November 26th, 2018
After spending the night at the Copec station in Saladillo just inside Chile, we made our way to the Jumbo grocery store in Los Andes about 40 km / 25 m west and stocked up as we were pretty much bare bones in order to cross the border. Doug went to look for a dentist and got an appointment for a cleaning that afternoon. We went for some lunch in el Centro and we had the rig washed while he was getting his teeth done.
We carried on south to Santiago, returning to Camper Travel on the north side, where we wanted a couple of things done and a referral to a good mechanic to install the parts we will be bringing back with us from home. Sebastian, the young German office manager, helped Doug translate to the workmen what needed doing and they said they could probably do it in the morning. We parked outside and spent the night there. The owner of the place, Rodrigo, showed up that evening and said he knew a good mechanic and he’d get Sebastian the contact info and location so we could check him out after the work was done here.
Tuesday, we moved Tigger inside and they commenced work on the two things we wanted done now: a new 12v socket installed and the removal and replacement of the shelf unit above the over the cab bed; it had come quite loose. Fran worked inside on the internet while the work was being done. They installed the socket and removed the shelf unit; reglued all the loose fabric and wanted it to set overnight before reinstalling it so we moved Tigger back outside and spent the night there once again.
The weather here in Santiago is on the hot side: low 30’s C / 90’s F and sunny. It does take a while for the temperature to cool down at night but it eventually does.
Wednesday after breakfast, we moved Tigger back inside the workshop, where they reinstalled the shelf unit as well installing a 12V socket at the back of the camper, on the short wall under the couch.
We decided then we try and find the mechanic they recommended to us as well as a tire shop to get an opinion on one of our tires, that had a not too deep gash in it and some sidewall damage. We’d been told by one guy previously, all was good, but Doug wasn’t convinced. We went to a Dunlop tire place in Santiago and there they recommended replacing two tires; the gashed one and another with side wall damage. The price was reasonable (less than in the US!) and they could have them here in 10 minutes to install and balance. Since we were here, and they seemed quite professional and it was a large shop, Doug asked about installing all the parts we are returning with. The sales rep prepared an estimate while we waited for the tires to be installed and Doug was happy with the price so we arranged to be here on the 26th, the day we return from Canada.
We drove back to Camper Travel as we can camp free there as it was late afternoon and might be hard to find a wild camp in the city – there are NO other options as is typical in large cities usually.
Fran arranged with Sebastian for us to leave Tigger parked here next weekend when we fly to Easter Island and then on through our trip home.
Thursday morning we left Camper Travel, and went into the city; we had a few wild camps spots to check out but most were duds. We did find a nice area of the city, where others had parked but not a good spot to spend two nights as parking was prohibited between 9 and 11 am (?). We parked anyway, and then walked over to the big metropolitan park to take the teleferico
And funicular into the Bellavista Area of the city – a hip area with lots of bars and restaurants to have lunch.
We wandered for a bit
And settled on a place on the 2nd floor. We enjoyed our lunch here
and Fran did an experiment on pisco sours (if you’ve been reading out blogs, you’ll recall that both Peru and Chile take credit for the pisco sour). The menu offered a “traditional” version (Chilean) and the Peruvian one.
Fran decided firstly that two pisco sours at lunch is one too many but also that the Peruvian one is tastier (and the waiter agreed!).
After lunch we found a salon that offers pedicures and we went inside to get one each. Roxanne, the owner, is from Russia and set up this shop (or took it over) just three months ago and her price was good but we had to go one after the other. Fran went first and while she was getting hers done (and trying to stay awake), Doug sat waiting also trying to stay awake after his three beers with lunch!
We then called Uber and got a ride back to Tigger. Doug went for a short walk to check out the parking signs in the neighbourhood and found a better parking spot with no restrictions where we could spend two nights so we moved.
Friday morning, after a pretty decent sleep, we walked about 1.5 km to the metro station and caught the subway downtown.
Santiago does not have a lot of tourist attractions but we wanted to see the main square, a museum and walk around.
Doug had been to Santiago on business in the early 90’s and was curious to see what he could remember; turned out not a great deal.
We enjoyed the Plaza de Armas
Then walked over to the former mint building that has been repurposed as a cultural centre
and wandered around it before walking to the Museum of Human Rights where we learned a lot more about the difficult tie in Chile’s history where their government was fascist. Very said how many people were tortured and killed.
We then caught the subway again to the large mall past where were are parked to check out if there might be a movie we would be interested in seeing and to do a bit of shopping at the large grocery store there. There was one movie but it was not for another three hours so we caught a cab and returned “home” for the night.
So on Saturday we returned to Camper Travel where we’ll stay parked until December 26th. Some of the workers were at the shop, and they did a bbq for lunch as it was the youngest man’s birthday. They invited us over right after we finished our lunch, but we did join them for a bit for beer and to try their meat. After they left, we were on our own until Monday morning. We took advantage of the free water and sunshine to catch up on laundry and chill on Sunday.
On Monday, a Chilean plated van pulled in after we did our morning walks with a Danish couple in it. Camilla and Espen began their journey in Vancouver on motorcycles two years ago but about a year ago bought this van and had Camper Travel help them update and renovate the camper part. They are selling the van soon and going home in time for Christmas. We had some chats with them before they left to camp outside the city.
Before the shop closed, Sebastian came over and said that Victor, one of the head workers and the one who had barbecued on Saturday, offered to drive us to the airport tomorrow morning at a better price than a cab or an Uber. So he and his wife showed up just after the prearranged 4:20 am pick up time on Tuesday and at that hour of the day, it was a pretty smooth, fast drive to the airport. Our flight left about 15 minutes late but otherwise went smoothly.