I’d forgotten that thing about travelling – how most experiences are incredibly awesome but there’s always some that are totally shit. We hit our first bad patch in Santiago, Chile. Staying in a housing commission style bedsit on the 6th floor of a 30 storey building in the downtown concrete jungle caused mild culture shock. Then there was an earthquake. So we were feeling a little bit nervous to start with. After a few days of navigating the underground metro and ordering vegetarian food and essential supplies in Spanish, dodging potential muggers in dark alleys and coping with shoulder to shoulder crowds in the streets, we were feeling pretty clever.
Off we went to the central bus station with all our luggage, ready to head south and out of the city. While waiting on the platform, I put my small bag down on the seat in front of me. An old man came up beside me and said something and I turned my head for a few seconds. When I turned back the bag was gone. Damn, damn damn! We ran around looking everywhere, but he and his accomplices had vanished. There were security guards everywhere but they just shook their heads, looked at us blankly and said we needed the police. Where are the police? Nobody knows. Someone gave us a police number to call. They answered ‘hola, El Policia’ but my few words of Spanish weren’t enough to explain the situation, so they hung up on me. I don’t think they tried very hard, El bastardos! It’s such a feeling of helplessness when you can’t communicate.
With nothing to be done and feeling a bit shook up, we got on a bus going south to Chillan. It was a rather depressing journey. Luckily I didn’t have my passport or anything really important in the bag but I did have my iPad and camera. That’s the end of my experiment with blogging I thought. I was also feeling some stress about possible sites I might have been logged into on the iPad but couldn’t do anything about changing passwords until I found somewhere with wifi. The bus journey went on and on. I watched a sad movie about a dog in Spanish and shed a few tears which made me feel better. At least I’m not a dog.
Finally arriving in Chillan, a small provincial city, we were feeling rather woebegone. We found a place to stay and it really was the final straw when it turned out to be a building site with a filthy, stinky room, no hot water and no wifi. Aargh!
Out we went, tired and dirty, to find a police station and make a report. We found the police station easily and things started to look up. We were in there for hours and I ended up typing up the report myself. All the police came to look at us and shake our hands. I don’t think they’d ever seen anyone from Australia before. They were all so sympathetic that we left feeling much happier. JH said it’s the first time he’s ever been kissed by a policewoman. We laughed our heads off.
Then hallelujah, we found the only shop in the whole town that sells iPads, so now I have a new one and can post on the blog again. No photos though until I can find somewhere that sells cameras. The photos from Santiago are lost and the one I used in this post isn’t mine. Chillan’s great though and the Chilean people are lovely, all except the banditos.