29 Jul 07 – Arequipa, Peru to Arica, Chile
Chile says hello!
2nd to the last country before hitting the final destination! Almost there, I am excited! I set the timer at 10 seconds and tried to time the jump!
3500 MORE MILES TO GO!!!! ETA 11-13 AUGUST.
30 Jul 07 – Arica, Chile, to Chanaral
I stopped the car along the highway because I smelled something like rubber coming from the vents. It turns out the engine oil had run empty.
31 Jul 07- Chanaral to Valparaiso
Valparaiso. I saw the most stunning sunset here. I got there just in time and saw this spectacle, just below some rocks on a cliff that required a bit of scaling. I could post more pictures, but it just won’t do it any justice. So you’ll have to settle with this picture of my growing beard.
One thing I didn’t like about Chile is that it’s developed enough economy that it doesn’t have an abundance of hostals just sitting along the highway. I was looking for a sign of one but the only one I did find was another love motel. So I went up along the hills hoping to find one, and somehow ended up in one of the residential housing for University of Valparaiso.
I paid $15 for a room where a guy was in residence but was gone for 5 days and hadn’t come back. The guy in charge of residence took me in and made this for dinner, free of charge. Unfortunately, though, I got some mad rashes all of my body for the next 2-3 days, most likely because of whatever I had at this point.
These guys live in the university residence. Unfortunately for them, it was finals season. A couple guys were watching Pink Floyd and studying linear algebra. I came in for a bit and showed them pictures from my journey thus far.
The guy asks me if I want wine. He opens it up without even charging me. I’m quite impressed with Chilean wine. This is the second time I’ve had it, the other time being in San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico, and both times were very good.
1 Aug 07- Valparaiso to Santiago
I got to Santiago just fine, but spent 3 hours just looking for a hostal. A bunch of them were full. At one point I thought I found one but the garage next door was pretty full. So I’m driving around, and I’m not careful enough and I hit this bus. The driver jumps out of the bus and takes a peek , then smiles and waves at me good bye. The bus was fine but my signal light took some damage.
A Navy SEAL Captain whom I had met in Africa some 3 years ago had traveled all over the world. And he had told me that Santiago is one of the most beautiful cities he’s ever been to. So I did my due diligence and took a walk around. This was the first city and the only major city where a major highway passed completely through it. Other countries would always require you to go through residential streets as the highways would become a city street and you’d have to search your way out because the same street in didn’t necessarily mean that it was the same street out.
I arrived in Santiago exactly 2 months after I had left home. And I was almost exactly on the other side of the equator.
6/1/2007 2:14:05 PM -48 ft N33 51.511 W118 03.228 (LA, California)
8/1/2007 5:19:03 PM 1784 ft S33 26.417 W70 39.904 (Santiago, Chile)
Chile almost made me feel as though this trip was easier than I made it out to me. Why? Because the roads were in so great a condition that I drove 1300 miles in 2 days. But some things would happen soon enough that I would painfully be reminded of how hard and dangerous this trip is.
This is Plaza de Armas, with a museum behind it.
This is The Cathedral, to the left of the preceding picture.
“Plaza de Armas was quite interesting. There was a dude doing some stand up comedy, and it wasn’t all that funny, actually. It was just absurd, which was probably why all the people were watching him. He picked me out, obviously because I look different enough and I look much more different now that I have my beard and long hair. I stood in the middle for a few minutes while he spoke in English to me and translated in Spanish to the crowd, how long I’ve been here and such. He told me about Plaza de Armas, the church, the museum, and the way to Peru, he says, and all that. At the end, though, he ended up asking me for money, getting a bill of each denomination in dollars of 1, 2, 5, and 10, and asking me for money to fill up and make it 20. I didn’t have any pesos that could do that (I only had 10000 pesos, or $20 at that time), so I gave him all the change I had, which added up to probably a dollar. Disappointed, he got the crowd to help me out, and I walked out of the circle, wondering why this guy was so popular.”
He insisted on me taking this picture.
I have no idea what this is, but it’s also in the Plaza de Armas.
Palacio de la Moneda.
2 Aug 07 – Santiago to Temuco
“No going back now.
No going back.
Only forward now.
Few people correctly identified this to mean that my reverse gear had failed.
“Today started out bad enough. Then I realized that I am paying a lot of tolls along the road and I am running out of money. I stopped by a gas station where I tried to use the ATM, but every ATM I go to right now is telling me that my card is ‘not authorized for that transaction’. I have 6 dollars left.
Then I tried to back out of the parking lot into the gas station, because the gas station was being worked out with ‘technical difficulties.’ Well, turns out my reverse gear won’t work now.”
3 Aug 07 – Temuco to Bariloche, Argentina
“En route from Temuco, Chile, to Bariloche, Argentina. The border was closed for about an hour because this truck was pulling something so large that it was taking up the entire road.
And this is pretty much southernmost point in Chile in which you can cross into Argentina by driving. You have to climb up some 3000 feet up the southern tip of the Andes and you’re treated to quite a spectacle along the border.