Before launching into this, the third installment of the "Random Things I Love/Random Things that Irk Me about Santiago" feature, I feel I must apologize for the dearth of updates that has characterized this blog of late. The explanation lies in the fact that up until a few days ago, I was computerless due to an incident involving me tripping and breaking my fall with my laptop. Call me shallow, but the blogging experience loses some of its sparkle when it requires putting in extra hours on one of the paleolithic desktop computers at my office.
Also, I'm on vacation! For the past few days, I've been at home soaking up the gorgeous Minnesota August. Right now I'm sitting in my backyard luxuriating in the fact that I've traded in my nylon long-underwear bodysuit for shorts and a T-shirt -- at least temporarily. Needless to say, family, Olympics and laziness have knocked blogging down a few notches on my priority list.
Santiago may seem far away right about now, but it certainly is not forgotten. In fact, my current trip brought me into contact with a beloved and oh-so-useful fixture of the Santiago streets: the Centropuerto bus.
As their name implies, these vehicles are devoted exclusively to transporting passengers from the Centro (downtown) to the airport. For under US$3, this brigade of blue buses will shuttle you and your luggage all the way out to the departures terminal, a trip that could easily set you back over US$20 by cab (nope, they didn't pay me to write this).
The low price isn't the only thing that gives Centropuerto a special place in my heart. As the chivalrous young man who accompanied me to the airport last week observed, the Centropuerto bus is linked to travel, adventure and -- for us foreigners -- visits to our homes, family and friends. Boarding the blue bus, in other words, is the first step of whatever exciting journey you have planned.
As it carries you out of the city, the Centropuerto bus gives you ample time to say goodbye. Whereas most taxis spirit you away on the highway, Centropuerto takes the city streets, picking up passengers along the way. Many of these are airport employees who make me ponder what it would be like to make the long trek out of the city every day and spend the night working in a glowing, sprawling mass of terminals and runways.
Sometimes I think life would be more convenient for everyone if Santiago's Metro were extended out to the airport. Then I remember my favorite blue buses and recant.