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: