Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.
Today we’re still in South America and we’ll take a look at the yummy things in Chile.
I spent a short time in Chile. In fact, I made the decision to go to Chile less than 24 hours before the flight. Initially I had planned to visit Ecuador but there were flight complications so I ended up buying a US$400 ticket to Chile.
The only reason why I was in Chile was to hang around for sometime before heading to Peru where I would be spending a month with a 30-day visa.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location: Santiago, Chile
[This post was delayed by a day because of travelling and feasting.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
The booking office does not have a credit card machine
The only way to pay was in Argentine peso at a bank around the corner
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.)
The ticket was S$700
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.
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.