but Mother Nature has intervened to give me a 24 hour layover in Santiago, Chile, instead of the 1 1/2 hours that my itinerary indicated. Really almost all of it was spent in lines at the airport. But now I'm recovering in a Sheraton in Santiago, courtesy of LAN Chile. At least they are taking care of the hundreds (and hundreds) of people stranded today, all trying to get to Buenos Aires, like me. In the US, you are definitely on your own in these situations.
As the bus took us from the airport into the city, we passed ramshakle shanty towns perched on the banks of the Mapocho River, which is filled with trash, industrial waste, sewage, and copper mining waste (thanks Wikipedia!). I realized that I know nothing at all about Santiago or Chile. From the souvenir shops, I know they have beautiful hardwood trees that they make jewelry and kitchen items out of. Lots of penguin figurines to be had, as well as loads of Easter Island replicas. (I had no idea it was part of Chile - I really am completely ignorant about South America.) Too bad it's so smoggy (much worse than LA) - I could barely make out the mountains.
Triva time! This is my first trip south of the equator. Previous the farthest south I'd been in the Americas was Mexico City, and in Europe, Greece.
When I finally get to Buenos Aires tomorrow (I am trying to think positively through my tension headache), I will be attending the Hemispheric Institute's Encuentro 2007, Corpolíticas / Body Politics in the Americas: Formations of Race, Class and Gender.