Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chile 6-11 December 2013

Chile 6-11 December 2013

So decision made, we went off to Pro Curcuit, in av. Vitacura to purchase our motorcycles !
Total cost for 2 brand new Honda XR125L = 1, 290 000 Pesos (R25 000) x 2 = 2580000 Pesos (R50000)

This included a free helmets and 15% off a jacket for Nick. We could have got about 5% off if we had paid cash, however it was going to cost us more than the 5% to draw the money in bank charges.
After long discussions about all the paperwork that needs to be done, we left happy that all should be in order to collect the bikes in 2 – 3 days.

That afternoon we decided to look around for another hostel. We took a long walk around the town and the area called Barrio Brasil which seems to be a cheaper area in the city. When walking around and looking for these hostels we noticed that the signage for the buildings where the hostels is are either very small or in some cases non-existent! Which leads you to knock on a door in the vicinity of where you think the hostel is… and when you walk in it opens up to a grand, high ceiling, old building with amazing space, even a pool inside the one hostel.

That night we celebrated the purchase of our motorcycles with a few beers and met a Dutch couple Rutger and Ellis who have done a lot of traveling in South America.  We got a lot of tips and some advice from them on tours to do in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

Right time to move hostels, so off to Cienfuegos a hostel part of Hosteling International, where we could get a private room for 20 000 Pesos per night (R390) with a shared bathroom. The staff here are very pleasant and helpful and the facilities are very nice. The breakfast is unfortunately simple ie. breadroll , coffee and some jam ! The other down side is that there are no kitchen facilities here either.  We were informed that, that night (Saturday) there was going to be a braai the cost was 3000 Pesos per person (R58) so we signed in for that.

We spent the rest of the day trying desperately to get hold of Navimag to try and get on the ferry down to Patagonia…this had become quite a mission! Eventually we learnt that they were full on Tuesday the 10th December so had to look at our travel plans again.  That evening we enjoyed a wonderful braai (Asado in Chilean) which is quite common in Chile and chatted with a local lady and her friend who spoke good English.  So we practiced some of our Spanish with them over a few glasses of red wine, which became a bit of Spanglish in the end !!!

Sunday morning we awoke to a partly cloudy day which worked out to our advantage as we were going to do the 10km hike to the top of a mountain called Cerro San Cristobal, where there is a large statue of the Santa Maria.  Walking through the city was so lovely and peaceful compared to during the week because not only were most of the shops closed but the roads had been closed to vehicles for a bicycle ride organised by the city.

As we reached Bellavista neighbourhood at the bottom of the hill we noticed there were lots of people, and only once we had walked with the hordes up the hill did we know there was a mass being celebrated below Santa Maria statue.  When we reached the top we enjoyed some of the amazing views of the town of Santiago as well as all the statues and the small chapel which is situated under the large statue of Santa Maria. Before heading back down we tried a local drink called Mote con Huesillos , it is a very sweet drink, almost like ice tea with a lot of soaked grain in it as well as a peach.  We decided to take the tar road back down which loops around the mountain instead of straight up and it was very scenic and a lot less crowded. From there we wandered through the parks and landed up having a siesta in Parque Forestal…what seems to be a common occurrence in Chile.

Monday morning we both woke up and the flu that had been looming for a few days kicked in with full force ! So we spent the day loading up on drugs and sleep hoping to shake it off as soon as possible. While we were in bed we spent the time trying to confirm our trip to Patagonia with Navimag on the 17th December as well as confirm that we could collect our bikes the following day.   With Navimag we were unable to get a response through their online query however we did get a rather delayed response by sending a direct email to and eventually made contact on the number 56-65-2432360. We are now confirmed for a 3 day tour (from 17th Dec)  on a ferry through the fjords from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt at a cost of US$510 per person.

Monday evening we had to get out of the room for a few hours so decided to go out for dinner.  Near to the hostel is Plaza Brazil where there were a lot of stands and people around, we figured out it was a comic fare with pictures of comic characters and comics for sale.  There was also a live band setting up to play. We decided to eat at a restaurant across the road so we could enjoy the band as we had dinner…well we got a little more than we bargained for!  As we were enjoying our dinner and listening to the band all was rudely interrupted by a man sprinting down the street screaming on the top of his voice, closely followed behind by another man running at him with a knife !! and it was almost a croc dundee knife for hunting gators !! fortunately the man running for his life had quite a bit of speed on him and the man chasing him dropped his knife so the pursuit ended there however by the look on the mans face who was being chased, I think he may be in North America by now !!!

Tuesday morning was spent loading GPS maps onto the GPS to be able to navigate our way back to the Hostel.  We also double checked online all the paperwork that would be needed from the dealership for the rest of the trip. With all this in tow we left excited and a little nervous to collect our motorbikes. Alas the little piece of paper known as a ‘Homologado’ had not arrived from Honda headquarters…they wrote us up another factura (receipt) which they said we ‘should’ be ok to drive back to the Hostel with. However as we were about to mount the bikes we were advised not to drive through town…a little difficult considering the Hostel was on the other side of town! So we left disappointed without the motorbikes back to the Hostel.
That evening we met with Mr Venter (a friend of James Perkins), a South African gentleman that has been living in Santiago for the past 8 years.  He was very interesting to talk to and gave us a lot of exciting places both around Santiago and down south to visit. He also had some interesting facts about Santiago to share and gave us a lot of do’s and don’t’s while in Chile.  Dinner that night consisted of Quesadilla’s, a tortilla sandwich with cheese, red peppers and basil and a guacamole dip. Delicious!

Wednesday we set off to explore more of Santiago city centre.  We found a Claro! Office where we bought a local sim for CL$2990.  Local calls are about R2 a minute here so looks like we’ll be texting some more and relying on whatsapp through our travels in Chile. We then successfully navigated our way to the Mercado Central y Mercado Pescado (central market and fish market) – sans map – and checked out all the fresh fish for sale.  There are lots of restaurants inside the fish market with salesman approaching you all the time.  What is interesting is that the original building still exists with another outer wall built to extend the market. 

We are now back in the Hostel and await good news from Honda with regards to the Homologoda and processing our paperwork tomorrow. We should fly out of Santiago on Saturday to explore Patagonia…really looking forward to that.

Santiago city view

Santa Maria

Lekker Braai bru !!


We walked all the way to the top of that !

Not sure how you read the street name ??


Just before the disappointing news 

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