Leaving Chile Part 3, Really Leaving; or Backfilling the Missing Chile Blog Posts
After a marathon travel session we finally made it back home, and only one of Joel’s windows was busted out by a truck. Really.
Yeah, even Cecile didn’t believe that one when I first told her, she thought I was putting her on and took a little convincing.
But I get ahead of the story. … But now it’s been weeks since I started this post and can’t remember how far ahead I got. Reviewing my photos, I don’t think I did get too far ahead. If you want to get back in the swing, here’s where we left off. Or maybe here.
Leaving Viña del Mar, Chile
Having said goodbye to the neighborhood and Valparaíso, it was finally departure day. Our plane didn’t leave until 10:45 p.m. so there was no need to leave Viña until the afternoon. So we decided that Joel should go to school as it was an early day for him anyway, otherwise he’d be bouncing off the walls and making us crazy as well. We picked him up from his last day at school, had lunch, and it was time to leave.
I had already begun the leaving process, of course, having left my ponytail behind a month earlier. But there were some other things I decided to leave behind, most notably my wool cardigan that I had owned for more than 30 years, since our family trip to London & Paris which I think we determined was around 1979. It was a sad occasion, it’s been my favorite around the house sweater for years, but it was time. While Cecile had patched it several times, it continued to fray around the edges and get worn out in the elbows, so I left it behind. Cecile appreciated it, as she wore it as one of her many layers after we left. I left some other clothes behind as planned, but this was the one that meant something. And after that, it was time to head to the bus station one last time and head on out.
On the Road, and In The Air, Again
I had become very familiar with the trip from Viña to Santiago, having gone back and forth many times in the last 3 1/2 months. And the trip was smooth and uneventful as expected. Joel and I had agreed that, as we were going to have lots of time in the airport and the plane to use electronics we would forgo them for the bus ride. This meant, unfortunately, that I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of the snow dusted mountains along the way, not just the Andes but even the inter-coastal ranges; what had been rain in Viña was obviously snow at higher elevations and the mountains were quite pretty. And then we got off the highway in Santiago, and the truck next to us just missed that turn. Here, have a look.
The bus pulled over the to side of the road (the truck didn’t) and the attendant (there’s always a second person on the bus, who loads the bags and checks the tickets) came to check on us. Joel was unhurt but obviously a little shook up and his lap and backpack were fairly covered in glass. After carefully brushing him off a bit, the attendant had us move to an empty row for the last few minutes of the trip to the Pajaritos station. From there we grabbed the bus to the airport, checked in, and then worked our way through customs and security.
So THAT’S Why We Got the Cédulas, and Cecile Did the Extra Paperwork
Customs showed us why we got there early. At first it looked like it might go quickly; I handed over our passports, and had our cédulas and the extra paperwork handy. The paperwork was so that I, on my own, could take Joel out of the country. Apparently there are problems in Chile with single parents taking kids out of the country when they don’t necessarily have the right. So one of the first things Cecile did when she arrived in February was get a piece of paper that said I could do that.
As the agent looked at our papers (the one you fill out when you arrive that you need to save for when you leave) the first request was for our cédulas, as we had been there longer than 3 months. As you may recall from our many posts on the subject, just getting these was a challenge, and though we originally applied for them in February, I had just gotten them the Monday before our Wednesday departure. So I was a little relieved to be able to hand those over. Next came the extra paperwork, that he examined page by page, in great details. I don’t know if it was because it was unusual and he wasn’t familiar with it or he was suspicious, but it took a while and I began to get a little worried. But eventually he seemed satisfied and asked if he could keep the piece of paper. As far as I knew that was ok, I couldn’t think of a situation in which I’d need it again, and letting him have it seemed like the only way we’d get through, so I said yes. And we were through. After that, security was a breeze.
Last Hours in Chile
And then we had about three or more hours before boarding. We grabbed a meal, walked around a little, and found some outlets to charge up our devices. Nice touch: they have outlets of different kinds, including U.S., so we were able to plug in with no problems. And finally it was time to board. It was late at night and dark out, so this, while underwhelming, is our last picture from Chile.
Living in Chile was a great experience and I’m actually getting a little choked up just talking about leaving; don’t know if we’ll ever be back, but there sure is a lot more to see, even in places where we spent some time. Stay tuned for more backfilling on things I didn’t have time to blog about in our rush to leave.