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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

28 May 2011

Two duff days for the price of one

26th May 2011 – 26th May 2011

Our flight from Auckland to Santiago crossed the dateline, so we get to celebrate our 10 month mark twice. Unfortunately neither of our 26th Mays were very celebratory days.

The first 26th May was just kicking around our Auckland motel until the airport minibus whisked us off to the international terminal. The usual formalities, along with the bitter disappointment of losing our brand new hand-warmers*, and we were on the plane. Somewhere over the Pacific in the middle of the third barely watchable film we ticked over into the second 26th May.

* the hand-warmers are little sachets of activated iron filings that get toasty warm once you open them. They stay warm for up to ten hours and are fantastic slipped into gloves; especially for Maureen whose hands turn readily to ice and who has no discernible circulation in her body to warm them up again. You can get them in the UK too, just pop into any adventure shop. The point being that they are not allowed in hand baggage, so the nice man at the airport made us fill in a form and then took them away to be safely exploded or something. They were cheap and just a little luxury, but somehow the injustice of their summary removal without anyone being able to point us to anywhere we could have previously read that “activated iron hand-warmers are not permitted in hand luggage” made us feel very bitter.

So we touched down in Santiago a few hours before we left Auckland and got another minibus to our hotel, El Patio Suizo. More of a hostel, to look at it. The local help showed us into a ground floor room that was both freezing cold despite the warm day and had a strong sewage smell. Which seemed odd to me, but she didn’t seem to find it curious and we had no shared language for me to enquire about the stink anyway.

Once we had unpacked and got changed for a nap the cause of the smell became more apparent as water was gradually seeping across our bathroom floor from no discernible source and the smell was getting worse. Outside in the courtyard there was water seeping up between patio slabs too. The girl in charge said that a plumber might be able to come out today or might not and would we like to move to a shared bathroom room upstairs? We decided to move to a different hotel instead, and got lucky with our first call.

So we got a taxi to the snappily named Chilhotel. Imagine our joy at the sight of two huge new buildings looming over the little hotel, all their reinforced concrete ribs showing and a swarm of workmen making as much noise as possible in a fug of cement dust. Having not slept for 28 hours we found that our bodies ignored our heads and marched us into the hotel anyway. Astonishingly the double glazing in our room banished the building work completely and we were asleep by 3pm. It only remains to be recorded that our pizza at 11pm was okay, that it’s now 3am, and that it’s going to take at least one more day for us to overcome jetlag. At least that won’t be another bloody 26th May!


2 Responses to “Two duff days for the price of one”

  1. Nessa says:

    I remember having 2 April fools days the first time I went to (or rather came back from) new Zealand. The thing I remember was leaving plants shedding petals and leaves in Auckland and then arriving in LA to see those same plants just unfurling new buds and leaves… Really strange to see the reversal of seasons in the course of 1 day!

    Hope the rest of chile is improving!

    Miss you guys loads xx

    • shortclaws says:

      Two April Fools Days? Fantastic. And don’t worry, Chile is improving. As soon as we get our act together we’ll put some blogs up – but our days have been long and busy, so our evenings have been: shower, dinner, stare at the computer a bit, ZONK.

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