Justin and Silver Al

Chile
Preface | USA | Mexico | Guatemala | El Salvador | Honduras | Nicaragua | Costa Rica | Panama | Colombia | Ecuador | Peru | Chile | Argentina | Afterword | THE RETURN: ARGENTINA | THE RETURN: URUGUAY | Tips

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Dirty AL

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Welcome To Chile

Mid week -Second Week of March.  We have made it to Chile.  In fact we have made it all the way to Santiago, Chile.  To accomplish this, we drove non-stop for about 28 hours, from Moquegua, Peru. 

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Muck Pit

Welcome to Chile

Crossing the border was a little more involved than I expected.  We had quite a bit of trouble getting out of Peru, because we didn't have a certain paper that I suppose those crooks at the Ecuador/Peru border never gave me.  It was funny how it went down.  I just got sent from one person to another, like a hacky-sack, each person asked for the paper that I didn't have and sent me on.  Eventually (after driving through a confused inspection booth and past confused men in black with large guns) I made to the last guy in the line of officials.  He took a real shot at figuring things out.  I followed him around this desk and then that desk and finally he gave up too and just waved me across the border.  Just when I thought we were into Chile, I got stopped at another booth, asked for the paper and told to turn around.  I held my ground, however, explained that I know I didn't have the paper and that the other guys didn't know what to do and so they sent me here... "for you to deal with me."  He took a sweeping view of the car and the sky and his hands and then beckoned me on...into Chile.

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Border Towns 1

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Watermelon Border Town

BUT THEN...Chile wanted the paper.  Which paper?  The paper from Peru!  Again I was tossed around.  Immigration lines, Aduanas lines.  I filled out papers, but none was good enough.  Finally the solution arrived.  I went up some stairs and to the cafeteria, where a woman in the midst of a passionate telephone conversation sold us a water and four little forms.  We filled out the forms, drank water, went back down stairs, handed the forms to Aduanas, he stamped them signed them, smiled and sent me on my way.  To get on the road, however, we needed to pass through the most intense inspection check point that we had seen yet on this trip. The sheer dirtiness and disorderly nature of Silver Al's interior was, as it turned out, a great boon to the process.  The men peaked around for a moment, looked at each other, said something we couldn't hear, asked if we had any drugs, meat, weapons or fruit and then waved us on.  It was not until this moment that finally we were firmly in Chile! 

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Mars

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Big Chilean Folks

Northern Chile was just as desertous as Peru -just as stark and void.  We were, after all, driving through the driest desert in the world.  One difference that we discovered fairly quickly between Peru and Chile was that in Chile, you can't drive hundreds of miles per hour because these sneaky smarties have radar...and they use it.  'Hey should we pick up that hitchhiker?'  I don't think that's a hitchhiker, and that doesn't look like his thumb'.  Pop! -we were nabbed.  Eli happened to be driving.  The two police looked over our papers and then showed Eli the read-out which displayed the over 160 kilometers per hour that we had been moving at.  Then, amazingly, they spoke in English.  "Very dangerous, must careful, where you from?"  Soon we were back to our more comfortable position as crazy gringos who had driven into their radar trap all the way from the E.E.U.U.  "No, no Texas...el mas Nor-Este, cerca de Canada...sabe usted la ciudad se llama Boston....si?...si, cerca de Boston....una hora y media norte del Boston.  Es Frio?  si, es muy frio....blah, blah, blah" in my lousy Spanish and we were on our way again with what I guess you would call an enthusiastic, inquisitive and somewhat understanding warning. 

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Into the Clouds

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Chilean Pacific

The sun rose and set over pretty much nothing.  There were some interesting mounds of rocks here and there.  Also red and green and black and off-white mountains, mountains of sand, copper, soot, llama dung, bird guano, rocks, bricks...every kind of mountain imaginable and then some.  Eli drove the first shift, through sunset and until about 9 pm.  I drove from 9 PM until about 5 AM and then Eli took over through sunrise and until late morning.  We drove fast through the night despite our previous warning.  Neither of us slept much...maybe a restless hour of ten minute naps... but we tried our best, fading the music out of the speakers near the passenger's declined head and drinking beers to start a shift of being off-duty. For some reason, sleep just didn't rear its highly desired head. 

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Driving Through the Dawn

Exhausted Happy Birthday AL

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Happy Birthday AL

Just outside La Serrena at some early morning hour, Silver Al had her 180,000 birthday.  This means that we have driven around 12,000 miles so far.  The trip to Tierra del Fuego should give us 4000 more.

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Santiago, Chile

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Justin in Park Next to Hotel

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Eli in Park Next to Hotel

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Men Playing Chess in Plaza de Armas 1

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Men Playing Chess in Plaza de Armas 2

I have a bunch more to write you all.  I haven't finished Peru and I haven't told you of our afternoon and night in Santiago....But we over slept and it is check-out time in ten minutes.  I am about ten minutes from the hotel, which would be only one minute if it weren't for the terrorists behind the wheels of the cars around here and the stingy cross-walk lights.
 
Today we are, sad to say, heading out of Chile and into Argentina.  Possibly we will make it to Mendoza this evening, but that could be a push.  We have to cross the Andes, pass the highest mountain in South America (Aconagua), cross a border -potentially without the right paper (the elusive green one) and then jet to Mendoza.  I spent a birthday in Mendoza 5 or 6 years ago.  It is all about the wine.  Grab a bottle of Argentinean wine and look at the label...nine times out of ten it will say Mendoza...honest!
 
I'll catch you all up to speed here just as soon as I can.  Ciao!

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Chileans Love Hot Dogs and Meaty Sandwiches

Getting Kicked out of Internet Place...I'll write later

Ah yes, Santiago.  We have become pros at driving into an unknown and confusing town and either working our way through it and out the other side or finding a particular location within the madness to rest our heads.  So in a big capitol city such as Santiago, it was refreshingly simple to find our way through the gridded streets.  Yep, we are back in the modern world.  Nicer cars than ours...faster cars than ours...people in polo shirts or those ones with the alligators.  Men with briefcases and neckties talking on cell phones.  Restaurants with electricity AND candles. 
     We took a nice room by a park that I remember surprisingly clearly from years ago.  Though we had only slept for an hour or so each in the past 30 hours, we both felt pretty good, so we headed out to the park with our frisbee to catch some sun.  This park is quite steep, a steep hilly, ledgey, tree covered park...not good for frisbee, but great for photos and views.  It was also really hot and a nice place to lay out on a sarong and feel the sun beat down.  So that is what we did and despite a mob of curious little ants, we managed to unwind for the first time in a while.   

Dinner in Santiago was nice.  A scotch and a bottle of white wine.  We both had salmon carpaccio for a starter.  Then Eli had the rabbit and I had the corvina which I think might have actually been the albahaca, but it was tasty all the same.  I tried some rabbit for the first time that I can remember and it was very good.  It might suddenly have become a more dangerous world for the rodents of my life...god knows I've killed my fair share of mice down on the Cape, and even if the surge in the fox population has decreased their populations in South Yarmouth, they're still out there.
       The rest of our night in Santiago was spent drinking Jack and gingers at a bar next to the hotel which was actually run by the hotel and very popular.  We both like our whiskey and ginger ales.  I prefer Jim, Eli prefers Jack and Jack usually wins out down here.  Ginger ale is hard to come by, but we found it in Santiago!
     The next morning we were up and out.  Eli has had a bad stomach for a while and it was really hurting him on our way up into the Andes.  Still we wove our way up to the border, making great time and on into Argentina

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