A Travellerspoint blog

Day 6: Saturday 11th July - Santiago, Chile

rain 11 °C
View South America Extravaganza on Maraka Saunders's travel map.

So today was a bit of a write off sadly. We had big plans to go on a wine tour for half a day then head up San Cristobal Hill. But things didn't go quite as planned and we ended up staying in our room all day.

We got woken up around 6am by a very loud rainy day, and not long after there was a large crack in our ceiling that started leaking. So at around 6.30/7am we were lying in bed listening to this drip, drip, drip on the floor. At the same time Callum woke up feeling a little like I did 2 weeks ago. As you can imagine, a down pour of rain, a sore throat and head ache didn't give us a whole lot of motivation. So I went down stairs to request a new room (which was pretty straight forward) then we changed rooms. Went from a second floor, massive room with a double bed and 2 single beds but shared bathrooms, to a third floor small room with only 2 single beds and a private bathroom. Which ended up being very fortunate, as Callum was quite became quite ill; food poisoning maybe or water (no idea). It's ok though it was pouring down outside most of the day, so we had a nice day of watching The Mentalist and chatting about what were going to do tomorrow. Hopefully he'll be ok by then.

By about 4pm I was starting to get hungry. Hadn't thought much about food because Callum was sick. So I spent about 15mins working out how to order pizza in Spanish, then decided to go down stairs and ask the lady at reception. She was very helpful, and my Spanish was correct. Pizza was super tasty and massive, ended up eating it for lunch the next day too.

After dinner we watched a few more episodes of Mentalist, then went to bed. My body still hadn't adjusted to the time change (and we'd been sleeping all day) so I was finding it hard to sleep. 'Luckily' there a whole group of Americans that had just moved onto our floor, and I could hear them outside our paper thin walls ;-P. I decided to go join them. They have all just moved to Santiago from a University in America, and are doing a 6 month or a year exchange. Very interesting to hear about their plans for the future and where they have come from etc. Such a big move, 1st world country to a clearly 2nd or lower world country. Such an awesome experience it will be for them all. They are also staying in homestays the whole time, and only 1 person per homestay. Apparently they all learnt a bit of Spanish before they got here, however the Chilean Spanish is very fast with lots of slang and slurred words.

Money Spent: $9,500 pesos - $19 on pizza.

Posted by Maraka Saunders 17:00 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Day 5: Friday 10th July - Sydney, Australia - Santiago,Chile

overcast 13 °C
View South America Extravaganza on Maraka Saunders's travel map.

Today was a very long day, 30 hours to be exact with not much sleep.
Day started in Holsworthy, Sydney with Pete putting together a delicious bacon, egg and hash brown sandwich to get us all started for the day. The kids, being severely gluten free, dairy free etc, ingeniously made their sandwiches using hash browns with bacon inside. Once everyone was ready and we finally got our bags zipped up, we set off on our last train journey into town.
When we got to the airport our check-in line had strangely closed (we were over 2 hours early), but nevermind, that meant we got to check-in (with no queue) in business class ;-P. After our 5 second check-in, we found somewhere to sit, have coffees, the most amazing juices and smoothies, and say our goodbyes; which Riley was not up for. Had some sad goodbyes and see you laters, before the boys got restless then head through to customs etc. which for us took next no time but others found very difficult. It was pretty smooth sailing from there.

Flight was about 12 hours long, left Sydney at 11.25am and got to Santiago 11.10am the same day .... very strange.
Flying into Santiago was cool. Wish we could have been able to take photos on the plane, the Andes looked incredible!! Apart from them it was very vast planes, lots of dirt and grass.
Customs was really quick and easy this side too. Then we went down stairs and found a place where you prepay for taxis (which is recommended, as it is safer and easier, door to door and the taxi drivers can't rip you off). After getting to our hostel, checking in and leaving our bags behind (as check in wasn't until 3pm), we went for a 2 hour discovery walk around the city.
A few things to give you a sense of Santiago. It's very very smoggy maybe because most people drive, lots of people walking around too though. I found about 75% of people are smokers, there is lots (LOTS) of graffiti, very very dirty (mainly from the smog probably) I'd assume it would be a waste of money getting window washers here, as they will just get dirty again. I noticed there is at least 2 pharmacies on every block on opposite sides of the road, where we'd probably have 1 in a suburb. There are heaps of buses and taxis and a pretty good subway system as far I can tell, we haven't used it yet. Also Santiago is very loud I noticed, and all day long , it's about 11pm here and it is just as loud as lunchtime outside.
Just in case you wondering there are some nice sides to Santiago too :-P. There are some big gorgeous brick buildings around. And even though they speak super fast Spanish, everyone has been pretty helpful. Even though we can't understand them (yet) everyone looks like they are having great conversations, as they always seem to be laughing and carrying on.

Posted by Maraka Saunders 17:00 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Day 4: Thursday 9th July - Sydney, Australia

sunny 20 °C
View South America Extravaganza on Maraka Saunders's travel map.

Zoo Day!!!
Got up (in no hurry ;-P), had some yummy toast for breakfast (as per usual, to save some money and we only really ate lunch out and our one dinner with Cristina), then set on the train to Circular Quay so we could catch the ferry to the Zoo. (Which was a mad house because it was winter school holidays).
The zoo was awesome!! We saw some pretty cool animals, had lunch with the elephants ;-P and got some amazing photos of the tigers! Sooo many cool animals lots we have seen in the wild already. Also got some amazing photos looking back towards the city. It is the only place you will see Mountain Goats on the side of a cliff with an incredible view of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the background.
After a long day, we head back into town and meet up with Aliesha (my/Maraka's old flat mate) had a drink and a really good catch up about past/present and future, then jumped on a train and head home for our last dinner with the 'family'. Ate way too many vege fritters and salad. Yummm!! Then did all our washing so we could pack our bags in the morning. What a mission!
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Posted by Maraka Saunders 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 3: Wednesday 8th July - Sydney, Australia

sunny 16 °C
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Today, after getting ourselves organised, we jumped on the fantastic Sydney train system and head into town. We planned ourselves a bit of a walk from the Sydney Opera (as it was amazing weather today) to Mrs Macquarie Point. Was such a nice walk, really sunny and great photos ops. I felt a bit lazy as everyone was going for a lunchtime run / then a realized there was a actually a race on (Sydney Corporate Cup). IMAG0287.jpg IMAG0289.jpg
IMAG0290.jpg IMAG0295.jpg IMAG0299.jpg IMAG0300.jpg IMAG0302.jpg IMAG0303.jpg IMAG0304.jpg 500794C09A53BDDB8CAE1EB8297D05FE.jpg IMAG0309.jpg After our nice long stroll we decided we'd earnt a decent feed. Had the most amazing 'sandwiches' at an Italian restaurant, before heading over to check out the famous Bondi Beach. IMAG0313.jpg IMAG0314.jpg A lot smaller and emptier than we expected/imagined. (or I (Maraka) remember, I slept on the beach went was 8 with my family, I swear it was straighter). Being such a nice day we decided to grab some (expensive) frozen yoghurt and sit by the beach. (Which become our new tradition, a meal following by gelato or similar).
Getting tired we head home to hang out with the kids for a couple hours IMAG0315.jpg IMAG0283.jpg IMAG0317.jpg before going back into town to meet up Cristina (Ceroc friend) for dinner.
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Had some great chats, she gave us some great advice (as she has travelled a lot in the past), and had a really nice Italian meal (yummy Gnocchi). By which stage is was time for Italian Gelato (of course), followed by a casual stroll around Darling Harbour in the night lights, before jumping on our long train ride home. 11713523_1..256952123_n.jpg

Posted by Maraka Saunders 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 2: Tuesday 7th July - Sydney, Australia

rain 14 °C
View South America Extravaganza on Maraka Saunders's travel map.

Had a bit of a sleep in this morning, after a long day yesterday, before getting up and doing some research on what we wanted to do while in Sydney.
Then we went down to the station to work out how we were going to get around for the next 3 days.
After purchasing a week long transport pass (which allowed us to get basically everywhere we needed to, on ferries, buses and trains) we made our way into city.
We had a bit of a look around the city center before catching up with Jack (Callum's friend from school). We went to this cool little burger joint called NZ Burger Bro?. IMAG0086.jpg
Very very tasty burgers. Jack had to go to a work meeting, so we said our goodbyes and head down to Circular Quay to continue exploring.
While wondering around the city I noticed a few things, Sydney folk are always in a hurry and set on their path, so you have watch where you are going because they won't stray from their straight line, you have to weave around them. Also there are so many multi-storied brick buildings, which you never see in New Zealand, as they would just fall down in an Earthquake. The whole city is quite old with gorgeous buildings; the new ones have really cool curves and lines to them.
We went around to look at the Opera House for a bit until a nice big grey cloud brought lots of rain. So decided to grab some shelter by jumping on the ferry and heading over to Darling Harbour.
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There is quite a lot to do in Darling Harbour, but we both really wanted to check out the Maritime Museum. IMAG0140.jpg IMAG0150.jpg IMAG0151.jpg
IMAG0153.jpg As we were walking to the Maritime Museum I looked up and noticed the old monorail system that used to run around Darling Harbour. I used it a lot last time I was in Sydney. Apparently it cost too much to run, so they pulled it down but left the stations.
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By the time we got the Museum it reasonably late in the day, (as it closed at 5pm) so we head straight down to the Submarine. Appropriately named the HMAS Onlsow (where Callum went to High School). It was very interesting, so I took lots of photos. Tiny spaces for sleeping, (unless you were the Captain), lots of knobs, bells and whistles, lots of places where important people sat that made the sub operational. IMAG0147.jpg IMAG0190.jpg IMAG0192.jpg IMAG0187.jpg IMAG0173.jpg IMAG0166.jpg IMAG0185.jpg IMAG0183.jpg IMAG0184.jpg 03DB8C16BE24F4EFCE520E4ECDD5F729.jpg 0406EE7DD3A7B9A75DB8DCB2E83086A7.jpg IMAG0180.jpg IMAG0167.jpg IMAG0164.jpg IMAG0170.jpg
Then we checked out the ship - the HMAS Vampire, where I did the same took a bunch of photos and explored. IMAG0194.jpg IMAG0198.jpg
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After we'd been through both the ship's, there was only about 10 minutes left till the Museum closed so just had a quick look around. IMAG0262.jpg
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By this stage we decided it had been a long day, so wondered back to the station via the now light up Darling Harbour, and got our 50 minute train home. IMAG0268.jpg IMAG0269.jpg
The kids we eagerly waiting for us to come home to play, so spent the night playing with Transformers and drawing until they went to bed. IMAG0278.jpg IMAG0280.jpg
Pete made really yummy Nachos for dinner, then we just chat till everyone got tired and it was bed time.

Posted by Maraka Saunders 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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