So here is what I did today, my one full day in Santiago....
I woke up at 10, went for a run in the park nearby, which was lovely, actually. In my three months of living here in 2003, I never went to the park, so I never knew what I was missing. It is extremely clean, with running and biking paths, and a little laguna with boats. I ran around for a while, realized that I am horribly out of shape after 12 days of decadence in Buenos Aires, came back, showered, and then chilled with Margarita for a while. She showed me pictures from her trip last year to Rio and Buzios, so I got to see pretty pictures of Brazilian beaches --- oooh I miss Brazil already!
I ventured by myself down to the Che Legarto Santiago to see if they had maps of the city but was intimidated by the bars on the window and didn't go in. Instead, I went across the street to the Los Heroes bus terminal and bought a ticket to Mendoza for tomorrow morning. The area I was in was pretty deserted and looked boring, so with my ticket sorted, I got back on the metro and went to Baquedano. As soon as I emerged from underground, I knew exactly where I was! I crossed the river and went into Bellavista, towards the Cierro San Cristobal, a big hill with a zoo, a park, and a big statue of the Virgin Mary at the top.
Last time I was in Santi, my girl friends and I hiked to the top of the hill (doble oof) and then took the crazy teleforico egg thing down to the bottom, where we got completely lost and wandered aimlessly in Santiago for 3 hours. Wasn't going to reenact that scenario, so this time I took the funicular, a little, rickety tram, up to the top. I looked at the virgin, wandered around the gift shop, stared out at the city, ate a granola bar, and went back down. I had fun wandering down Pio Nono street and looking at all the bars and empanada shops, but I really wished I had someone there to share it with me, especially one of my friends who had been here with me two years ago. It's weird to visit my old haunts without my crew there to relive it with me.
Afterwards I had a hankering to go to the UniMarc, the grocery store near my school where I used to eat lunch (avocado, bread, and turkey) almost every day with Dan VanTasma, Brooks, and Julia. I went in, bought some bread and queso fresco, then took it to the McDonalds outside of the Tobalaba metro and ate it. I got creeped out by the mayonnaise-slick pigeons so I got back on the metro to Escuela Militar, got off, and got on the first bus that was stopped. I asked the micro driver if he went to IV Centenario, which I thought was where I needed to go to get home, and he said yes. I thought to myself, ¨Stephanie, you are SO good,¨and was patting myself on the back for the next 30 minutes, until I snapped out of it and realized I had no idea where the hell I was. Turns out I had missed IV Centenario, but even if I hadn't, IV Centenario is a huge street and I would have been lost anyway. Go me. I switched buses, ended up somewhere else completely unfamiliar, and ended up taking a taxi back. It's not Steph in Santiago unless I get lost on some form of public transportation, I suppose.
This eve I ate dinner with Marg and Is -- empanadas de pizza and chocolate Easter eggs -- and now I am super tired and wanting to hit the sack... I leave for Mendoza tomorrow at 9:30, yay!