February 23-25 - Santiago

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

February 23

Easily the most frustrating day of the whole trip. We'd have done better to stay in Buenos Aires and get plane reservations, but we'd already been stuck several days in Ushuiaia and had already seen Buenos Aires on the way down. We wanted to get on and see places we hadn't been, and Santiago was a logical choice. We thought it wouldn't be too hard to get the tickets changed at the airport, but once we went we were committed since Ezeiza airport is a long way out of town. Our flight in from Ushuaia had landed at the wrong airport, a small urban airport that handled mostly domestic traffic, so we couldn't have done it on arrival.

So we went out and tried flight after flight. We waited and waited. Toward mid-morning the PanAm flight back to New York (the one we were originally ticketed for) left. I was frustrated enough I toyed with the idea of just getting on and going home (I cringe when I recall actually considering something that stupid). We tried. We waited. Finally we got just about the last flight of the day, only to have it delayed for a couple of hours. We boarded and waited out a thunderstorm. As some consolation, we had a beautiful rainbow once it ended. We finally took off about sunset, which meant our hoped-for view of the high Andes was a barely visible glimpse in the dark. We finally landed in Santiago in the early evening.

February 24

February 25

The Moneda

"Mint", in Spanish, it's the Presidential Palace. This was only a year and a half after the coup that toppled Allende and the windows in many cases were still covered with metal plates.

We found out we needed a visa for Bolivia so we stopped at the Bolivian Embassy to get one. It was a short and friendly visit; the Ambassador came out, met us, shook our hands and gave us our stamped passports.

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Created 15 February 2000, Last Update