I will spend a bulk of my time in Chile in the capital of Santiago. With a population of 6 million, it’s not exactly the part of Chile that excites me the most. (Patagonia, the high Andes, and the Atacama Desert are a bit more my style). Nevertheless, it’s been fun to wander around one of the biggest cities in South America to take in the sights, sounds and smells of a very different place.
First off, the traffic is terrible, with normal rush hours lasting from about 7-9am and 5-7pm. The driving style, while apparently not as extreme as some other world cities, nevertheless makes DC or Atlanta look like a cakewalk. Driving with the slightest bit of courtesy would leave you immobile for hours, so the preferred technique is to force your way into nonexistent gaps and hope the the car/bus/truck behind you has a really good set of brakes.
On the upside, Santiago is surrounded by Chile’s fruit and wine producing regions, and we’ve gotten to see some magnificent vinyards and wineries.
I took advantage of a free afternoon on Saturday to drive to the border of Argentina with Stephen, a friend from school. We drove up one of the most amazing ‘highways’ I’ve ever seen: