The Monkey Tracker

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lessons In Santiago

Day one

We arrived in Santiago to some sort of chaotic mess of crazy people waving signs and trying to scam us. We trusted some schmo in a suit, gave him all our posessions and got in his car. The hostel was a shady looking unmarked red building next to a highly active police station. We embarked on a ridiculous mission to find somewhere to exchange Us dollars for Pesos and buy lunch. Two hours later after circling and backtracking we found an ATM. Loaded up With 100,000 pesos, we spent more time walking in circles before going to a restaraunt we first walked past about 100m from the hostel. They probably accepted US dollars there anyway, which would have saved the whole mess in the first place. Turns out the currency conversions we made in our head were about 300% out. At the time we thought we were getting some damn cheap cube roll (steak?).

Day Two
On our first full day in Santiago we were woken by the peaceful sound of jackhammers at the construction site next door. Some crazy chruch.

The zoo was to be our destination for the day and we spend a couple of hours wandering over there (trains aren't in the budget.)

We skipped the giraffes and lions and spent most of our time trying to become the alpha monkey. One wise old baboon had it all, a whole army of servants preening and grooming. Us humans are inadequate, with our clothing and feeble shoulders, those monkeys were cranking 8a dynos without even trying.

Lesson: be more like the alpha baboon and claim the high throne.

After the inspiring interaction with monkeys, we concluded walking was for suckers and decided to have a sleep in the park. We'd probably still be there if it didn't start raining. That counts as a shower! We once again delayed eating until we were highly irrational and ended up at the same expensive restaraunt as yesterday. Our lack of spanish took its toll and we ended up blowing our money rations on some plate of random unidentified raw meat and a sack of black mush (blood sausage?) That left us with a total of 1000 pesos ($2.)

We were debating about leaving the safety of our rabbit infested hostel to see the discotech scene of Chile, so we opened the front door to see how shady things were in the street.

Sirens and flashing lights, always a good sign! We cowered back into our cave.

Arriving at the airport the next day with our last 1000 pesos for breakfast, we had to choose wisely. Something about one donut between three. I still think we should have got the unidad muffin.

Lessons from Santiago

We're done with restaurants
From now on its just rice and tuna

We're done with corner stores
From now on its alleyways and supermarkets if we're lucky

We're done with ATM cash withdrawls
From now on its black market currency exchange

We're done with Zoos
From now on its just mangey animals living at the hostel

We're done with glorious extravagant breakfast
From now on we get one donut between us for $1.80

We're done with showers
From now on we just sleep in the park and wait til it rains, worked just fine in Santiago

This is an appropriate time to mention some more useful advice we have received:

You idiots can't live off a 50kg bag of rice for 90 days in the US, you need meat.

If you don't want stomach bugs, live on Mars bars and Coke in South America.

I don't know what they're talking about, drinking water looked just fine to me...


  1. Where in the world is Carmen Santiago?

  2. Good advice about needing to eat more than just rice. I am glad you are adding tuna and donuts to the diet.

  3. Alpha baboon?....didnt you seen the baboon's ass..not a pretty sight....i'd stick to being the monkey's