I arrived in Santiago, Chile two days ago after a 20 hour bus ride. I met an American traveller onboard who was a little worried about crossing the boarder, telling me, "When I tried to enter Argentina from Chile they took me aside and asked me questions and even took the temperature of all my friends."
"Why," I asked.
"They're doing that to many people from the United States and Mexico."
"Ahh...the `swine flu,´" I said, and then laughed.
Santiago seems like a good place. Very civilised and developed. It is a city of 6 million people, surrounded by the Andes mountains. As a result, the pollution doesn't escape but stays hovering over the city as a toxic band of grey sky. My host, Rose and I ventured up to the highpoint looking over the city to view this from a distance. Unfortunately the view of the Andes were limited to simply an outline - at most - with much of the mountain range completely absent from view. The city and tall buildings themselves faded into the barely opaque pollution.
[Below] At the lookout - on which, of course, stood an enormous statue of the virgin Mary - we saw a little girl who said to her mother, "We're lucky there is not so much pollution up here!" commenting about our relative safety from the thick cloud of smog below us.
"But there is pollution up here, dear," she said unfortunately.
Shortly after, the little girl turned into a cat.
[Below] "Where or where have the clear skies disappeared to?"
[Below] The night sky of Santiago, with a spectacular moon.
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