Hopping onto a morning bus, it was delayed about 40mins, showing signs of things to come. The drive to the Chilean border from Mendoza was about 3hrs, and about 2hrs into the drive as we were in the middle of nowhere up the Andes, our bus broke down…. Luckily, we stocked up on food for any contingencies, and we only had to wait about 1hr next to a run down set of train tracks in the middle of nowhere up the Andes.
Chatting up with fellow passengers, we met a Brazilian couple, two travelers from Portugal and India respectively, and some Australians that look like they’re here to try out for a rugby team, with their jerseys and slacks, and going everywhere with a rugby ball (?) as we waited. Luckily, another bus from the same company stopped by about an hour or so, and it was good as this bus was an upgrade from our bus. Leather seats, yea!
At the border, we waited about 2hrs to go through Chilean customs. As mentioned before, these guys are serious when it comes with protecting their border, and the main reason it takes so long is because EVERYONE has to take their luggage to get scanned while they inspect the bus for anything suspicious. Thorough, but annoying for normal people like us. Snacking on an empanada, it felt like a LONG time as we waited for buses ahead of us go through customs. We were happy to get back on our way to Santiago.
As we neared the bus station in the centre of Santiago, the streets got narrower and traffic got more serious. Stuck in a tiny alley barely able to fit two cars let alone tour buses, we were stuck in traffic once again until we FINALLY got off the bus, into the bus station and a bit clueless of where we needed to go. The bus station was crowded and rowdy, but the Brazilians were nice enough to pass along a map they had so at least we can figure out where we were. Disoriented and quite hungry, we did the most logical thing, follow the flow. Eventually, we made it to a subway station, and figured out how to get to our hostel. The subway in Santiago is EXTREMELY efficient, clean, organized and beautifully decorated with wall murals. Makes the BA metro system look like a dump….
Our hostel was located about a 15min walk from the subway, but was very cozy and we were lucky enough to get a massive room all to ourselves as nobody else was there. We stopped nearby at a sushi restaurant for dinner. For some strange reason, Santiago has a ridiculous abundance of sushi restaurants!! The sushi was alright, the ramen probably worst than instant noodles, and the rolls had a lot of cheese in it…. hehe, interesting experience.
Not sure what to expect in Santiago, but we’ll do more exploring tomorrow!