Feb 20, 2008
Say it with me: Chee – Lay
After building up Chile and placing it on our proverbial pedestal as the solution to all our woes in Bolivia, (see previous posts) it has certainly lived up to our high expectations. As we stepped out of our taxi onto the busy streets of Santiago, we were astonished by the stark contrasts one can’t help but notice when compared to the third world Bolivia that borders this thin country of Chile. Only twenty years after the rule of the infamous dictator Pinochet, Chile has risen to become the 37th most developed country in the world, and by far the most western in South America. What does this mean to Amanda and Leighton?; paved roads, air conditioned buses, hot showers, supermarkets, meters in taxis, and prices at least 5 times more than those of its neighbors to the north.
We spent three days wandering the ice-cream laden streets of Santiago. It seems that every meal in Chile has ice cream in it. Amanda and I are in ice cream heaven! We then took a 2 hour ride to the coastal village of Valparaiso. This hilly city packs more charm and character in its hills and valleys than Fox’s latest installment of The Bachelor. The hills were alive with beautiful homes and graffiti art. We spent a day burning our pale bodies at the unspoiled Playa Grande (Big Beach) in the town of Quintay, 1 hour south of Valparaiso. There is a certain charm to Chile that seems to have captivated Amanda and I. It has fully embraced wealth and development, yet somehow managed to bring its good friends tradition and culture along for the ride.
Yes, Chile seems to be to cure to all of our ailments. We have an 8 hr day hike to tire us out early tomorrow morning, then we are heading further and further south towards Patagonia. Chile is beautiful, friendly, western, and expensive. – Just like home but with more Spanish accents.
PS.leave comments, we miss everyone.