After moving our of Amira and Felipe's beautiful 11th floor apartment in Downtown Santiago we struggled to find another Couchsurfing host that would work for us. One girl, understandably, wanted us to wait until she had finished work and go back to her apartment with her for two nights, she worked until 11PM which meant we would have had to hang around Santiago until then, inevitably spending money. The first time we asked publicly for a place to stay on the couchsurfing website, we were overwhelmed with offers, the second time we struggled. We aren't sure exactly why but hope that we manage to get lucky again further up the road. One guy offered us a place but it took him a while to reply and we freaked out we would be stuck so we booked into a hostel. A few minutes later he said he could host us.
It's kinda hard letting go and being OK with not knowing where your going to be night after night. At the end of the day we know we can book into one of the thousands of hostels here if we get stuck, but they bring their own issues. We booked into 'Castillo Surfista', not far from Barrio Italia where we spend most of our days with Alejandro sorting bike stuff, or drinking coffee in trendy cafe's, it's a nice neighbourhood, it's got lots going on but without the hustle and bustle of downtown. We just discovered a great little vegan cafe where the set lunch is 3,000CLP (£3) for salad, fresh juice and we had Chow Mein with tofu.
Anyway, I said hostels bring their own issues...No major drama, we got lucky with our dorm for two nights, we shared with two Canadian girls and a couple; she was English, he was Spanish. There were a few other like minded people knocking around but after having the opportunity to meet local Chilleans we soon realised that in a hostel you are inveitable in a kind of 'gringo bubble'. Amira and Felipe, super clever and interesting journalists at a national newspaper, Tom and Amy, chefs, forragers, herbalists and great people and Alejandro - the dude, have all become our friends here. Being kept awake by some posh kid telling the entire hostel how 'fucking wasted' he got in Rio, Lima, Trujillo and every other city in South America, drunk in the garden two metres from our window at midnight was a little testing. We saved some money being there; cooked nice food in the kitchen, drunk a bottle of £1.50 wine, chilled and practiced Spanish.
There is another really great story about getting the bike racks made but we are trying to write that up properly.
Here are a few photos from the last few days.