Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hello From Santiago, Chile, South America!

I landed this morning in Santiago just a bit after 9 am. The flight was late taking off and late landing and since somehow I am always (ALWAYS ALWAYS) stuck in a seat at the very back of the plane it took forever just to get off the thing and get in the various lines required to enter a country on an international flight.

On this flight (phewy on coach - my year flying business class on JAL has spoiled me forever) I was stuck in the middle seat which means sleep is impossible and peeing is even more difficult. Somehow I did manage about 4 hours and I can only hope my mouth was not hanging open the whole time. Sam met me immediately outside and took control of the suitcases bless his heart and we drove to the apartment.

This apartment is one I found way back in the spring when I was told I should be prepared to fly to Santiago for at least 6 months on about 3 days notice. I researched and made contact and found this place and sent the link all around as possible accommodations for the ex pats out of sheer selfishness - it is a pet-friendly place and I wanted to make sure anywhere I went was cat capable if I was going to be there for 6 months! So now I am here for 3 weeks and I am thrilled with the little apartment, even if the cats are still in Stone Mountain (not worth the stress to them for 3 weeks).

I'm on the 11th floor of a nice little building in a good area that is relatively safe. I have a tiny bedroom and tiny kitchen and tiny bathroom and tiny living room furnished with the most comfortable tiny overstuffed furniture. I have a tiny balcony overlooking other buildings with the Andes in the distance.

When Sam picked me up he immediately took me to the grocery store for simple provisions (COFFEE) and then we went for lunch and then I came back and unpacked and sat down fully intending to read for a while and I crashed hard. Total REM sleep for about an hour. Minutes after I woke up Sam texted to say he was going to Ruby Tuesday's down the street to watch the playoffs and I told him I would meet him there.

I went to the rooftop pool. You can't imagine the view of the Andes in the background between the buildings! The pool was small but cold and I spent about 30 minutes before taking a much needed shower and heading off to Ruby Tuesday's.

We watched the first playoff game which was great and the first part of the second which was tragic and then I came back home. It's now cool enough that I have turned off the A/C and opened the windows.

In my building residents still have Christmas decorations on their doors. There is still a tree in the lobby. And it is about 90 during the day (much cooler at night). How strange that here Christmas happens in summer. The last two weeks in Atlanta were cold and grey and dreary and downright freezing (13 in my backyard Wednesday morning). Here it is hot and summer and sunny and flowers blooming all over the place and people wearing summer clothes and cute sandals.

I feel like I have been picked up and put down on another planet and yet Santiago feels so much like home - the people don't LOOK different like they did in Mexico and Japan. They look like you could set them down in St. Cloud MN or Atlanta or LA and you would never think they weren't American.

These are just my first impressions. I am sure I will have more realistic impressions when I have been here more than 24 hours and I'm also sure most of my impressions have to do with the fact that I am living in a very good, relatively safe part of the city. But so far I can report that the people are very friendly, the city is drop dead gorgeous, and the view of the Andes is more than I could ever have imagined (just wish the smog didn't mask most of it). I am thrilled with my little apartment, and now I need to deal with the fact that it isn't 10:45 pm, it's 12:45 pm which means I am up far too late!

Photos to follow and also some video.

1 comment:

KL said...

Wow! Santiago sounds so bien!

I've been on a mysterious 3 month absence, but I'm happy to be catching up with you through your blog!

Today it was 65 degrees in Atlanta! I don't miss last week's 16 degrees after being able to walk to the grocery store today!