santiago general cemetery

Visit to Santiago’s General Cemetery [YQrtw Day 82 Jun 30]

Location: Santiago, Chile

Despite sleeping at 3:00am in the morning, I woke up at 8:00am. I couldn’t fall back to sleep so I headed to the hostel basement for breakfast.

To my horror, the scrambled eggs were not there. I was hoping eggs would be refilled soon and I even hung around after finishing my bowl of cereal. Unfortunately, there was still no eggs no matter how long I waited.

I head back to my room and got ready for the day out. I wanted today to be museum visiting day since I had not been to any museums in Santiago yet. Plus, most museums close on Monday so I had better get my fill of museums on Sunday.

The first museum on my list was the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. I bought a transport card–adorably called “Bip”–and loaded it with some money. A ride on the subway is 600 peso (S$1.50).

When I got to the entrance of the museum inside the subway, I found out that it was closed I then remembered that today was elections day. I went out of the subway to take a look at the museum.

Near the museum, there were several TV cars and a few policepeople standing guard. I wondered if the building next to the museum was where voting happened.

Heavily guarded building

Heavily guarded building

I took a peek at my Tripadvisor app to see where to have lunch. I walked down the street, hoping to find the elusive restaurant but failed. Instead, I captured a few photos:

Santiago building

Santiago building

Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

Museum of Education

Museum of Education

I headed back to the subway station and looked at the map. I saw a subway station called Cementerio. I remembered reading about how the cemetery here in Santiago is worth a visit.

I hopped back onto the subway and switched a line to reach the cemetery.

When I got there, I wanted to see if there were any restaurants around. Since I did not have a good breakfast, my energy was quickly sapped away. I needed food.

While I was waiting for the traffic lights, a young man in a small old car turned into my street, grinned and yelled, “CHINO!”

I didn’t know if that was supposed to be racist or just for fun. I should learn the word for “asshole” so I can use it in situations like these.

There were no restaurants around the entrance of the cemetery. Instead, there were stalls and stalls of florists, all selling blooming flowers.

Santiago General Cemetery

Without lunch, I walked into the cemetery.At first, the building on the left looked like an administration office.

Santiago General Cemetery

Santiago General Cemetery

Looking closer, I realized that the floors had shelves with plaques. This wasn’t an office. It was places to put urns.

There were many of such constructions in the cemetery–rectangular boxes with inscription in the front and presumably urns in the back.

Unlike Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires where only the “elite” were kept. The Santiago General Cemetery seemed to have a mix of rich and middle class.

The rich had elaborate mausoleums or underground tombs while the middle class were kept in rectangular space. It’s a little like real life where the rich could afford bungalows while the middle class stayed in flats.

Landed property for the dead

Landed property for the dead

HDB for the dead

HDB for the dead

The cemetery was huge! I didn’t walk from one end to another since the other end looked really far.

Interestingly, the cemetery had a few large buildings housing many different people. One of these was the “Circle of Reporters” where I assumed the remains of famous reporters were kept.

Circle of Reporters in Santiago General Cemetery

Circle of Reporters in Santiago General Cemetery

What's inside the Circle of Reporters?

What’s inside the Circle of Reporters?

This concept of keeping related people in the same place after life is quite fascinating. I had always assumed that people want to be “kept” near their families after they die.

I discovered one grave that was decorated with a lot of flowers and children’s toy. There were many notes printed on marble, thanking Carmenita for something. At first I thought this was where people came to pray for love.

After poking around my Spanish translation app, I deciphered that women who want children would come and pray for one (or two).

Carmencita's grave in Santiago

Carmencita’s grave in Santiago

Carmencita is able to bless you with babies

Carmencita is able to bless you with babies

Soon, it was time to head back. I took the subway back to the hostel. I walked around and discovered a large supermarket. I bought a large pack of green apples before heading to lunch at a restaurant.

Then I got back to the hostel and had a refreshing siesta.

santiago

Walking around Santiago/ Second hand clothes shopping [YQrtw Day 83 Jun 29]

Location: Santiago, Chile

Despite preferring to sleep till noon, I dragged myself out of bed for breakfast so I could go for the free walking tour for Santiago.

Breakfast at Andes Hostel was slightly better than the one in Buenos Aires. We actually had scrambled eggs. I love protein.

However, there is something foul about Santiago’s water. Drinking coffee is still ok but tea and boiled water tastes polluted.

The Santiago free walking tour starts near Plaza des Armas which is just one subway stop away. I wrapped myself up in the thickest clothes I have and walked to the gathering point.

The air was misty with the morning chill. An advertising board which shows the time and the temperature alternatively told me that it was 7 degrees Celsuis. However, thanks to the bits of sunlight, it didn’t feel as cold.

Santiago church

Santiago church

The tour started on time and involved a lot of walking. The tour guide whose name might have been Maritius brought us to different spots, to point out their historical significance.

Santiago Central Post Office

Santiago Central Post Office

Santiago square with a flag

Santiago square with a flag

Santiago

Santiago

For me, the most exciting part of the tour was seeing the snow-capped mountains not far from Santiago. It was the very first time that I’ve seen snow in real life.

It’s just as beautiful as photographs. However, I have no inclination to actually touch snow so admiring from afar will do.

SNOW!

SNOW!

On our tour, we stopped by a cafe where everyone ordered something to eat. I decided to order a Pisco Sour even though it was only about 11am. After about half a glass, I was rather tipsy.

When the tour ended in Bellavista, the guide suggested 5,000 peso as tip. I think that’s really reasonable since the tour took a very long time.

I joined two Australian girls and an English boy for lunch. We ended up in the touristy Patio Bellavista square since a recommened restaurant wasn’t open for pre-lunch coffee. I had a custard which wasn’t that fantastic.

Second hand clothes shopping

After the coffee, I brought the English boy to the second hands clothes street since he said he needed something warm. This was the first time that I’ve went shopping with a guy and it still feels really weird.

The first shop that we went to, Meicy’s, had clothes piled up on tables. The place smelled a bit of puke which made shopping not very pleasant. I found a long cardigan at the 3 for 1,000 peso bin but the shop owner refused to sell one piece of clothing for any cheaper.

We headed to another shop which had hangers. Here, I found a padded jacket with a price tag of 9,990 peso (~S$25). I tried to bargain it to 5,000 peso and was quoted 6,000 peso (~S$15). Not bad for someone not good at bargaining.

I also managed to buy a woolen hat for 1,500 peso. My sister who had been studying in Beijing where the winters are bitter had suggested that I get a hat.

Dinner and drinks

After the successful shopping trip, I headed back to the hostel. The four of us had decided to meet for dinner at the recommended restaurant at a very Chilean dinner time of 9:30pm.

I didn’t manage to take a siesta as I did a bit of blog work. I did get the chance to shower and change. I was ready with my new warm jacket at 9:00pm to walk to the restaurant.

Usually when I travel alone, I never go out after the sunsets. Luckily, the English boy “S” stayed near my hostel and we speed walked to the restaurant. With my jacket, I felt invincible.

Dinner at El Camareno was good. The restaurant walls were covered with words left by previous customers. I spent quite a long time deciphering the Spanish.

I had ceviche again and we shared a bottle of red wine. After dinner, the girls wanted to go drinking at a particular bar. Since I was at the place, I became the unofficial tour guide, leading everyone to the bar.

Before we got to the bar, we stopped by another bar. Here, I ordered a Piscola (A three-quarter glass of Pisco mixed with a 220ml can of Coke). I rather like the concoction when there’s a lot more Coke.

Being tipsy, I listened more than I talked. Everyone else seems to be downing alcohol like it was plain water. By half a glass, I was rather drunk and imagined how nice it would be to sleep in my warm domitory.

At about 2:30am, the girls decided to head to the main area. By that time, I became sober again and was leading the way. However, I brought everyone to the wrong place.

A taxi driver nearby told us that the bar was closed. (I suspect it wasn’t and he just wanted extra cash.) The girls decided to head to another bar. I tagged along as well since I did not want to walk back alone.

Thankfully, S thought the cover charge was too expensive and wanted to walk back. I was secretly overjoyed because I did not know how much longer I could stand on my feet.

The walk back from the opposite bank to the hostel was pretty fast. When I got into my dorm room, only 1 other girl wasn’t back. I slipped into my blanket and sheets and fell into a deep sleep.

How much alcohol can you drink in a night? Share your best in the comments below!

santiago chile

Bienvenido a Santiago, Chile [YQrtw Day 82 Jun 28]

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location: Santiago, Chile

[This post was delayed by a day because of travelling and feasting.]

Welcome to Santiago

Welcome to Santiago

Finally, I am leaving Buenos Aires. I have been in Argentina for more than 3 weeks which is about 1 week too long. I blame it on my US visa application but I should be thankful that the application was successful.

However, thanks to Buenos Aires and Argentina, I’ve met quite a few exciting people. Like me, they’ve decided to take time off from “real life” and travel/ live abroad for an extended period of time. I feel less strange.

My plane to Santiago was leaving at 11:25am and I booked a 8:10am shuttle. This meant that I had to wake up at 7:00am and skip breakfast.

While waiting for the shuttle, I managed to lose my shuttle booking voucher. (I later found it in my pocket.) When the driver asked for the voucher, I had to pretend that I left it in the hostel.

Throughout the drive to the airport, the driver was twitching. Not listening-to-music twitch but a jumpy shoulder. I was afraid he might lose control and run into something.

Luckily, we arrived in one piece.

At the airport, I found the Overexposed Model in one of the ads. For those who don’t know me in real life, I have been “curating” a tumblr called The Overexposed Model which features a stock image model on many  different ads.

I groaned loudly when I saw the ad. It’s not really that exciting seeing her on advertisements now. It’s more like a crazy nightmare.

Overexposed Model in Argentina

Overexposed Model in Argentina

Sky Airlines flight

Let’s head to my Sky Airlines flight. The plane was a small vehicle with three seats on both sides. I had the aisle seat as well as a lumpy seat.

The meal was horrible, one of those that give plane food a bad name.

Sky Airline food

Sky Airline food

They didn’t even have coffee or tea. Gasp. Thank goodness the flight was only 2 hours.

The plane seemed to take forever to land in Santiago airport. The clouds were really thick and the plane was flying around for a long time before it landed.

I took a shuttle bus (5,000 peso) to my hostel. The bus waited for a while for enough passengers before heading to town.

Along the way, I saw some beautiful green mountains. It was emerald green with a few trees lined up on its side. I’m liking the city.

Japanese lunch

Izakaya Yoko in Santiago, Chile

Izakaya Yoko in Santiago, Chile

After checking into my 6-person dorm, I headed out for Japanese. Sky Airline’s inflight magazine recommended a Japanese restaurant in Santiago that was just down the road from my hostel.

The place had two floors. I went to the second floor since the first floor was full.

I almost had a heart attack when I saw what the other customers were doing. They were drinking espressos, after a Japanese meal!

After getting over the shock, I ordered the set meal. It wasn’t until everything arrived that I knew what it was: Fish tempura with chicken in soy sauce.

The meal was delicious but the green tea was horrid. There’s something bad about Santiago’s tap water. It’s foul.

After lunch, I took a long siesta, something I needed badly.

Peruvian dinner and drinks

For dinner, I went out with Xiao Li who I “met” on Twitter. She has been in Santiago for a while and has been teaching entrepreneurship. I feel highly underachieved compared to her.

Xiao Li and her boyfriend, M, brought me to a Peruvian restaurant where I had my first pisco sour. I am in love with Pisco Sour.

This is obviously not Pisco Sour.

This is obviously not Pisco Sour but it is delicious.

Despite being on the same longtitude as Buenos Aires, Santiago is very very cold. I suspect it’s because it’s in a valley.

The night’s temperature dropped to about 7 degrees C. That is bloody cold. Luckily there’s a heater in my room so I didn’t freeze during the night.

Would you like to come to Santiago?

avenida 9 de junio

New travel plans! [YQrtw Day 82 Jun 27]

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

I was on Avenida Cordoba 3 times today for different reasons.

I was on Avenida Cordoba 3 times today for different reasons.

Today was a really stressful day. I was planning to buy air tickets to Ecuador but the booking site had terrible reviews so I headed down to Avenida Cordoba to TAME Airline’s office.

The guy managing the counter was a younger and more handsome version of Javier Bardem. If I wasn’t as stressed out about my airtickets, I would have secretly fan girled more.

Anyway, I had many problems with the tickets to Ecuador:

  1. The booking office does not have a credit card machine
  2. The only way to pay was in Argentine peso at a bank around the corner
  3. I will need to get money out of the ATM 3 times because of the 1,000 peso limit (My bank might think it’s a fraudulent transaction.)
  4. The ticket was S$700
  5. I need a ticket out of Ecuador or Javier Junior cannot sell me a ticket (This can be easily solved though.)

I went straight back to the hostel, forgoing the English tour for Recoleta Cemetery. (I’m rather sad about this.)

I decided that instead of going through the 6 problems I have with buying tickets to Ecuador, I should just head to Chile instead.

So that was how I decided my next destination: Out of stress.

Buenos Aires building

Buenos Aires building

Kung Fu school in Buenos Aires

Kung Fu school in Buenos Aires

Theatre on Avenida Cordoba

Theatre on Avenida Cordoba

Buying the ticket to Chile

When I first bought my tickets for South America, I bought a flight into Buenos Aires and a flight out of Lima, Peru.

I was worried that the ticket agent might refuse to sell me a ticket because I don’t have a flight out of Chile. I was also worried that the people at the airport might stop me from buyiboarding the plane (horror story from Javier Jr).

What is a person to do at times like this? Book a flight out of Chile. Well, virtually. I’ll explain more after I land in Chile.

After getting all the documents I need, I went for lunch with the Taiwanese girl from the hostel. We had an amazing Peruvian meal which I’ll share sometime later.

After lunch, Iheaded back to Av Cordoba to buy my ticket.

The lady didn’t even look at my air tickets and swiped my credit card for 2,400+ peso (S$600+). There was a second in which I thought about heading back to Javier Jr but thought that it’s too much of a hassle paying for the ticket to Ecuador.

Despite having my Chilean ticket, I was still stressed. Now I have to worry about currency, transportation, accommodation and pronunciation.

It’s very scary leaving a familiar place for a strange land. I feel sad that I wouldn’t be able to go to the Carrefour where the security guard knows me by sight, or buy empanadas from the Downton Abbey Thomas lookalike.

Luckily, I know someone from Twitter who’s now in Santiago. She helped with hostel recommendation and we’re meeting up for dinner. (Hurray for the internet!)

I can't promise I won't cry for you, Argentina.

I can’t promise I won’t cry for you, Argentina.

Obelisk on Avenida 9 de Junio, Buenos Aires

Obelisk on Avenida 9 de Junio, Buenos Aires

Stripper show only for women

Stripper show only for women

Tour of Palacio Barolo

I still had some pesos with me so I decided to go for the afternoon tour of Palacio Barolo. Even though my language school was in the building, I never got the chance to visit the rest of it.

Palacio Barolo was designed based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. (Don’t ask me what it was about.)

The best part was the view of Buenos Aires.

Stairs in Palacio Barolo

Stairs in Palacio Barolo

View of Buenos Aires from Palacio Barolo

View of Buenos Aires from Palacio Barolo

Plaza Congresso from above

Plaza Congresso from above

Argentina stop for school sign

Argentina stop for school sign

What should I do in Santiago de Chile? Share your thoughts in the comments section!