I’ve made it across the Pacific Ocean to Chile!
Learnings & Observations:
– Chilean Customs officers may or may not fine you for bringing in fruit and not declaring it, depending on the mood of their boss when they ask.
– When getting a share-taxi from the airport, the only instructions after paying at the desk are: “Go to door 5. Find Antonio”
– Keeping within a road lane is completely optional – why do that when you could drive hovering over 2 lanes and weave in and out of traffic as you please?
– English is not the common language spoken by travellers here; there’s lots of Spanish and French.
I feel like I’ve been up for ages. Woke up at 5.15am in Melbourne fly to Sydney first to then get on a 12 hour flight at midday to Santiago which arrived at 11am local time. At first I was a bit worried that I’d get to the hostel far too early and not be able to check in. Ha! Well luckily I forgot to eat/takeout/declare the pear my mum gave me this morning and was given a complete tour of the Custom’s processes.
First there’s the bag scan, then the explanation of what’s wrong, then the seat at the small exam-like table near the exit with a lady writing in cursive handwriting without talking to you, then photocopying of your passport (when they then lost my departure card on the photocopier) then into an office to sign another 4 papers and another paper to say you have signed the first however many, then the “you might have to pay a fine, I’ll ask my boss”. 30 mins later and I’m free to go. Sadly, my 112g pear was not so fortunate. All done, by the way, with very few English words spoken.
Oh, and how could I forget to mention that on arrival, Australians have the privilege of paying a $117USD reciprocal visa fee. The visa is only valid for 90 days (3 months). I’m here for 1 night now and will be back in Chile in about 4 months. Making this 1 very expense night in Chile.
Overall, the actual travel part so far has been good. Got checked in straight away and into business class 😀 Wasted no time in changing into my QF pajamas after take off. Knew where to go to buy the visa before lining up at immigration (the problem I had last time I was here). Upon exiting you have to push past all the taxi drivers sticking taxi signs in your face to walk all the way across the terminal for the share taxis – Ask for Antonio.
So up tomorrow at 3.45am to get the 7.25am Avianca flight to Colombia! (Still haven’t listed for that flight yet so fingers crossed)