From the moment you arrive in Santiago, Chile, something isn't right.

Well, that is, if your experience with South America is Argentina alone. The streets of Santiago are clean, with a trash can on every corner. The transit is easy to use and efficient, even for a gringo. Cars stop for pedestrians, and most intersections have cross walks and signals for pedestrians. The streets make reasonable sense. I will at least concede that it's a little hot in the subway tunnels.

I arrived on a Thursday morning and headed over to meet Mike and Terry at our lodging place. We lodged with a Filipino family that Mike Corrigan and Terry linked up with through a mutual friend. The house was located at a beautiful high rise in a lovely neighborhood of Santiago near the Tobalaba metro station.

We got a bite to eat, and then began our self-guided walking tour of Santiago. We walked up Cerro San Cristobal and took in the view of Catholic things (statue, church, Virgin) and the city. We met an LDS missionary who was touring the premises with his parents. They kindly offered to let us use their taxi to get back down the hill, because we we running late for an appointment. We gladly paid the taxi driver for his service.

We then went to dinner with an old friend if mine, Emily Johnson. We got pizza and got to meet her boss Paul, a devoted Christian and lover of plants. I think this was a useful dinner for Terry, who himself keeps a garden.

After that, we decided to take a stroll to the Santiago Chile LDS temple. It was a pleasant evening for a walk. And we were rewarded by being with our Mormon friends in Santiago for a few minutes.

We took care of some travel business before heading home, where we were as exhausted as ever. Uncle Lito and Auntie Fe (our hosts), then showed us some slides of many of their travels. They graciously shared with us some pizza and soda as well.

On Friday, after a nice sleep and a relaxed morning, we packed our bags and headed to the bus terminal in Santiago to find tickets to Mendoza. We ended up riding in a 13 passenger van, which actually turned out quite fun (though less comfortable) because we got to know several of the passengers. Also, the driver was pushy at the boarder and drove like a lunatic, so we made the trip faster than those in buses.

The road to Argentina was more amazing than you can imagine. The number of switchbacks climbing the pass is impressive. One sees white water rushing down the hillside, and a steep drop off when one looks back from whence they came. I do not have many pictures of this road because we were moving quickly and the sun was setting, but you can certainly find pictures online.

And we made it to Mendoza safely, where we walked to Mi Pueblo Hostel for the night.

[Google Photo Album]