Not much time was spent in Chile. Spent some time in Santiago and San Padero de Atacama. Chile was a bustling city, probably not as wild as Buenos Aires, but nonetheless it was filled with people in the streets. Walking out the bus station, it was immediately apparent of the city ‘stench’. Not that there is anything wrong with cities, but there is always an aura in most big congested cities. Car pollution, trash on the street, spitting and loads of more city stereotypical characteristics! An interesting attribute was the numerous Chinese shops in Chile. From restaurants to general stores. On a free walking tour, it was even mentioned that there was an underground Chinese mafia that imports many illegal goods from China. Something that just is not surprising at all.
About a 6 hour bus ride turned into an 8 hour bus ride from Mendoza, Argentina to Santiago Chile. Border control was strict. Although there was not much of security fencing, Chile was strict in allowing certain products and services into the country. First queue was getting an Argentina exit stamp and if you step sideways, it was a Chile entry stamp.So convenient… We all had to fill up a declaration form indicating that we have thrown away all our food and food related products before entering. A German fella I was travelling with forgot he had some onions in his backpack. The next thing was the border control supervisor kicking and screaming at him. Making him fill up the entire form again. It these situations ‘No Entiendo’ is the best phrase to keep in hand (I do not understand). Helps you get farther in South America!
As we were lining up watching this man jump and down, our bus driver collected some spare change from the rest of the passengers, gave it to a guy from border control, and somehow we the man calmed down and we were off to Chile! Continue reading