Santiago, Chile

24 Feb

My flight from Easter Island to Santiago should have been on LATAM’s 787, but it was swapped at the last minute due to the 787 engine trouble affecting many airlines.

Sadly, swapped to an old Singapore airlines 777 that last saw a new interior 20 years ago, and has had so little attention from LATAM that not only was it completely unbranded:

but it also had no IFE and some broken seats. Specifically seat 11D. Guess which one I was in…

At least it wasn’t cancelled.

Santiago is quite boring, but does have nice wide roads and plenty of cycle lanes:

so you can avoid the taxi mafia and get around on one of these app-controlled, pay-as-you-go, park anywhere, sharing bikes:

Here’s mine outside the hotel:

Use one to go to the park and take the Teleferico (or something, it’s a cable car) for some nice views:

If you’ve had enough of the cycle lanes:

You can grab an electric scooter instead, and these are really great fun, as long as you ignore all the safety rules:

Use it to go to the highest observation deck in South America, the Sky Costanera:

The views are ok, but it’s hard to take photos through the dirty glass with all the reflections:

If you happen to be wearing a white T-shirt, then all your photos will be screwed, without a lot of camera fiddling:

(PS I think the above counts as a selfie. In the Sky tower, there were so many people taking selfies, including someone doing a headstand and someone filming themselves singing. There were people taking photos of themselves looking at the view. Just themselves looking. Not the view. The view was not in the shot. Just a shot of hey here I am looking at a view, aren’t I pretty. Most of these people were spoiling the view, they certainly weren’t pretty enough to justify 30 minutes of self-absorbed vacuous vanity and ludicrous, shameless posing. Obviously, they were all under 25 years old. What happened that means it’s now ok to do a fucking headstand in the middle of a crowded public space just to put on your Instagram? The world is doomed. When the time comes, there will be no revolution, there will just be pictures of people trying to look pretty next to where they thought the revolution was about to happen.)

Never mind though, because it looks better on the inside:

and the best part of visiting is riding the electric scooters through the empty financial district back to the hotel, as fast as it will go, jumping off the kerbs, and taking it at least 3 times around the block just for fun.

Easter Island / Rapa Nui

21 Feb

What’s this? A photo from Easter Island that isn’t a giant rock face man rock? Yes, there are two kinds of long faces on this island.

When the sun comes out, there are moments of prettiness. Don’t let it fool you though, it’s an ugly volcanic stain in the middle of the ocean.

It’s a little known fact that the Moai of Rapa Nui were modelled on men standing at urinals. Eyes up. Look straight ahead. Look neither to the left nor to the right…

When not driving around in their ludicrously unroadworthy vehicles, some of the locals like to do this:

As well as the sunrise spot, there’s a favourite sunset spot that everyone in town heads for. Needs better weather though:

Easter Island / Rapa Nui

21 Feb

If you ever have lots of time on your hands (lots and lots) and decide to visit Rapa Nui, then I highly recommend Haitonga as a restaurant where you can get ok food, decent cocktails, annoying reggae music, and the fastest WiFi on the island:

Rapa Nui

21 Feb

Easter Island. Isla De Pascua. Rapa Nui.

If you go to Ahu Tongariki for sunrise, every tourist on the island will be there, and there’ll be an awful lot of this:

and this going on:

PPT-IPC – Tahiti to Easter Island – LATAM Business Class

21 Feb

After a quick halt at the Intercontinental Tahiti (above), a 3am flight is the only option because Tahiti to Easter Island is not the busiest route in commercial aviation:

LATAM don’t have a lounge at Tahiti, only Air Tahiti Nui do. It’s in the Priority Pass network, so I could get in, except they close after their last flight, which is at midnight. So, 2 hours to wait for boarding in a shitty, hot, tiny island airport.

But joy, the last Air Tahiti flight is delayed, so they’re keeping the lounge open.

But no joy, the security and immigration controls are closed for LATAM passengers until 1 hour before the flight.

But joy, 5 minutes of relentless pestering and pretending not to understand them, and they give in and let me through, and I’m into the very quiet and air-conditioned lounge for a not bad selection of wines and sandwiches:

LATAM seating is not the best, and their food service is poor (and badly timed for a 3am flight) but all I’m going to do is sleep, and it’s good enough for that:

A very slow immigration process will leave you glad you were in business class because at 6th in the queue you’ll wait 30 minutes and the rest of the plane is behind you.

Then out into Rapa Nui, its indigenous name. A tiny spec of utterly unappealing ugliness miles from anywhere. Which also works as a caption for this photo of my hire car:

It’s a volcanic speck of shit in the middle of the Pacific and it makes you wonder why the hell you would choose to stay, especially in the wind and rain:

Take a drive to find some Moai, and even though it’s “closed”, it’s just a field so hop over the gate and try to keep camera and spectacle lenses free of rain for long enough to take some photos: