SA: Embarkation Day – the saga continues

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

So, once we got the news about the delay, we decided to walk around the property. Nicely landscaped. Lots of workers cleaning windows and mopping. People waiting with their luggage in the lobby and around the pool area.

Eventually, we went back to the room to wait until 11:45 to check-out. Got both an email and a text from HAL about the delay in docking and asking that we delay our arrival. Okay. Since we are on a HAL transfer, HAL decides when we arrive. Probably some people on a private transfer are already in route. Going to be chaotic.

We left our room with our carry-ons and backpacks at 11:45 and went to the hospitality desk. Oh, joy! Our time has now been changed to 1:00. We decided to go to the pool bar for a light lunch. We split an order of chicken tenders and steak fries.

Chuck’s favorite waitperson Allison was back. We chatted until it was almost time to head back to the lobby area when the pool bar manager brought out 2 glasses of champagne and a large slice of 3-layer caramel cake.

He said it was because we were so nice and they wanted us to come back (it also could be because Chuck was a generous tipper). Whatever the reason, it was a sweet gesture. And if we ever find ourselves in Santiago again, we would stay here.

Our bus was out front, and we got in line to board. We had to show our negative COVID test results before we were allowed to board. We each got our orange sticker.

The tour bus was very nice – air conditioned, reclining leather seats, adequate legroom space, and a good PA system. We had a HAL guide who described the scenery we were passing and more information about Santiago and Chile in general.

The scenery reminded me of the American Southwest with dry grasses with patches of green and the mountains in the distance. Of course, these were the Andes mountains. We saw numerous farms with horses, cows, goats and even some llamas.

When we got to the port area, the security guard would not let our driver enter and signaled to go another way. The driver went down the next road which turned into a dead end that he then had to turn the bus around in a very narrow space. I thought we were going to get lodged between two walls, but he managed to get us around. We could see the front of the ship. We were very close.

We went a different way and went right past the ship and ended up in the little port town of San Antonio. He turned around again and went back to the port area. He tried another entrance and was allowed in. He parked and the guide indicated we would have to walk to the terminal. Which way? “Just keep walking that way and you can’t miss it.” Okay.

We got to the terminal and were met with controlled chaos even worse than I had imagined that morning. People were still getting off the ship with their luggage. A huge number of people were sitting in straight-backed chairs. Others were standing around or leaning against walls. We quickly realized that nobody had been allowed on the ship yet. WTH? It was after 3:00 already.

A lady was trying to make announcements over a make-shift PA system but with the echo of the warehouse building all you could hear was the Charlie Brown “WHA WHA”. Could not understand a word she was saying.

I found a person with a white shirt who looked official and asked what was the procedure? He said “we call your number when ready.” We just got here. We didn’t get a number. “We ran out of numbers. You last.” So, you are telling me that there is no priority boarding for 4 & 5 star mariners like usual. “I don’t know anything about priority. We call the numbers. You have no number. You last.” Well, okay then.

A fellow passenger heard me talking with the official. He pulled me aside and said there was a lady holding a sign that said 4 & 5 star mariners. He pointed and said she is talking with the man in the red hat (which was Chuck). I made my way back to him, and he muscled us through the crowd to the far-left side of the building to the correct group. We were getting closer to the check-in desk.

Travel Trivia

San Antonio (Santiago), Chile

San Antonio was 80% destroyed by the 1985 Santiago earthquake.

San Antonio is Chile’s second busiest seaport. Valparaiso to the north is the busiest.

Santiago, the capital, was founded as Santiago del Nuevo Extremo (“Santiago of the New Frontier”) in 1541 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia. The area was inhabited by the Picunche Indians, who were placed under the rule of the Spanish settlers.

Santiago is the site of two world records involving fruits. In 1984 the company Bozzolo Y Perut Ltda grew a bunch of grapes weighing almost 21 pounds (9.4 kilograms). Six years later in 2000 Santiago resident Luis H. Carrasco E. grafted a prune tree with four other fruits (apricot, cherry, nectarine and peach) setting a world record for the highest number of different fruits produced from the same tree.

The largest and oldest university in the North and South American continents is the Universidad de Chile. It has been around since 1622.

Though the city is free of rabies, as of 2014, an estimated 180,000 stray dogs wander the city. Approximately 80,000 more dogs, which have homes, are also allowed to roam the streets as they please.

The Andes Mountains can be seen from most points in Santiago.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia.

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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