Santiago, Chile: Day 1

After 20 years, my dad is finally living out my his dream of being an international pilot, and I must admit, it is working out quite nicely for me, too.  
So, when he got assigned a trip with a two-day layover in Santiago, I insisted that he would need an experienced Spanish translator to accompany him in this foreign city… but we couldn’t find any of those, so I went instead.  I’ve only been on my dad’s plane one other time–to Chicago when I was maybe 10–so I was all over this opportunity. 
This trip was not only my first time to Chile, but also my first time being spoiled rotten in business class for 10 hours.  I mean, really?  They “give” you a four-course meal, alcohol, an iPad to play with, a toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, an eye mask, hot towels, newspapers, a brush, moisturizer, a puppy… No wonder American Airlines is bankrupt. The flight attendent even offered to read my book aloud to me… but I just wasn’t comfortable accepting that offer.  I don’t feel as though I have reached that level of celeb-status yet.  Oh, and your seat reclines fully, which was just so very convenient for an overnight flight. If you want the truth, I was kind of bummed when we landed.
We arrived at our fancy hotel, which we shared with the Korean president (scandalous!), and…
took a nap.
Yes, there we were in the capital of Chile with the president of Korea and we decide go to sleep. My dad did, however, fly through the night, so it was only fair that he got an hour or two of shuteye before we started exploring the city.
 
Finally, Sleeping Beauty sensed someone impatiently watching him snooze, so he peeled his eyes open and we were off to hike San Cristobal Hill, located a mere ten minutes from our hotel.
The weather was perfect for hiking–high 60s, sunny. And the further we hiked, the better the view.
The building in the picture above is the Gran Torre Santiago, the tallest building in South America. Also a great landmark for when you get lost.
After about two hours of hiking, we reached the summit where the “Blessed Virgin Mary” and her shrine greeted us.
After exploring the peak, we were a little weak in the knees, so we took a shortcut and jumped on a funicular ride down to the other side of the hill.
In the picture below, you can see the hill that we hiked.  You can also see a very small, white Mary hanging out by the radio tower.
On the other side of the hill, things were a little funkier.
We found alpacas hanging out on street corners…
Lots of bright colors and interesting sculptures…
And fun markets to wander through.
We even found some crosswalk/red light entertainment.  Clearly living the Chilean dream!
Click here for information about Santa Lucía Hill, a fort we explored on Day 2!
 

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