Well, Alex made it to South America safe and well. It took her 2 hours to get through Immigration and Customs at Santiago though… I was starting to think about who I’d need to call to find out where the heck she was. It was a huge relief to see her walk through the doors!
I hadn’t booked anything for her first day in Santiago since I thought she’d be tired after the flight. We went for a walk to San Cristobal as I wanted to take her up the funicular for some great views of Santiago. Unfortunately, there was a national strike, so the place was closed. Instead, we went on the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus – although we had no intention of hopping on and off, just going for the 2 hour ride around the whole of Santiago. She slept through most of it. I enjoyed it though.
The next day we did an all day trip out to Valparaiso. Very nice indeed. It reminded me a bit of Cuba and also a bit of Buenos Aires. I loved the old part of the city with the colonial houses, lots of colour and lots of character.
The following day we headed into the mountains. We went to a ski field called Valle Nevado, which was at around 3000m. This was a good test to see how she’d cope at altitude. No probs what-so-ever! That was a big relief.
On Thursday we made our way to Peru, just staying in transit in Lima and then making our way to Trujillo.
Alex got her first real taste of ‘oggling’. Being a gringa here gets you a lot of attention. Being a 16-year-old, very tall gringa makes her the oggling target of pretty much everyone. But, they just look… no-one approaches.
She’s also been struck by the constant tooting of horns and lack of use of indicators. It is pretty noisy if you aren’t used to it. I tried to explain that the tooting is just taxis letting you know that they are there if you want them. Yes, it is grating to have the constant tooting, but you do get used to it after a while.
The place we are staying in is pretty basic but clean. The lady running it is also an archaeologist, so she’s been our guide on our day trips out of town.
I’ve never been this far north in Peru, and I have to say, it is pretty spectacular. Well, not the town of Trujillo, but certainly the ruins around here. Chan Chan in particular was very spectacular. It’s amazing that this part of Peru gets barely a fraction of the tourists that places like Machu Picchu do. I’m sure that will change over the years as more people visit and then tell their friends.
Tomorrow we will be making our way to the town of Chiclayo, seeing more ruins along the way. Should be fun!