THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2006. SANTIAGO, CHILE. I arrived in Santiago this morning after a ten hour overnight bus ride (Tur Bus, 18,000 CLP/$36). The "semi-cama" or "semi-sleeper" (doesn't fully recline) is quite comfortable, and I slept for most of the journey. I checked into the Happy House Hostel (11,000 CLP/6 bed dorm) in the Brazil Barrio of Santiago.
My timing is again great. After some research, I have decided to fly to Easter Island, known as Rapa Nui in the local Polynesian language. The only airline that flies to Easter Island is Lan, the major Chilean airline. And the only available flight departs tomorrow morning and returns on Tuesday night. In the course of trying to book the flight on Lan's internet site, the price went from just over US$1,000 to US$764. I immediately purchased the ticket at the lower fare. For some reason, my reservation was made, but I had to go into the city to the Lan ticket office resolve payment. After paying for my ticket at Lan's offices, I wandered about central Santiago, doing a portion of the walking tour in Lonely Planet.