEX centurion wasn’t quite done yet. Due to the COVID 19 concerns, I was wearing a medical mask out of precaution, and saw some people take it to the extreme with respirators. The lady next to me on the plane was also wearing a mask out of consideration. That put both of us more made both of us feel more at ease.
I had a layover in Bogota again (was just here 2 months ago crazy) and hung out at the LATAM gate as long as I could since it overlooked my gate.
From Bogota to Chile I wasn’t as lucky. It was a a320 neo (quiet!) which meant three seats to a row. People next to me were not wearing mask (but did not cough or sneeze so that’s cool). There was a really annoying kid behind who kept kicking the chair and even pocking his arms and legs between the seat.
I found it funny that the Santiago Chile airport was playing “Oops…I did it again” and “The Next Episode.” I remember how I got my hand slapped last time returning to USA from Tijuana for not declaring tangerines, so I decided to declare them this time. It took forever because the family in front of me had two carcasses (Cuy maybe?) in their baggage. Customs let them through, but threw my tangerines away. GO figure. My Spanish was so broken that it wasn’t worth asking them why.
I met my friend and former coworker Ingrid at a café. She will be joining me for the first two weeks in Southern Patagonia before she starts her year long bike ride from the southern tip of South America to Mexico. Talk about bad ass. This is not her first long distance bike ride, she already biked across China and also India. Follow her blog at http://cyclesoil.wordpress.com/
Our hostel was on the top floor with a great view of the Plaza de Armas right in the heart of the city. The warm sunny weather was a great break from the winter of the northern hemisphere. Sunset was at 8pm so we had plenty of time to visit Parque Tupahue and ride both the funicular and cable car.
We ended up on the other end of the park, right near the Coastanera, which is the tallest building in South America. Since my arrival at the airport, I’m impressed by the nice roads, street etiquette, and cleanliness. Did not see many homeless and street vendors are not pushy.
Of course this is South America so there was always some protest going on. This particular one was over the rising metro prices, so it was considered a small uprising. We were curious by the chanting, the drone overhead, and bond fire in street. We watched from a block away as the SWAT team rolled in and people start throwing rocks at them. We left right after the police came out in riot gear as the situation was escalating
The prices were a bit high around the Bellas Artes nightlight area, so we returned to the Plaza de Armas. Everything was closing at 10pm, which surprised me because that was a Saturday and my experience in Latin American countries was that people like to congregate at public squares. We managed till order food from a limited menu and then they shooed us out after we finished. We ended the night drinking tea and watching from the hostel balcony the police disperse another small protest that broke out in the square.