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Night 35 - More Chile Frustration - April 2, 2013

Since we had such a late lunch, we decided to have a quiet evening in the apartment with a bottle of wine and some cheese.  The Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon was decent for US$18 or so, and the cheese was - edible.  Chilean dairy products are one of the few things highly regulated, so all milk is sterilized and neutralized beyond recognition, and this affects the cheese and other dairy products as well.  Also on our agenda was to figure out our flight from Santiago to Såo Paulo, where we will spend the weekend before taking our final leg home on Monday night.  My internet searches had consistently told me taking Aerolinas Argentinas through Buenos Aires (an 8 hour trip) would cost about US$700 per person, but taking another airline nonstop (a 3 hour trip) would cost about US$1100 per person.  I checked with my friend in Såo Paulo, and she advised to take the longer, cheaper flight and therefore avoid the awful rush hour in Såo Paulo.  But when I tried to book with Aerolinas, they showed no such flights.  Booking through a discount website (and underlying travel agency) resulted in some suspicious requirements - like entering credit card and paying before entering passport #s or choosing seating.  I was really uncomfortable, to the tune of paying US$2000 for the ever-reliable LAN airline rather than US$1400 to the unknown website.  So off to LAN I went. 

Curiously their website (in English) did not ask for passport #s either, but I was able to cue up a 12:30 flight to arrive in Såo Paulo at 4:30pm, an hour before rush hour starts.  But when I went to pay, the website came up with "Payment Denied."  I went through the whole thing again - same result.  Third time - same thing.  WTF??  I never had so much trouble giving someone US$2000 before!  The only solution was to search for the nearest LAN office and go there in the morning.  Fortunately there was one close by, 3 Metro stops and half a mile walk.  While this was annoying, my experience had been that every time something in Chile collapses, the solution is to find a knowledgeable Chilean who quickly makes the problem disappear.  I wonder if that will be the case this time...

We passed this sign in the Metro station many times.  Not sure, but we think it means "Don't be a butt-face.  Change your career!"  Anybody got a better translation?

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