Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hola from Santiago!

Alright, right off the bat, forgive me for crazy typos, international keyboards are a struggle.

After an entire day of shuttles, airports, planes and more shuttles, I arrived in Santiago, by way of Houston, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama City and finally Santiago. Thankfully, Copa Airlines upgraded me to business class for two of the flights and now I´m spoiled. Hopefully, they´ll upgrad me on the way home too.

On Monday, I got up at 3:30 a.m., finished tossing things in my bag and caught a shuttle to the airport (it was even too early for the Metro). As soon as I was in the van, I thought I had forgotten the camera - cue panic! But, no, it was safely in the bag. Same for the passport.

At the airport, there was confusion since the system had somehow put my fights in the wrong order, but a wonderful ticket agent from United got everything sorted and I was on my way.

The first flight landed a few minutes late so I had to hustle to the next gate and made it just on time, to sit between a baby and a guy backpacking in Honduras. He moved to give the mom more space, but I sort of wanted to talk to him more, he´d been to Chile and is a political science doctoral student.

That flight was late too so when we landed in Honduras, which is scary by the way because you come through the mountains and at the end of the runway, it just drops off a cliff basically into town. Yikes! Someone from Copa Airlines came to get me and walked me through the airport, skirting customs and all kinds of things to get me to my next flight. Lukyme, because I never would have made it on my own. On that flight I was in business class, which was basically first class and had a row to myself. The flight attendant called me Miss Jennifer and was patient in explaining things to me in English since my Spanish is lackluster at best.

That flight was on the ground in Costa Rica for about 30 minutes and then we were off again. I still had a row to myself and it was great. Got so much reading and napping done. Then we were in Panama City. You don´t have to go through customs there if you´re connecting to made it just in time once more to my last flight. Back in business class on a bigger plane, it was great. The whole seat reclined and I actually slept on the flight. I watched most of the Iron Lady, but fell asleep at the end. Oh well.

Once in Santiago, you have to pay a $160 fee, since we charge Chileans to get into the U.S. Then customs wasn´t a problem, then made my way out and found a shuttle to a hostel that I did not have a reservation for, but hoped for the best. They are so nice and found a bed for me, since I arrived at 3:30 a.m. local time. Of course, then I couldn´t sleep.

Now I´m sorting out my plan for getting back to the airport tonight when I head to Easter Island on an overnight flight. Not sure what I´ll do there yet, and I´m trying to get an idea now, but will probably just wing it when I get there. I´m considering renting a horse...yikes! That´s what the locals prefer you use to get around other than walking I read. Tours are crazy expensive, so I might try that. Hopefully I can find the luggage storage at the airport so I don´t have to lug my bag all over. If none of that works, I´ll head to a hostel and see if they´ll let me stow my bag for the day since I fly out again tomorrow night on an international flight.

When I get back early Thursday morning I have to find a bus to Puerto Montt where I catch the ferry and then things settle down just a bit.

After I leave Santiago, I think internet connection will be sparse for a few days, so no worries, I´ll check in and post when I can!

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