A Travellerspoint blog

Easter Island

An early start

sunny 8 °C

Set the alarm for an early start, double checked by placing a wake up and set our watch alarm. The flight departs at 0915 and we needed to be at the airport at 0700. It was dark, the weather was cold, I didn't have a morning coffee and Mandy hadn't slept well. All in all not a promising start. The airport was crowded for a Saturday morning this early. The queue to check in was long and Mandy was already angry at me for dragging her along the check in lines trying to find the Business queue. It was a public holiday long weekend. Great.

Checked in and told that no lounge existed for National flights; we were told that Easter Island was considered to be international. Passed through security, found a coffee shop and had a god awful chicken sandwich.

The worst chicken sandwich ever

The worst chicken sandwich ever

No one spoke english, the coffee was shit and Mandy's linguistic skills were not so good. Things are still not looking positive.

Off to the check in counter and ready to board. Flight delayed. Next update at 3pm; it's only 8 am what the......oh its alright they have provided a breakfast for us and a lunch at the Gatsby Cafe. My last experience with the Gatsby was not good; I fell asleep after 30 minutes of the movie.

Things are definitely not looking up, the coffee is still shit. The banana is rotten and the buffet nearly all gone; not that I would have eaten that crap after the chicken sandwich. Finding the cafe was a challenge in itself based on the limited language level and Mandy's book of phrases. What's spanish for shit.

Should we take the $50 cab back to the hotel where we still have the option of a 4pm checkout or stay here at the airport. In fairness, I'm not complaining despite the previous words.....I would rather stay on the ground drinking shit coffee than trying to land on a small island with strong rain and high winds. It's just that hell, the airline was adament that we had to provide a telephone number, address and contact whilst in Chile. I must have missed their call this morning at 5am at the hotel. They must have tried to tell us the flight was going to be delayed..........because they needed our bloody number. We had been warned that LAN was good in the air but no so on the ground.

LAN terminal Santiago

LAN terminal Santiago

5pm finally arrives and we're told that the plane will leave at 7pm. Not so good on the updates, no screen announcements and the webcam on Easter Island doesn't look too bad but then again I'm not flying the plane.

Finally we're off at 7.30 and the flight is uneventful. 6 hours later we've landed on EI and thankful its dark because the runway is tiny. See a later photo.

Our bags arrived with us thankfully and after a short wait to collect them, paid our National Park entrance fee ($60 US each) we walked outside to be met by Christophe the owner of Cabana Christophe. It was still raining and windy but in his broken english he indicated that it had been worse all day. Maybe a good decision pilot.....

Christophe was very nice, presented us with a Lei and fussed over our bags into his ute. All part of the Polynesian welcome and style of people.

The Holmes' reach Easter Island. Another long day.

The Holmes' reach Easter Island. Another long day.

There are 3 flights into EI from Santiago and 1 from Tahiti each week, so it's an event for the locals. The island is so small everyone can hear the plane and knows whats happening. End of a very long day, its 2am again and we're finally off to bed to prepare for an early start tomorrow.

Posted by mandt0413 22:36 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

A day visit to Valparaiso

Trying to overcome a case of jet Lag

semi-overcast 5 °C
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A first case of jet lag. Our most recent long trips have not resulted in us getting any effect of jet lag but this time we know what it is. Had a granny nap yesterday afternoon and a disturb sleep last night. Got up this morning feeling like shit. A day tour to Valparaiso will fix that and so I got Mandy out of bed early and its off we go.

Had a small tour bus pick us up at the hotel and we did a quick tour around Santiago. This town is a contrast of "have's and have's not". Some very poor areas.

A less wealthy area of town but certainly not a slum

A less wealthy area of town but certainly not a slum

Valparaiso is about 90 minutes west and sits on the Pacific Ocean. It's a renowned holiday area for Chile. In a country with a regular series of earthquakes the houses are built on hills. Not a bad idea considering the large number of Tsunami warnings in the lower areas in Valparaiso.

The town has some wonderful houses, very colourful and in narrow streets. The hills are steep. The big downside given the tourist numbers, cruise ships and locals, is the predominant amount of graffiti. Everywhere you look.

three in one. graffiti, colourful houses and steep roads.

three in one. graffiti, colourful houses and steep roads.

I'll let the photos of this UNESCO site tell the story. Major sea port, tourism and dogs....

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The Pacific but not like we know it. Nil surf and the beach wouldn't win the clean beaches award.

The Pacific but not like we know it. Nil surf and the beach wouldn't win the clean beaches award.

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Tight streets and tighter houses.

Tight streets and tighter houses.

I haven't seen trolley buses since I was a kid.
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A big navy presence in Chile. The tour guide was typically very supportive of his country and if you were to believe him, the beaches are the best, wine the world's best and economy top of the world.....maybe, but they don't have battleships!!!

The Fleet HQ's probably the best in the world for looks.

The Fleet HQ's probably the best in the world for looks.

The dogs are something else. Hundreds of them running wild and following you everywhere. They are territorial and will follow you until they reach a spot and then go no further.

Taking 5 outside a funicular

Taking 5 outside a funicular

On the footpath at the beach

On the footpath at the beach

They also don't go anywhere near a restaurant. Restaurants are everywhere and the Chilean speciality is........

You guessed it. BBQ DOG.

You guessed it. BBQ DOG.

Stopped for a late lunch at a winery. Excellent meal and very reasonable. A bottle of nice red wine was less than $10 and 2 courses less than $50. I had lamb and mandy had salmon.

entry into the winery and restaurant.

entry into the winery and restaurant.

The Andes from the restaurant

The Andes from the restaurant

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Wine tasting too

Wine tasting too

Back onto the freeway. The driver said everyone in Chile has jobs. Not sure however if the large number of beggars at toll points and traffic lights qualify for his definition of employed.

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Particularly with face painting

Particularly with face painting

A quiet night in the lounge and early to bed for another early start for a 9 am flight to Easter Island.

Posted by mandt0413 17:02 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Sydney to Santiago via Auckland

sunny 4 °C
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Now that was a long flight. Sitting in the lounge at Santiago Intercontinental reflecting on the trip 22 hours and having a gin and tonic. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. The sun is still up here and it's 8pm, our time clocks are really out of whack....

We stayed Wednesday night at the new Rydges hotel at the international terminal. Handy for sure, up at 6am for the 9am flight. It beats getting up at 3am in Nowra to fight the traffic.

The Rydges International Airport Sydney

The Rydges International Airport Sydney

We had dinner at the Black Wattle Grill Restaurant and it was really good. Early to bed for an early start.

Walked across the road and checked in. We had separate seats allocated about 4 rows apart. Anybody that knows Mandy and I will know that's not satisfactory. The LAN Business employee sorted that out and mercifully we got to sit together all the way through to Chile.

The flight was full and our seats were at the rear of the centre toilets. Can't believe the frequency that many people have the need for the toilet. All night long that sound of airline flushing systems and aroma. I may have nightmares for years to come. What is with these people, one lady went 3 times before we left Sydney. I hate flying too but that was awful.

Arrived into Auckland on time for a 2 hour layover. Off to the Qantas lounge for a shower and Counselling. I still couldn't get the sound or smell washed out. A stiff scotch and I was back on track.

Auckland airport and a much needed shower

Auckland airport and a much needed shower

And it was off again for South America. LAN were very good but... in comparison to others it lacked ongoing information about progress and destination. Limited announcements and slow on service. Still the pilots got us there safely so it was money well spent. Not much sleep to talk of and the movies were ordinary. All in all glad we arrived and we are very tired.

We arrived at 1230 in the afternoon and headed to the usual line up for/to;

  • pay the reciprocity fee ($100 US); they don't miss you but stress that its valid for re-entry for 3 months,
  • immigration (got to watch a Jacko Labrador do its thing on my bag)
  • agricultural check (really Sir I ate the banana. It's only the skin and I had nowhere else to put it because the toilets were in constant use)

Cleared everything including last nights meal and it was off to the taxi tango. Santiago is about 25 km out of the city area and so buses were not an option. They sell taxi space here like we sell prawns, lots and quickly. We'd zipped up our bags and paid the equivalent of $40Us for a cab. Glad we did, the drivers here are worse than Rome. The big difference is the speed. I am truly amazed. When I drive 5 km over the limit. Mandy's into me. When I drive one handed. Mandy's into me. When I pay a cab driver and he cruises on 130km with one hand on the wheel. Nil. She says nothing. Go figure.

Anyway, the trip in from the airport was quick. The roads are pretty good but little in the way of rules. Seems to be quite a lot of development and poverty. The slums alongside the freeway were certainly noticeable and numerous.

Arrived at the Santiago Intercontinental and it was like coming home. We needed a shower and sleep but felt that a shower and a walk was a better option given it was only 2pm.

Santiago is not very big. I would compare it to Wollongong but with some bigger buildings. Not sure exactly what goes on here other than first impressions of a lot of restaurants and banks. In reality, Chile is the cultural, financial and political centre of Chile. We are only here for a few days and again my research paid off as I felt that a few days was probably 1 day too many in terms of sights. The streets are clean and it feels safe but alas, not much to do or see.

Downtown Santiago Chile

Downtown Santiago Chile

The Holmes's in Chile

The Holmes's in Chile

We aren't quite sure what is happening with the weather here. The Andes are visible from anywhere around the town and it feels like an early winter in Oz. At 4pm the temp is around 7 degrees and it is getting colder as the sun is setting. Like us this is the spring with summer due to commence in November. Regardless of what the weather forecasts say, it's just after 6pm and freezing. Not snow New York cold but cold. The sun rises here at 0745 and sets after 7pm at night so it's a long day in more ways than one..................

Tomorrow a visit to Valparaiso which is one of the 2003 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Goddess Chilly in Chile

The Goddess Chilly in Chile

Posted by mandt0413 17:06 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

First Leg complete

Melbourne - 4 seasons in 1 day

all seasons in one day
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Off to Sydney airport for our 3pm flight to Melbourne courtesy of Julia. Beats the bus or train everytime thanks Julia.

First stop the Qantas lounge for a pre flight drink. Tony's favourite scotch.

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Arrived safely into Melbourne for a few days work with the National Water Commission before I start holidays. Mandy will fit in a little shopping whilst I slave away in the bilge of the water industry Regulators.

Second stop the Intercontinental Rialto in Collins street. The club lounge have tasting plates.....superb.

Intercontinental Rialto

Intercontinental Rialto

Posted by mandt0413 00:45 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Only a few days to go! Off to Melbourne first.

sunny 20 °C

A lot to do with only a few days to go. Yard to be mowed, pool to prepare and house to clean. To top it off we committed to a unit purchase today and need to sign contacts, pay deposit and finalise inspection. All before Monday at 11 when Julia gets us to our Sydney/Melbourne flight. Packing starts tomorrow night.

Posted by mandt0413 04:37 Archived in Australia Tagged getting ready Comments (0)

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