Chile: Post #1 of many….

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Chile was fantastic.   I really felt that I’d had a vacation.   Generally I go home to Australia and although I love it and really look forward to it,  I spend my holiday rushing about fitting visits to all my family & friends into a short time and when I come back to work I don’t have a lot of stories about new experiences.

I took over 1,000 photos!    When I saw the number it made me wonder if I’d just walked around absorbing everything through my viewfinder!   But no, I really did soak everything in and loved every minute of the experience.

I landed back in DC after midnight on Wednesday and by the time I got home and to bed it was after 2am; I spent most of Wednesday-day on the couch!    I bounced into work yesterday and have barely shut up about Chile since.   I now have to do at least 2 more trips – one to explore the north and another to explore the south and I’d readily retrace where I’ve just been.   I have been saying to people –  “it’s only 11 hours of flying”.  Doesn’t seem like anything when you compare it to flying DC to Australia.

If you are very lucky you will get a postcard but, if you don’t, it’s not because I wasn’t going to send you one (though it might be that I don’t have your address).   I’d intended to do two rounds of cards but after my first trip to the post office those 2nd round cards were never purchased.  The hotel concierge directed me to what seems to be the only post office in downtown Santiago.

Inside I discovered rows of people sitting in plastic chairs as one finds when visiting the DMV here or RMS (Roads & Maritime Services) in Australia.  It was obvious that you had to take a number (Business or General) and sit.

The counter display showed there were 42 people ahead of me!  . …   Surprisingly, the wait was only 20 minutes and during that time I noticed that no-one was actually leaving the counter *with* their mail.  Looking around I could see no obvious mail boxes or slots in which to put your stamped mail  (and I never saw a post box on the streets).

At my turn I handed over my postcards and uttered some mangled half-Spanish.  The clerk then did a lot of writing before telling me a total which I didn’t understand but which my 10,000 Chilean pesos more than covered.  The receipt came back with each postcard itemized and I was thus dismissed.  Hopefully someone out the back is in charge of licking the stamps and that the cards are eventually delivered….

The Edificio del Correo Central (Central Post Office Building) was designated a National Monument of Chile in 1976.  Construction began on the building in 1881, designed by Ricardo Brown it is on the Plaza de Armas on a site that held the Presidential Palace until 1846.  It is a lovely building:

I’m looking forward to spending the weekend playing with my photos and labeling them before I forget what they are.  I might have to straighten up any taken after our daily ritual of Pisco Sour sampling….  IMG_6430_1

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12 responses

  1. I hate going to the post office just to buy stamps or deliver a package, but sometimes it can’t be helped, especially if I’m shipping something overseas. If I had to take a number while being seated in a waiting area, I think I’d go nuts!

    Love your haircut in that photo! Is that a recent change in your ‘do, or have I been less observant lately? 🙂

    • When the manservant saw my number & that 42 people were ahead of me in the queue he asked “do you *really* want to wait?” and then went off to the postal museum (in the same building). I didn’t want to leave because I imagined them whizzing through those numbers and getting to mine in 5 minutes LOL. In fact it only took the manservant 5 minutes to go through the museum section – he said it was just him and the security guard.

      I was surprised at how efficient they were really – I think there were 8 or 9 windows open and it seemed that the “business” numbers got priority. I was a bit worried when I saw some windows closing up (it was lunchtime) but just as quickly new staff came on.

      Thank you re the hair – that’s my “wash & wear” look.

  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed yourself and felt like you had a real vacation! It was a pretty short trip, I guess you packed a lot in. I look forward to your next posts (hypocrite that I am withholding all my trip posts and pictures out of sheer laziness)! I think during my trip I only went in to one post office which was in Vienna, everywhere else I just bought my stamps at a news stand or tourist shop and dropped them in boxes which were usually plentiful. The Vienna experience was so much like being in the states though, there was an old woman in front of me who was taking so long and it was like “just one more thing” and the women behind me were getting exasperated and I couldn’t help but chuckle.

    • I was a bit surprised at how much we were fitting in. We’d leave the hotel after (early) breakfast and not go back until after dinner. I also planned what I wanted to see and we organized each day so that we were doing the things in an efficient order rather than backtracking etc.

      Yeah, I am used to just giving postcards to hotel people and having them deal with it but it wasn’t an option here at least not where we stayed. There were no “tourist shops” in Santiago (unless you count the museum shops but even those were sparse – not like here where they have you exiting through a shop!) – I got the feeling that Chile doesn’t really need tourists to keep their economy going. In Valparaiso it was more touristy and I *did* see a little red postbox outside one shop but I was over wanting to mail anything by then.

  3. Woo, what a big time you’ve had!

    I bet it was amazing. It looks comfortable, too, I’d be afraid it was too hot being in the south (erm, I should probably not rely on my memory from grade 3 geography).

    Thank goodness for digital cameras, right? You’d be spending as much on developing and prints as airfare otherwise 😀

    • The triangle we saw, central Chile, has a Mediterranean-like climate so not too hot but we did have a few days in the 80’s which is getting a little warm for me.

      I said something similar to the manservant about the photos. I remember when one used to think very carefully about each shot so as not to “waste” it. We’d have a roll of 36 and would always be very careful when we got down to the last couple – we’d be saving them incase we came across something really good/important/funny etc! 🙂

  4. I’m catching up here (cat’s been sick, life’s been crazy) VERY envious that you got to visit Chile. It looks just spectacular. The city looks more packed with massive architecture than I would have expected.

    • Oh, your poor cat. I hope he’s better now. I was surprised at the architecture in Santiago – the buildings were very heavy looking. They have a *lot* of earthquakes so their building codes are stringent and their buildings are sturdy.

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