December 6 – San Antonio, Chile
San Antonio, Chile is a fishing town and is the closest port to the capital, Santiago.
We studied the things to see in Santiago and the time required to get there (an hour and a half each way) and decided instead to stay in San Antonio. We also could have gone to Valparaiso, also about an hour a half away, but while it looked more interesting than San Antonio, it wasn’t worth the trip. Valparaiso was formerly the port at which the ship stopped, but apparently labor strikes there made it unreliable.
Leaving the ship, we walked along the waterfront, which was totally consumed by the local fishing industry – hundreds of small fishing boats crowded the harbor, with fisherman cleaning their catch on the dock.
Family outing? Or the whole family working at fishing?
At one of the docking and fish cleaning areas, sea lions and gulls swarmed after the remnants.
While the large male sea lions sunned themselves on the rocks.
At the end of the waterfront walk was a very large, modern mall. Sally did a little shopping for a few things she was running low on, I used the ATM to get a little local currency – 885 pesos to the dollar. You could be a millionaire pretty easily here.
In the mall I learned the risk of traveling without Zaga, who speaks Spanish, and several other languages fluently. We wanted a couple of Diet Cokes, so went to the food court, to “Juan Maestro” (a sort of Chilean Arby’s). The order taker could not understand “Diet Coke” and I could not pronounce “Coke Sin Azucar”. She pointed to a picture on their menu which showed a Diet Coke and I said “si”. What I didn’t notice was that the picture was part of a “meal”, so Sally and I enjoyed our Diet Cokes along with 2 Juan Maestro sandwiches and an order of fries. They actually tasted pretty good.
This picture from the top floor of the mall shows the harbor and our ship in the background.
As we walked back to the ship, I took some pictures to capture San Antonio. While Chile has the lowest crime rate in South America, it must have the highest graffiti rate. Some of it quite difficult to interpret.
About 1000 people ended their cruises here, and another 1000 got on. Here cueing up to board. It is interesting when this happens – 1000 Americans replaced by 1000 Europeans – culture change on board.
And now, off to Puerto Montt.