Bus to La Serena [YQrtw Day 85 Jul 3]

tur-bus in chile

Location: Santiago -> La Serena, Chile

I woke up at 8:05am and began packing all my things. Back on Day 1, I only had a backpack and my slingbag. Now, besides my sling bag, I have a backpack that is bursting at its seams, a huge Carrefour cloth shopping bag for my laptop and other important things and another smaller Carrefour shopping bag for water and food.

My luggage has gone out of hand. I even had to wear my two jackets simultaneously because there wasn’t space to put them in. By the time I was ready to leave, I looked like a hobo with my three bags and multi-layered jackets.

Thank goodness for the jackets because it was 8 degrees C when I got out. Instead of shivering, I was warm and snug, although a bit tired from my bags.

I initially thought I would reach the bus terminal in half an hour but it took a bit more time than that as there was a bit of traffic jam. Thankfully I left one hour earlier.

The Tur-Bus terminal is pretty good. In fact, the whole place is much better than bus terminals in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru. There weren’t any strange smell of piss or drunk/ drugged people hanging around.

Tur-Bus terminal in Santiago, Chile
Tur-Bus terminal in Santiago, Chile

My bus didn’t come until 10:34am. As soon as I got on the bus, the bus started pulling out of the parking space and off we went. That was fast.

The bus I booked was a “semi-cama” (semi bed) and the seats were quite comfortable. I could lean back about 150 degrees if I wanted to.

Inside Tur-Bus semi cama bus
Inside Tur-Bus semi cama bus

Through out the 6-hour journey, we were treated to three movies and no snack break. Luckily there was a toilet on the bus.

There was a very quirky Wes Anderson movie “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou“, the sleep inducing “Another Day to Die Hard” and the funny “Parental Guidance”. The latter two movies were dubbed in Spanish.

The view along the way was gorgeous. We passed by mountains and even the sea where the waves were gigantic.

Along the Chilean highway
Along the Chilean highway
I didn't know cacti grow on fertile land too.
I didn’t know cacti grow on fertile land too.

I snoozed a lot along the way, mainly during Bruce Willis’s movie.

We reached La Serena on time and most of the people got off the bus. Using a print-screened version of the hostel map, I slowly walked to the place I would spend the night at.

During the walk uphill, the straps of my bag dug into my shoulder. My hands felt like they would rather fall off than carry all the crap. So I decided there and then that I would get a suitcase with wheels.

Where do you find a suitcase in small town La Serena? After putting my luggage in the 4-bed hostel room, I walked back to the bus terminal where I saw what looked like a mall.

La Serena Mall
La Serena Mall

Indeed, it was the local mall. The inside looked exactly like one of the malls in San Jose. I was excited. I haven’t been in a “real mall” since coming to South America!

I walked around, admiring consumerism. My dinner was from a fast food place–a quarter chicken with rice and french fries at the price of S$8.

I managed to find a suitcase I like. At the cashier, I was given a discount for using a foreign credit card. My lovely black suitcase (actually, the only color they had) cost about S$100. I’ll show it to you one day.

The sun had set by the time I left the mall. I felt safe walking back the dimly lit roads because I figured that there would be less crime in a small town.

Now I’m back in my hostel room, in my warm bed. I’ll need plenty of rest for my 20-hour bus ride tomorrow. See you then!

Getting my fill of museums in Santiago [YQrtw Day 84 Jul 2]

yq at art museum

Location: Santiago, Chile

Sunday was election day so no museum was open while Monday was the day all museums close so I only had Tuesday to visit Santiago’s museums.

Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago
Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago

The Museum of Memory and Human Rights was the #2 tourist attraction in Santiago on Tripadvisor. Being the sheep that I am, I went to the museum just to see what the fuss was about.

There wasn’t an entrance fee for the museum which was “dedicated to commemorate the victims of Human Rights violations during the Military Regime led by Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990″ as noted by Wikipedia.

I shed big fat tears when I watched some of the interviews of those who were around during the coup. Luckily I was wearing glasses and a scarf so the tears could be hidden away.

After the sad museum, I went across the street to the contemporary art museum. I lied that I was a student and paid the 400 peso entrance fee instead of the 600 peso.

Unlike the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, the contemporary art museum made my laugh. Some of the works on display were clearly just trolling the audience and the organizers.

My favorite was a tiny glass bottle with eraser shred. The piece was titled something like “Copy of someimportantdrawing but erased”.

Who am I?
Who am I?
Balls of steel
Balls of steel

After the museum, I got on a bus to the city center. However, the bus stopped halfway and I had to take another bus. I realized much later that everyone got out of the bus because the terminal was nearby.

View from a Santiago bus
View from a Santiago bus

I hung around some sort of rundown mall and had a lunch of hotdog. Even though it was a fast food stall, the queue took forever to end and the food took even longer to come.

My hotdog was garnished with avocado and tomato, an interesting combination that was destroyed by the limpy hotdog bun.

Doggi's hotdog set meal
Doggi’s hotdog set meal

After heading back to my hostel for another round of honey lemon drink, I went out for museums. This time, it was the Museo de Bellas Artes near my hostel.

I went to the wrong direction of the museum and entered another branch of Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art. After this round of modern art viewing, I decided that contemporary art is not my cup of tea.

The collection at the real Museo de Bellas Artes was pretty good. However, there was a large exhibition on Gordon Matta-Clark so I thought the museum had a bit of a confused identity.

The night ended well since I got to try out Pineapple Champagne! (Just regular sparkling wine with pineapple pulp.)

Pineapple Champagne
Pineapple Champagne