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Santiago


View South America on Ford and Bates's travel map.

Day 36- Monday 8.4.13 to Day 46 Thursday 18.4 .13
Santiago

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So what can we say about Santiago. Well we have had an interesting 2 weeks here.......
1) Spanish lessons
We started our first lesson on Monday 8.4. Met our spanish teacher Yvette an hour earlier than we expected- we then realised that Chile had not put there clocks back yet and our watches were wrong. Luckily we were up and ready to start after finishing our half eaten breakfast! Only 4 hours behind the UK. Started with the vowels and alphabet and pronunciations. It is harder than we expected keeping focused and revising. But I think after 20 hours we both feel we can understand more and have the confidence to try and speak and put sentences together. It is a start in our learning process which will continue throughout the trip. Hopefully with more vocab by the end of it!

2) Medical Emergency number 2!
So, my ear was still blocked up and not feeling right ever since Patagonia. I felt that here was the place to try and get it sorted before we hit altitude in Quito and start our colombia leg. So on Monday 8.4 we had a trip to the Clinique medical as instructed by our Spanish teacher with a note saying I needed to see the ear specialist. We managed to get an appointment about half an hour after we arrived. We go to floor 7, the ear floor and pay a receptionist for the appointment. A very nice female doctor who luckily speaks English, prescribed me heavy decongestants and said I needed some ear tests to make sure it was nothing more serious!
Another day, Wednesday 10.4 another appointment! This time for my tests. Another payment. This time the medical assistant who didn't speak any English. I had to do a hearing test in Spanish. I managed to understand what she wanted me to do so my Spanish lessons must be working! See the Dr again, no issues with my hearing. Perfect test results. But prescribed antibiotics as thinks there is a mild ear infection. Hooray- at least I have been seen and now having treatment.
A week goes by and I start to feel better but then take a turn for the worse and decide to go back to the Dr as feel terrible. So another day, another appointment, another payment! As I mildly break down in the doctors surgery, she starts prescribing me 100's of prescriptions. Things to take now to help the blockage. Things to take on the plane if still blocked. Emergency antibiotics if I need them in Quito or Colombia (these she very kindly pulled out of a plastic bag from behind her desk so I didn't have to pay for them) and waved me on my way- saying the infection looks like it has cleared and my ear just needs unblocking. After a few days I feel much better than I did- so whatever she had given me had worked. We now have enough medication to last us our whole next 6 months!
In negotiations with our medical insurance to claim back! Looking hopeful need to put in claim when back in UK.

Around Spanish lessons and ear issue we tried to explore Santiago.
In no particular order.......
Staying in an apartment in Providencia.

Had lunch at Mercardo Central- an amazing fish market with restaurants. A recommendation from Yvette.

Went up Cerro San Cristobal (a hill) in the funicular to see the statue of the Virgin Mary.

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Met up with some of Yvette's friends for a great night out in Bellavista. Went to a typical Chilean restaurant. Where Laurence had, surprise surprise, the local sausage and spicy mash , and on to drinks in Providencia. It was really nice to see a local side to the city and have a Friday night out.

After deciding not to go to Loolapalooza we brought tickets to see The Cure on Sunday 14.4 We headed to the national stadium on the metro, no problem. Asked what time the last train was (in our best spanish) to be told 10.30! We had no idea how we were going to get back. Oh well. Onwards to the stadium we would work that out later. Arrive and head to the bar for a drink, but they are only selling no alcohol beer. Apparently alcohol is not served at large events as the crowd would get drunk and start fighting!!!
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The cure are doing a 3 hour set with 30 songs. We last for 2 and a half hours and decide to try and head to catch the bus before the thousands of people leave.
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Again in our best Spanish we ask where is the bus stop and what bus we need. Find it and get back in about 15 mins. Great night out.

Wine tour to Concha y Toro who produce the Casillero del Diablo wine. Very nice day out with wine tasting and a visit to the famous cellar where the devil guards the barrels!
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Chilling out in the park in Providencia opposite the apartments we are staying in.

Had a lovely meal in a vegetarian
restaurant recommended by Yvette.

And then all the usual, laundry, shopping as we were in an apartment, cooking, revision. Nice to be in one spot for a while, while I was recovering.

Posted by Ford and Bates 18:36

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