We didn’t read/hear of anything interesting from San Pedro de Atacama to Santiago, so we decided to just hop on the 24hr bus and hope for the best. We had decided to Couch Surf (www.couchsurfing.org – might just be the coolest way to travel when backpacking) and this was going to be our first CS experience in the trip. Dao was the one to host us for a few days, and we were excited!:)
The journey was much more bearable than suspected, and we got there in the evening. Dao, his brother and his housemates are all musicians and his brother’s band had a concert that night. It was Cumbria music and we were really excited to go, but when they told us the they were coming on stage at 3am we realised that might not be the smartest thing to do after a night of 2 hrs sleep and the last 24hrs on the bus.
We spent the next day exploring parts of Santiago. We were surprised at how few people were in the streets, at how many of those people were couples passionately kissing smack in the middle of the streets (eh, Latin blood), and again at how many stray dogs (which totally don’t look like stray dogs, but rather like Pedigrees ) we saw waving their tails around.
On Sunday we met up with Anthony, a CSer from NY who started on a bike trip around Asia 2.5 years ago and he’s still on the road today, only on a different continent. Since on Sundays museums are free in Santiago, we figured going to one would be the right thing to do. We ended the eve chatting over sinful ice-cream till midnight. He gave us lots of travel tips, told us of useful apps and websites, festivals, and delighted us with some of his awesome travel stories. A most enjoyable and educational evening! 🙂
We felt Santiago did not have much of what we wanted, so we were not going to stay there longer than necessary. Hermano Tahuiro had given us the contact of Matilde, a friend from Chile, so we wrote to her asking if she’d like to meet. We could not believe her enthusiasm at having us over at her place! On Monday afternoon we said good bye to Dao and were on the bus to Vina del Mar, where Matilde and her daughter Jen were waiting for us with open arms.