This post is only a week old and we've communicated broadly that we're now fine, but I still want to preface this with a sentiment: our hearts go out to everyone in the areas affected by the massive earthquake that hit here in Chile, just west of La Serena and Coquimbo. At least 12 people have lost their lives, several towns were destroyed, and from first-hand experience I can tell you it was no joke.
K, so back to the beginning: our last week or so in Santiago was rather uneventful, as we cruised around finding, buying, and searching for more camping equipment. For anyone following in our footsteps: START AT THE BIO BIO FLEA MARKET off the Franklin stop before you go anywhere else. You can find anything there, seriously from Tae Kwon Do gear to old school Ataris and antiques, it's all there. We bought camping gear at a fraction of the store prices, tools for the kombi, and plenty of randomness. We also left a ton of things we would've loved to get folks back at home- sorry Uncle Mike, we didn't have space for those wooden golf clubs and the jade monkey.
In addition, we hot stepped all across Santiago, some days clocking more than 6 miles, searching for 1990 kombi window latches (pestillo, en espanol!), water containers (agua whatevers), and double burner camp stoves (doblisimo ampercamp-say estovos). Once we felt good with supplies we set our departure day for the 16th of September, and got everything all sorted with our baby girl for the road.
FIRST DAY: Our new baby did not let us down: she drove smoothly across hills, valleys, plain, and plateau alike, and although we move much slower than everyone else on the road (averaging about 80kph, or about 50 miles per hour), we were steady as hell. Our girl is a thirsty mistress though, and gets about 8 klicks to the liter, so we found our newest hobby- stopping at nice gas stations to take breaks, pay absurd dollars for gas (a full tank on our girl is about $60 USD), and eat the Chilean national food- Completos, or hot dogs with avocado on them.
Quick sidebar on Chilean national stuff:
National food = Completo (hot dog)
National anthem = car alarms (wee-ooo-wee-ooo-BARP-BARP-BARP)
National past time = enjoying the wonderful outdoors and then immediately throwing all your trash on the ground and breaking every piece of glass you have so as to ruin this site for anyone else. Chileans have a pyrrhic sense of enjoyment when it comes to nature.
Anywho, first day went great, we stopped off in Coquimbo and La Serena to buy some supplies and re-fuel on our way into the desert to do some camping. We had just barely parked out in the desert and started cooking dinner, when we felt the ground start to shake. The camp table and stove started to tip over, the food went all over the ground, and the kombi was swaying full tilt from side to side. For any Californians reading, this was Shannon's biggest earthquake, and definitely mine, and we although we laughed it off once it subsided (after minutes, not seconds), we knew that was a big deal. Soon texts and emails and FB messages started to come in telling us that on the other side of the mountain range that hid us, tsunamis were rolling in and literally destroying the towns we were JUST IN. Terrible news, and we have kept those people in our thoughts. Earthquakes are no joke, for real. Nothing funny to say about, just glad we were OK, and thanks to everyone that has kept us in their thoughts.
More to follow on the following days...only one week behind now!