Leaving Portillo for the Santiago is strange. Whites become browns, and the tranquility that I´ve grown used to dissipates into in dusty crowds of cars and people. It´s not always easy to drop down into the valley, where society's problems rear their ugly head. I discovered long ago that I dislike cities, and it's been easy to avoid them. Sure, there's "lots to do" in Santiago or elsewhere; people breed culture. However, these same locales are rife with poverty, waste, pollution, and crime, as well as the gross materialism that pervades over the entire project. These are harsh words, but, as I said, leaving Portillo is strange. Of course, the hotel is plagued by the same problems, on a smaller scale of course, as the rest of society. Yet the isolation is liberating. Portillo lets us feel somehow apart, away from it all.
Fortunately, my stay in Santiago will be a short one. Tomorrow morning I´m off to Valle Nevado for two days, migrating back to Portillo on Friday. To be honest, this will be my first real "ski trip" in Chile. Portillo was it for me last year. Four months straight in the mountains. But this being my second season, I decided it was time to venture off and, you know, scout the competition. From what I've heard Valle is big and flat. It's got a reputation for being overcrowded, congested even. Almost anyone will tell you that Portillo is by far the better resort hotel home destination. That being said, I'm going to leave my bias in Santiago, where it belongs, and check it out for myself!