Cycling Chile/Argentina '04 | Santiago Index Day 55 Day 57
Day 56: Vilparaiso -> Santiago Rat Race

We hit the street again for breakfast. This time, we were not very lucky. The coffee cup looked recycled. Yak. We bought some pastries and took another ascensor ride up the hill. The view up there was not as great as the one yesterday and there were no park benches. We made do with sitting on concrete in front of someone's house. The pastries were just medicore too. One had whisky in the filling. No thank you for the morning.

It was another beautiful day. We packed up and took our 2-hour bus ride to Santiago.

Brian was kind of nervous about Santiago, for good reasons. The bus dropped us at the outskirt of the city and we had to make more than 5 miles through some of the worst traffic to get in town.

All five lanes on the main road were jam-packed. We asked a police man if the parallel side streets were better. His answer was negative. Sidewalks were packed with pedestrians, it was impossible to ride there. At one point, a police waved me from the bike when I ended up in a walking-only section on the sidewalk.

So, out of desperation, we changed strategy and tried to ride on the fast lane. It was total madness. Cars never tried to make room for us and the exhaust and fume could easily swallow me. I've to admit that was the most horrifying 5 miles I've ever cycled.

We settled in a hostel near a nice-looking church and a college. Our room was nice and clean but the person in charge was not the friendliest.

First thing we had to do was to find bike boxes for our flight back home in three days. All bike shops in Santiago seemed to gather at the same district. There, we bought two boxes for 2000 peso each, after trying many shops.

That night, we decided to treat us something other than meat and potato and had our eyes set on a sushi restaurant. Santiago is like a gigantic shopping mall. Fast food restaurants are everywhere. We walked through the rather nice plaza de Armas, a walking mall, and more indoor shopping centers. While waiting for the sushi place to open (at 9PM), we had the long-waited pastel de chocol, it's not bad but I can die happy without it.

City sightseeing was not what we intended to do. Actually, I was looking forward to return home already.

Sushi was good but not great. They don't even have roasted eel, my favorite. The Japanese chef was quite friendly but we could tell Chileans don't care too much about sushi and there was nothing he could do about it.

Just across the street from our hostel, we spotted a good ice-cream shop. For 400 pesos, the girl who always wear a big smile gave us a huge cone with two monster scoops. We both agreed that was the best value we got for the day.

Index Day 55 Day 57