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Published: February 18th 2019
It's an uninsured Chilean driver handling sheet metal!
So the last three months or so have been pleasant, if not a bit sweaty, as it has been summer in Santiago, and the weather has been hot, at times unbearably so, but the traffic has been light, and the smog mostly lighter, and it's been a chance to get to the coast and enjoy the beach, and be thankful that we ended up renting a place with a pool.
My mind is still in hoser mode, so it is still adjusting to the fact that it is February, and that any time I see a temperature of 35 degrees, it usually says "temperature with windchill" and has a minus in front of it. So it's been pretty nice to end up going through what is kind of an endless summer that we have been having, since essentially we left Vancouver at the end of August, just as things started to get warm in Santiago...I do worry for the time when it's cold, and busy, and smoggy here (as you can tell, I have a thing about the smog), and I have to look at my friend's instagrams as they are enjoying summertime at the lake in Canada. Although hopefully
The hills above Maitencillo
A great place to relax after a tough day of dodging sheet metal
I'll just be shredding tons of sweet pow in the Andes at that point, however we will have to wait and see.
February here is like August in Canada, as everyone takes off and goes on vacation, and work sorta comes to a standstill. Except our cruel Canadian overlords (as our head office in Canada) don't entirely understand this as they are currently freezing and working hard in Canada, and asking for things like everyone is around. Despite it being relatively quiet here in the city, there is still enough people around to make Friday afternoon as you head into the weekend as everyone scrambles to escape the city and make it to the coast. It feels like every Chilean has a family member, even distant, that has a place on the coast that they escape out to on summer weekends, that they tell us all about during the week but never invite us poor expats to (not that I'm bitter). However, with the power of Airbnb (please read my blog and sponsor), we have been able to get out to the coast a few times. Most recently was this last weekend and trip to a beach town called
Maitencillo, about a 2 hour drive northwest of Santiago.
As every single person we talked to warned us about the traffic, and because those warnings raised my anxiety about being in the car with my children in a traffic jam, we escaped early on Friday to get in the car and head to the coast. And now I'm trying to think how to describe what happened next as there's two things about it. On one hand it was, I think, a very Chilean experience...and on the other hand, if we had literally made decisions to leave a minute later, or not stop for gas where we did, or to drive a bit faster or slower, it might not have happened....about halfway through the drive, we came over the crest of a small hill and off to the side of the highway, was a guy who was obviously having trouble with how he'd secured the probably 4x8 foot pieces of sheet metal onto his truck. I suppose it was good that he stopped, but also not good because it was very, very windy so wind + guy + large, thin piece of sheet metal = not a good outcome for
Dinner at Tio Tomate, Maitencillo
Keep the sangrias coming caballero!
oncoming traffic (in this case us)...so the sheet metal flies out of his hands, first hits the car in front of us to the right, then slides into our lane and hits the front of our car. After the requisite expletives, we pulled over on the side of the highway...fortunately we were all ok, and a quick check of the car revealed that there were some serious scratches on the front, but overall more cosmetic than anything. And being the good husband I am, I stayed with the kids and sent my wife out to go talk to the idiot who could have potentially killed us (look my spanish sucks ok, and there's no way I would have gotten through that conversation...there was also the people from the other car talking to this guy). Surprise surprise, he didn't have insurance, and it was a borrowed car and blah blah blah I'm sure it will end up like trying to squeeze blood from a stone...sigh...
And I say that this was a Chilean experience because you know, Chilean highways man...it's not like they are always super dangerous, but boy, they sure can be and you do have to be on the ball. I mean, literally 10 minutes down the highway after this little episode I saw a guy driving in his Daewoo Lanos (it probably wasn't a Daewoo Lanos, but it may as well have been), who had his hand out the window as he held down two big pieces of plywood...on the HIGHWAY! Maybe use a rope? I would just say that you see the extremes of cars and characters out there. I understand why so few cars here don't have some kind of marks on their bumpers...it also reminded me of the Uber driver we had who based on how he was revving his engine, I think may not have had a clutch, and could only go about 70 on the freeway (we showed him, though, rated him only 4/5 stars! Take that!)
Again, fortunately, alls well that ends well, and the weekend was great. As soon as we arrived at the coast everything slowed down and we were so happy to be out of the city. Our place was above the town and had a view out to the coast, in an idyllic little blue cabin with a swing set and friend dog for the kids to play with. The beach at Maitencillo itself was beautiful, and after a bit of morning cloud burned off, it revealed a brilliantly blue sparkling ocean with big waves pounding just outside the beach, allowing the kids to play further in in the refreshing, albeit somewhat chilly water. And we realized why Santiago is bereft of activity on summer weekends, as by late afternoon the beach was packed (Chileans aren't early starters, so when we got there at 2pm it was still relatively quiet). But it was a beautiful location, and a great little beach town, and the kids were excited all weekend. So we are looking forward to two weeks from now when we come back to stay just up the coast while my parents visit from Canada...and just to make sure the weekend ended on a good note we decided to avoid the traffic, and leave Sunday morning and enjoyed an empty highway home...and you know what, our ride was sheet metal free!
Tot: 2.392s; Tpl: 0.091s; cc: 11; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0449s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb