Chile 5

It is the 5th of February, and we just got off the airplane after 13 hours.  Many people complain regarding the long flights, but, being the nerd I am, we travel with the GPS running and keep track of where we are.  If you watch the Survivor Show, during the last episode of each year, they do a memorial to the "Survivors" that have fallen and discuss the persons good and bad points.  Well, we do the same thing, but we look down and discuss our various experiences as we cruise the 14,000 miles of driving down the coast and mountains and jungles, which we have completely covered during the last 3 years (with the exception of Columbia). We probably have over 600 hours of driving invested, so we appreciate the 13 hours to get where we left off!

So our daughter and family drive us to LAX for our departure.

Our daughter, Wendy, her husband, Jun and our 3 grandkids.

This is the down side of taking extending trips.

A lot of you have made mention of what a good sport Sandy is.

It is tough for her to leave, as the tears indicate.

She is truly a great sport!

It appears a lot easier for the "Son-In-Law".

Note that he is in the drivers seat, ready to split!

So we arrive in Santiago, in the middle of a beautiful summer.

The first task on Tuesday is to reinstall the rebuilt rear shock and install a new battery.

The bike was exactly as we had left it!

On Wednesday, we found this shop in Southern Santiago and had the front forks rebuilt.

It was amazing the improvement in handling.

The rear shock, rebuilt by Racetech, in Corona, made it handle better than new!

Here we are, 5,500 miles from home, and we return to the motorcycle shop, and this guy is wearing a shirt for "Roy's" in Amboy, which is only 120 miles from home.

Small world!

A picture from a trip we took to Amboy in November of 2003.

Kinda of a neat spot!

In this picture you can see the same bus depicted on the the guys shirt in Chile!
No motorcycle on this trip. 

We took Tom's Robinson R44.

He is also coming to Chile in March for a few weeks of riding!

So, after spending 2 days getting the bike ready for the next 8,000 miles, we walked around town a bit.  We both love Santiago and hate the thought of leaving.  But it won't be for long.  When we went home for Christmas, we told all our friends how neat Chile is.  Now we have 6 friends joining us for a week or 2 during the next month.  Sandy's sister has never been out of the country, and she is joining us on the 19th of February.  We are very pleased that she is stretching her envelope, and coming down!

Santiago is a city of contrast, which this picture depicts.

Two pairs of towers....

Old and new, in Chile.
If you have followed our trip, you know I threw our Spanish tapes over a cliff in Peru on a frustrating day.

Our Spanish is minimal.

We are not sure what this means, but we are keeping our noses clean!

As the bike was being worked on, we visited the Central Market in Santiago.  If the next 2 pictures don't make you hungry, you must have just eaten!

And I don't think the yellow/orange accents are a fancy cheese!
I am not sure....

Red wine or White wine...

Maybe this would go good with the chocolate covered snails we saw earlier in the day!

More of that "Santiago" contrast.
Old in the foreground and new high rises in the background.

Most of Santiago is now new.  The old buildings are rare.

Now it is time for a few "Then and Now's" before we head to Mendoza, Argentina.  The motorcycle is allowed 90 days in Chile and our time is almost up, so off to Argentina for a few days, then back to Chile and ride to the Lake District.  Our first location was the "Prince of Wales Country Club".  Later on I will tell you about getting into the Governors' Office and going to the helipad on top of the Ministry of Exterior. 

This country club was the most difficult to get clearance to enter!  They want to know why, why, why, why!  I told them it was to promote tourism.  She informed me that they wanted "NO Tourist"!  I guess I said the wrong thing.  I then told her that she misunderstood me and the real intent was to show how much Chile has "Grown-up" and how much better it was here, then in Southern California.  The gates opened!  The picture is from the book,  South America West Coast, by Sydney Clark in 1954.

After fighting to get through the gates, the original build had long been torn down.  The interior of the clubhouse was on par with the old classic country clubs of the east coast.  Membership was over $100,000.  Too rich for our blood.

The next "Then and Now" was the "White House" of Chile.  The picture is from the book "Fireside Travels in South America", by James Fitzpatrick in 1948.

A few more building in the background.  We were told that the top-center structure was changed after in bombing in the 70's or 80's.

In order to the get the picture, above, it required getting a key and clearance from the building's security staff.

(Picture is on the roof top).

This was the first picture we took from the 7 story window.  It was obviously from the wrong angle.

We had to get permission to get on the roof of the Governor's build.

This was on the wall near the door where we took the first photos.

We entered a room where guys in suits where doing Powerpoint presentations.

  We told one of the guys at the large conference table that our next goal was to go to the roof top of the "Ministry of the Exterior".  One guy stated that that was near impossible.  The other guy remarked, "I don't think it is impossible, they did get in here didn't they"!

The following picture, as stated, required getting into and on top of the Ministry of the Exterior.  Guards and turn stiles all over the place.  Very HIGH security.  I love the challenge!

Now we have a serious challenge.

The build used to be the Hotel Carrera, which was a top notch hotel.  It was recently renovated (November, 2005) so it has all the modern security systems and personnel you would expect.  At least 5 lobby workers and another 6 guards, with guns, securing the building!

So.....  here we are, on the helipad of a government building in the center of Santiago!

The original picture is from the same book of 1948.  Nice pool and view, back in 1948.

The guy with the pistol told us the the pool had been refurbished and is now used for "fire protection". 

Yeh... Sure!

I can't tell you how much fun it is trying to get into places you have no business.  Church steeples, Governor's office, and helipad of Government offices.  And doing it with a total vocabulary of 30 words of Spanish.  But the damn country clubs our the toughest!  Go figure.....


The next picture is from the top of Santa Lucia and features the University Catolica.  It is from a book printed in 1930 called South America Excursion, by Ernst Young.  We did not have to talk our way into any buildings.  We only had to climb a tall hill.

Yes, Chile has grown in the last 85 years.

Bikes are big in Chile.

We are back and looking forward to the next 6 months.  We are going to go real slow, so I hope that boredom does not set in.  We are planning on 6 months in Chile and Argentina.  Then 2 months back home, and then another 6 months to travel north on the coast through Uruguay, Brazil and Venezuela.

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