Saturday, April 23

South America, Day One: Santiago

To be honest I was a little anxious about the two weeks I was going to spend in South America. I'm not sure why; perhaps it was how nothing apart from our entry and exit had not been planned, or that I was missing four bank holidays away from friends and family. Perhaps it was a fear of the unknown - this would be my first time in South America and visions of the jungles of Romancing the Stone filled my mind. Perhaps my heart just wasn't in this trip as much as the other destinations I had been to?

I used my usual tactic of ignoring irrational dread, expecting my mood to change once I was on my way. Flying itself doesn't excite me as much as it did as a child - in fact an airplane seat now acts as a kind of psychological trigger to knock me out and I regularly miss take-offs now; that this was a night flight helped too.

Landing an hour early in Sao Paulo in transit for our flight to Santiago I became preoccupied with figuring out what time Fajr was. In what can only be seen as proof of a God listening to my query I met around twenty guys on jamaat, also in transit to Chile; their planned road trip down the length of the country kind of put our stint to shame really. After Fajr jamaat with them I was given the standard jammat missionary talk (to which I had become desensitised to during my teenage years), although it was interesting to find out about second generation Arab Muslims in Chile and the support they needed. All in all I took this encounter as a good sign; that things do fall into place even with the loosest of plans.

After checking into our hotel we decided to hit the tourist trail running. Heading north we took a ride on the funicular on Cerro San Cristobal to Terraza Bellavista to check out the views of Santiago as well as the statue of the Virgen de la Immaculada Concepcion. There was a cable car too, but that seemed to have been closed that day (or perhaps season?).

The rest of the day was spent hanging about Bella Vista, Forest Park and Cerro Santa Lucia in the middle of town which may have just given better views than that what we had this morning. After dinner in Bella Vista we called it a day.

We must have walked miles today and we had soaked up a lot of Santiago's atmosphere already. Still, something was nagging me about the place today; something feels missing. And it wasn't just the lack of hot chicks.


  1. YAY for blogs about South America!

  2. I felt anxious about Venezuela too for weird reasons: flying over water, it's the first time I travelled when I was the one in charge as such, going somewhere with no Muzzies, etc

    was a blast once we got there though