Monday, July 4, 2016

Sit Down And Buckle Up, We Are Going Over The Andes Mountains! - Santiago Chile

Frankie and I haven't been back from our trip to Santiago Chile even a month yet and here I sit done with with editing, naming, and uploading all the photos to Flickr.  That is a record folks.  Seriously!

I am even starting the first post on our trip. This one, right here!  This post!

I know!  I am flabbergasted as well!  (Note the nice use of the word "flabbergasted"!)

We were smooth sailing (I guess that should really be flying, but that isn't the phrase) on our trip as we left San Antonio Texas and headed into Mexico City, as seen below, on the first of three legs of our journey to Santiago.

Heading Into Mexico City

This wasn't our first time in Mexico City.  We visited the city in June of 2014.  What to reminiscence with me? Check out those post starting here.  This time, however, we were just there to visit the airport.

I do not recall seeing this particular sign last time we were there, but it may be because we didn't have to change terminals while there the first time.  This was on the tram that goes between the terminals and neither I nor Frankie (not even my mom when she saw the picture!) could figure out what we were not suppose to be doing according to that middle picture.

Things you cant do on Airport Transfer in Mexico City

I really hope we didn't do whatever it was we were not suppose to do.  I mean we just stood there so I doubt we really could have unless.....that sign means "Don't just stand there".  In that case we are so guilty!!

After Mexico City we were on a plane for 9.5 hours to São Paulo Brazil.  I can't tell you a thing about that airport in Brazil since we flew overnight from Mexico. I was groggy and Frankie was sleep deprived. It was around 7 in the morning when we got there and we barely had enough time to get off one plane in order to jump on another one.  Honestly,  I  don't even know if we really were in Brazil or not.  It could have been anywhere as much as I can tell you about it.

The finally leg of our trip was a three hour flight from Brazil to Santiago.  It was uneventful, which we are all perfectly fine with, trust me!  With about an hour left into our flight they came on the announcements and said that everyone needed to sit down and put on their seat belts because we were now flying over the Andes Mountains.

They repeated it several times as we crossed the mountain range.

Yeah, that is not unsettling at all.

And there is nothing like hearing the warning over and over and remembering the tale of the 1972 crash in the Andes of a rugby team where most of the them died and the rest of them were assumed dead.  The ones that did survive had to resort to cannibalism.

BUT

It was easy to forget all of that when looking out either side of the plane all you could see were those mountains and they were majestic. I have NEVER seen anything like that in my life.  I couldn't believe their beauty!  

The plane was so large that were three seats an aisle, three more seats another aisle, and then three more seats.  Guess where we were...

Right in the middle!! 

No window to gaze out.  No way to take 1,000 pictures of God's glorious work.  Somehow, Frankie made eye contact with a lady sitting by a window and handed over my phone for her to take a few pictures.  

She did an amazing job!

Andes Mountain Heading into Santiago Chile 3 Before Editing

But then I used my photo editing software and the results were even more amazing!

Andes Mountain Heading into Santiago Chile 3

I have no words!

We safely made it through the Andes and people clapped.  

Clapped!!

Were we really in that much danger?? Sometimes it is better to just be ignorant about things I think!

We made it safely into Santiago and the first thing we did after checking into the hotel was eat.  

Of course!

We had to get some Chilean pesos first though.  We always just go to the ATM and withdraw cash from our debit card, but fair warning....make sure you tell your bank ahead of time you are leaving the country or they will freeze your account until they know it is really you!!

Chilean Currency

I discovered a quick way to convert the money into terms we understood.   Move the decimal three times to the left, take half that amount and add it back to amount with the decimal moved.  So in other words for the 10,000 pesos:  moving the decimal three times to the left you get 10.  Half of 10 is 5.  10 plus 5 is 15.  So 10,000 pesos is about $15.  20,000 pesos is about $30, and so on.

Frankie went this route: 700 pesos is about $1 so how many 700 are in 10,000.   I couldn't do that in my head.  I get too bogged down trying to be precise.  He did his way and I did mine and together we were just fine.

On to the food!

Frankie order a traditional dish called "bistec a lo pobre".  It is pretty easy to tell what it is and it translates as "poor man's steak".  Nothing real fancy or outlandish by American standards.  

Bistec a lo pobre-First Meal in Santiago Chile

My order was so boring I didn't even bother with a picture and can't even remember what it was.

After eating we went to the oldest church in Santiago called Iglesia San Francisco.  It was built in the 1500's and still stands today despite several large earthquakes!  (Not the original bell tower, but even that one has been around since the mid 1800's.)

Iglesia San Francisco Santiago Chile

From the inside you can really see the age of the church.  We have been to many Catholic churches in Europe and Mexico and none of them had the brick walls like San Francisco's.

Inside Iglesia San Francisco Santiago Chile

We went to another church nearby after viewing Iglesia San Francisco but I am saving that one for a separate post.  

Sorry for making you wait!

Guess what, after touring two churches it as time to eat again.  (Or we are just pigs, either way!)

This time we went to a restaurant that specialized in Peruvian food (there seemed to be a lot of them in Santiago) and ordered a traditional dish called salchipapas.  It comes from combining the words for salchicha (sausage, more like a hot dog to us) and papas (potatoes).  They have the same dish in Chile but they call it chorrilla

Mixed Meat Salchipapas - Traditional Peruvian Food in Santiago Chile

So without meaning to, we had a lot of french fries that day.  Also without meaning to, we ended up eating a lot of hot dogs, excuse me, "sausages" on this trip.  More on that later.

I hope you enjoyed this first post on Santiago and will come back later to read about the church I skipped over.  That will be in my next post and just so you know, the church is called Catedral Metropolitana and it is one of the largest in all of Chile.

Until then!

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