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Day 36 - The Pattern Continues - April 3, 2013

After our usual quiet morning and breakfast by K, we headed over to the LAN office around 10AM.  We therefore avoided rush hour, and the LAN office was not too far from the place we were to meet for a bus tour of Santiago at 1PM.  We found the office quite easily, and went inside.  The helpful Chilean LAN employee, as usual, spoke a little English.  She queued up the same 12:30 flight, but the price was now US$1500 per person!  She asked if I tried the round trip ticket.  I replied that I did not, because we were going from Brazil on to the USA with a ticket already in our possession.  She tried it to see, and it was only US$1200 per person.  Very odd to me, but normal for her to see such inconsistency.  I said it was still too much, so she researched a few more flights.  She found a flight that leaves at 4:30, arriving in Såo Paulo at 8:30, for US$525 per person.  Of course I wanted that one!  She warned me that there would be a US$35 charge for booking the ticket with her rather than online, and I assured her such a price was well justified for the work of a genius.  (!Se un genio!)  She beamed and blushed a little, then proceeded to help us with the ticketing, payment, and seat assignment.  As per the established pattern, once again a Chilean was able to make a problem disappear and save us a pile of cash to boot!

We walked down the street, stopping at Starbucks to get coffee for K (US$2.25 for a grande cafe), and to use their free wi-fi to check emails and make a few phone calls.  As we proceeded towards the hotel where the bus was to pick us up, we encountered a lady from the conference.  She had taken the bus tour yesterday and found it to be worthwhile.  She was also having trouble getting cash from the ATM, so I walked her across the street to a bank and showed her the Chilean procedure, which is not really intuitive.  

Quite a contrast in motorized 2-wheel transport!

At the bus we connected with several new friends from the conference.  The 3 hour ride was very informative, and we saw where the very wealthy Chileans reside.  Also got a good history of the city and drove enough around to get a good lay of the land.  It was a good tour for us, since it covered entirely new territory and we did not overlap with J's very helpful tour the day before.  Between the two tours we saw almost the entire city of 6 million people - about the size of Chicago city limits.

Here are a few photos from the tour...

Do NOT walk across the street, or you might end up buying a Porsche!

This tunnel goes UNDER the enormous Cerro San Cristobal that we went up via Funicular.

Chilean irony - have your dessert and then go upstairs to repair the cavities!

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