Chile by name and Chile by nature!

So, where did I leave you then? Ahhhh yes, in Hanoi. Well from there, I flew directly to Chile for a conference. Now obviously I did have to change planes a couple of times, and one of those places was Sao Paulo in Brazil.

I only had an hour to change planes…and of course my plane was late, so I actually ended up with about half an hour. Hardly ideal. The helpful Ground-Staff lady told me to go through the x-ray machine, turn left and go to Gate 2. What she actually meant was turn right and go to Gate 4. Same same….

Gate 4 is divided into Gates 4A, 4B and 4C, which are downstairs, with one extra counter upstairs to get your boarding passes. I ran to this counter, in a bit of a panic. She knew how to calm me down though: “It’s gone. You’ve missed it.”
I begged, pleaded and grovelled, but she was adamant. “No. There is nothing I can do. Go to Qatar Airways and they might be able to get you on a plane in the morning.”

I walked away, passing a departure’s screen. The Santiago flight said ‘Closing Gate 4C’. ‘Closing’ is not ‘Departed’. I ran downstairs.
“Santiago?” asked the lady
“YES!” I shouted
“YES!” I squeeked “But I haven’t got a boarding pass!”
“That’s ok,” said my new best friend, “Just remember your 7F. That’s your seat number.”
And with that they put me in a minibus and took me off to the waiting plane.

Suddenly I loved Brazil and everyone in it. There can’t be many countries where they’ll let you fly without a boarding pass.

So, by the skin of my teeth, I managed to get to Santiago, and then onto Valpariso for the conference. The title of the conference was ‘Informed Citizens, Safe Citizens’ and was looking at the ways of reducing the impact of natural phenomena which cause disasters.

It was held in a Navy Museum,

and we were treated to a look around the Navy’s Meteorological Office.

Pretty cool if you’re a weather nerd!

We also visited a lighthouse.

Now Chile’s a funny place. I drank coffee, drank red wine and ate pineapple. These are not things that I’d normally do. I also don’t normally do this either:

Yes, that’s me..up the light house. I’m normally petrified of heights, but there I am, holding my shoes, as otherwise the heels would have gone through the holes in the floor.

Valparaiso was a beautiful place, with some stunning sights. This ruin was teeming with wildlife: the top bunk occupied by pelicans and the bottom bunk home to huge sea lions.

But there are also some very strange sights, like this dog. I saw the owners stop and have lunch, and the poor little pooch wasn’t allowed out of the bag.

And this great little funicular railway, which is really more of a funicular box! I’m glad it was painted like the Chilean flag!

But the view was well worth it:


About Steff Gaulter

Al Jazeera English's Senior Weather Presenter
This entry was posted in Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Chile by name and Chile by nature!

  1. Chicken says:

    Coffee? Red Wine? Pineapple??

    They are the three worst things in the world! What were you thinking? Did the 30 hours on a plane actually send you mad?

    • In short yes….I know that as a fact because (and I’m embarrassed to admit this but…) when I got to Chile I went straight to bed as I was practically seeing double by then. As I lay down there was a small earthquake. I’m not joking! However, in my deranged state, as the bed rocked, I actually thought the hotel had water beds. I tried to get it to move again, but it wouldn’t, and it wasn’t till the next day someone told me it was an earthquake!

  2. andyrussell says:

    Just had a look at your blog via twitter and realised that I have an almost identical photo of that funicular from when I was in Valpo in early November! I’d just been to a conference in Valdivia and was doing a bit of sightseeing.

    Which reminds me, I also took a photo in Chile of a cloud that had a Chile-shaped hole in it. Must blog it!

  3. Hey Andy – I’ve been on many a funicular in my time, and I think that wooden box was probably the most basic. Still, it made it to the top and that’s the main thing!

    Looking forward to seeing that photo 🙂

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