First stop South America (then NZ, Oz & South East Asia) travel blog


Because of the earthquake I decided to travel to Santiago on the same day I was due to fly out. It was a 24 hour bus ride to get there and I didn't get much sleep on the bus. So when I arrived early in the morning I was absolutely shattered. I was approached by a really nice taxi driver, or so I thought. He recommended a hostel and chatted all the way there. When we got there I gave the driver 20000 peso's and so needed 11000 peso's change (I knew he was overcharging me but I was tired). As soon as I gave him the 20000 note he distracted me by speaking in Spanish and pointing to his meter. When I looked back he was holding a 2000 peso note and demanded more money. I told him it was a very clever tick he had just played and demanded my change from the 20000 note I had actually given him but he refused and this went on for 5-10 minutes. I was getting nowhere and I realised that I was in a quiet street that he had taken me to and that I really had no way of winning in this situation. But I persevered until the taxi driver pretended to have a gun or some form of weapon concealed in his leather jacket and said in English 'there's big problems for you now'. So the taxi driver left with my money, which irritates me immensely! But on to Santiago (and bear in mind that my opinion is slightly tainted by this incident!). I would describe it as just another big city. I imagine that if you have some time there that it might grow on you, but I didn't and it didn't. Whilst I was there it was hard to tell that there had actually been an earthquake, other than a few cordoned off buildings with huge cracks in them. But the international departure lounge was a few seats in the car park of the airport so this was an indicator of the damage and chaos that had been caused.

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