It took us 16 hours to fly from Vancouver-Toronto-Santiago, Chile
The same time that the sun rose on the horizon, we where crossing the equator.
Day 2, Dec. 15Th/08 Flying over the Andes Mountains Range
Finally, we land in Santiago, Chile. We got a little surprise when we had to pay an airport reciprocal fee, to the tune of $230.00. The airport was extremely busy with police and drug sniffing dogs everywhere. Many checkpoints to go through. Everyone spoke Spanish, so it was wonderful to be greeted by the Holland America Cruise staff, who guided us to out bus to travel to Valparaiso, Chile
Just outside the airport....is that a huge pineapple???? Such pretty trees!
Onward by bus to approx. 90 min to Valparaiso, where we are to board Holland American ship called "The Amsterdam", our home to be for quite a few days.
The country side is mostly mangy and wild. The homes we passed, very dilapidated and just held together by loose boards hammered here and there to make a dwelling. We passed a few lovely green valleys, and grape fields. Avocado's and grown and shipped to us from here. Passed many healthy looking corn fields too, but the whole place reminded me of Gringo Country from the movies we watched as kids. We passed many, many trucks carrying shipping containers, heading to the port.
These where the nicest places we passed!
We must have taken the most uncomplimentary road into the port, as it was very run down with old buildings, and very wide streets. The bus driver pointed out some buildings he seemed very proud of, but they did not look very nice at all. Below: is what is a very common sight all over many of the places in South America. More about that later...
Poor sad looking, mangy dogs seem to be everywhere. I guess they fend for themselves. I was going over to pet them, but got pulled back by Tom who just didn't think it a good idea!
We finally arrived at our ship, went through some more paper work, but it went quickly, got our room, which was the smallest room, we have ever had! But, we just thanked our lucky stars, we had landed and could drop all our luggage, and have a shower and head for something to eat. They did serve food on Air Canada on the overnight flight....dinner when we first got on about 1 am, and then breakfast a few hours when the sun was raising. Not bad food either, I have to admit!
They had a ship BBQ sail-away party started when we arrived, but we where so tired, we just ate a little, and headed off to bed. When we sailed away from Valparaiso, you could easily see, it was not such a horrible little place after all. We saw very big high rises in the area away from the port, and it looked very cosmopolitan.
Day two, later this evening.