June 23, 2016 · Santiago, Chile ·
Getting a Lift (Hysterical and Historical)
Getting from airport to hotel, is more of an adventure than the flight. Getting a lift can be a challenge as each country is different and their ways are different.
Upon my arrival in Santiago, as I approached the baggage collection area I was approached by numerous ‘licensed’ taxi driver’s. This is not a good sign. When I went to Transportation Information, I enquired about hotel shuttles. There are none, this is not a good sign. What these two things together mean is that the taxi’s control the airport market and price. And tourists are for the picking. I therefore asked the Information Officer about public transport, which he shared with me and said it was a much better option than the over-priced taxis. My first hunches were confirmed.
Now I would much rather take a taxi or shuttle, when first alighting from a plane trip, since I do not want to have to do a lot of thinking and translating. Plus, I am not yet familiar with where and what is safe. I do not mind paying extra for the peace of mind, but it appeared peace of mind would be costly here.
Off then to the bus to take me to the central city where I could then catch a reasonably priced taxi, so I thought. Fortunately, my stop was the last stop so I did not have to worry about, where or when to get off, once the bus stopped and I was the only one left then it was time for me to get off. Which I did. I then asked the bus driver and his assistant where to get a lift from a taxi to finish my journey? They assured me the Metro would be better than a taxi. They asked for which hotel I was staying but were not familiar with Hotel Luciano K, as it is a boutique hotel. I went to access the information on my cell, only to find there was no connection. So they called over a taxi driver to use his cell to help me find the right Metro route to my hotel. I thought it quite unique (hysterical even) to be using a taxi drivers phone for directions, so I would not have to take a taxi.
Once located the trio, told me what I needed to do to get the Metro for my hotel, but then told me to hide my cameras and be careful of criminals. The very reason I do not mind paying a bit more for a taxi.
None-the-less, I went to the Metro taking my luggage up and downstairs, again looking for a lift of the elevator kind, to find none. I was helped by the ticket selling people, the ticket collecting people and a nice young lady (who again warned me about criminals) on the train to get to the correct station. And with the liftless stations, each time I approached steps, various young men would come over and assist me with carrying my luggage up or down as my trek required. The contrast between help and warning was intriguing; a range from kindness of strangers to danger of strangers.
Unable to get a lift to the hotel from the Metro I walked to my hotel. A very nice Hotel Luciano K. I would be on the 6th floor, and by this time I was desperate for a lift. Only to find out not only did they have a lift for me, it is an historical lift, the very first lift in Chilean history.
As I started my journey I just wanted a lift to the hotel, and what got me finally to my room and bed was historical, a historical lift at the end of a hysterical trek.
• Man at elevator: receptionist: Carlos Gabriel Alfonzo Gaskin giving me a lift
• Young woman in train: Rosaura Belen, giving me travel and safety direction
• Three men: bus driver, conductor and taxi driver giving me directions to avoid taking a taxi
• Not pictured the 4 or 5 young men who helped me up and down stairs
As it turns out the standard taxi rate is about $45 for airport to hotel. The Airport driver’s would have charged $75-100.
My cost for bus and metro $4.50
The journey’s value to me: Priceless.