Tuesday, July 10, 2023
So, the boarding was supposed to start at 7:05. Delta is usually right on time. Not tonight of course. Announcement came on that the plane was still being cleaned. They finally started the pre-boarding at about 7:20. They had to make so many announcements to ask people not to crowd the entrance way and back up for their section to be called. Why people were so anxious to get in a plane that they would be in for 9 hours, I don’t know.
Once we were all seated, the Captain made an announcement that the plane was being filled with water and we couldn’t take off until that task was done. WTH? He sounded ticked off that this process had not taken place earlier in the day. But there we sat and sat and sat. We finally took off at 9:43. At least the attendants delivered pillows, blankets, eye masks, earplugs, and bottled water to us while we waited.
I started watching Dr. Strange and the Multiverse. Periodically, announcements about our delay would come on. Okay. I know the movie stops when an announcement is going. But this flight – once the announcement was made in English – it was repeated in Spanish. It really got annoying when the safety video had a glitch and hard to start all over in both English and Spanish. Sigh.
As I mentioned, we did finally take off at 9:43. The attendants soon came around and offered us either a chicken dish or a cheese ravioli dish. I chose the ravioli. It was not terrible. Came with a small salad and some cooked broccoli. The salad was cold, and the ravioli was hot. I’m good. The dessert was a lemon biscotti which was fine. Chuck said his chicken dinner was okay also.
After the Dr. Strange movie, I watched Thor: God of Love and Thunder. Cute movie. After that, I put in my earplugs, put on my sleep headband for the white noise, and tried to get comfortable. My sleep was intermittent at best. We had one crying baby whose shrieks probably set a new record for intensity. Luckily, he or she had the problem solved so the shrieking ceased.
Sometime during the night, we moved ahead two hours. So about 5:00 Chilean time, the lights got brighter, and the attendants started bringing everyone a mcmuffin type sandwich and some fruit.
We landed at 8:15 Chilean time – one hour and 15 minutes longer than advertised. I figured Santiago was the final destination for most of the passengers but if others had connecting flights to catch, I felt sorry for them.
Once we exited the plane, we walked – and walked – and walked – with the signs that kept pointing to passport control. In some sections, they had those floor “people movers” to get the crowd to move faster.
Finally made our way to the passport control line. Only question I was asked was where I was going to stay in Chile. I gave him the name of the hotel and ship and he seemed fine with that information.
We then kept walking until we got to baggage claim. Seemed to take forever for our bags to come out but I had to keep telling myself that this plane held 306 people. Patience was the word of the day.
Once we got our luggage, we had to exit through the agricultural affirmation area. I went to the section “something to declare” but when I told them I had chocolate and granola bars, they sent me to the “nothing to declare” line. Okay. So even though their website says declare all products made from animal or vegetable, apparently chocolate and granola bars aren’t counted.
Next stop was to let the drug dog sniff our bags. Very friendly golden retriever who sniffed and moved on. He doesn’t get a treat until he finishes or gets a “hit” so he was in a hurry to get through the line.
We exited the area and found a man holding a Holland America sign. He looked for our names but did not find them. Oh, great. I paid for a HAL transfer to the hotel. Now what? Luckily, another Holland America sign holder came over and he had our names on his list. I have to assume we were on the list that was supposed to get there at 7:00 a.m but were late.
He told us to “follow the lady.” We followed another HAL person, and she took us to an area out of the way of the crowds. There were several people there with their luggage. Apparently, we were waiting for the luggage handlers. Finally, several people arrived and put our luggage on large carts. We were then instructed to “follow the lady” to our bus.
We followed the lady. And we followed, and followed, and followed. Seemed to take forever as we walked to the bus area. Maybe I was just tired.
The bus ride didn’t take very long. Our guide talked some about Santiago and advised us where it was safe to go and other places “not so much.” Some of the people were talking about looking for a Hop-on / Hop-off bus to tour the city. I just wanted to get to my hotel room and hope the air conditioner worked.
Stone tool evidence indicates humans sporadically frequented the Monte Verde valley area as long as 18,500 years ago.
In 1520, while attempting to circumnavigate the globe, Ferdinand Magellan discovered the southern passage now named after him (the Strait of Magellan) thus becoming the first European to set foot on what is now Chile.
Chile is the longest country in the world from north to south at 2,653 miles.
Astrologers from around the world come to the country to make their observations as there are more than 300 nights of clear weather available in the Norte Grande part of Chile.
In August 2010, the collapse of the San Jose mine in Chile caused the trapping of 33 miners 2000 feet below ground. All of the trapped miners were successfully rescued after almost 70 days.
Chile is home to the oldest ever known mummy. It was a ‘Chinchorro mummy’ found in the Camarones Valley in 5050 BC. To date, 282 such mummies have been found in the country.
Reportedly, numerous UFOs have been sighted in Chile. The government also sponsors research on UFOs.
Chile is almost devoid of poisonous snakes. There are only 2 species of snakes in Chile and both are small and relatively harmless.
The Pudu, which is the world’s smallest deer, is found in Chile.
*Trivia provided by Wikipedia.