To Easter Island Via Santiago - Time Problems!.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Where I stayed
Che Lagarto Hostel Santiago De Chile

Flag of Chile  ,
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting there and away is often as dramatic as being there.

"It's really just three kicks of the footy between places – it’s the border crap that takes so long!" . Our three Aussie lads from the previous day’s wine tour were on the same bus. They had not been to sleep at all in true Aussie backpacker fashion and discussed their night’s antics on the bus. We had only had a few hours sleep ourselves.

Scores of cars, trucks and buses were waiting to get through and it was a long, long process of three hours. All our luggage was unloaded. We had to file into a customs room and put our hand luggage on a table in front of us. We were then lectured in Spanish, we think about what we cannot bring into Chile, then we had to stand in front of the luggage scanner as all the bus passenger's luggage went through the scanner . At the border a bus passenger said Chile is behind by an hour and to turn our clocks back, and another passenger confirmed this.

The border was high in the Andes mountains, and once we had cleared customs and immigration, the bus traversed the most amazing set of switchbacks to get us down the mountain to Santiago. The 30 major bends were actually numbered, as in “Curva 22” and so on.

Our hostel in Santiago, Chile was a wonderful surprise  - we had a suite! Our own couch and table and chairs in a separate room to our bedroom and best of all, opening windows, to watch Chileans going about their business in the city centre, three floors below. It was an old posh hotel that has now been turned into a hostel, under the Che Lagarto group of hostels, and all this for the princely sum of $44 for the night.

We set off to buy food from a supermarket, both for our evening meal and also to take to Easter Island as we knew that items would be expensive there. We also visited some airline offices to get prices on flights to Northern Chile. Back in our “suite” we reveled in the space, spread ourselves out and used all our “kitchen bag” utensils, going to bed knowing that the 5 am alarm was set in plenty of time to get organized in the morning for the 6 am shuttle bus. WRONG!

Let me say here, I like to be early for airports and buses. Avan often jokes about HOW early I get us up in the morning and to the airport or station sometimes.

The alarm had just gone off and we were starting to move when there was a knock on the door. “Your transport is here!” What!!!! The receptionist showed me her time on the mobile phone, it was 6.00 am not 5.00 am! We had been given the wrong information at the border re turning our clocks back! “Give us eight minutes and we’ll be there!”.  We threw on yesterdays clothes, a quick hair comb and wash and threw everything back in our bags. This is not as easy as it sounds as everything we travel with is a carefully organized tight fit, which is not conducive  with “throwing everything in”! We fronted reception in the eight minutes we asked for! 

At the airport, nice and early for our flight of course, we priced and booked another flight for after Easter Island, then checked our luggage in, something we normally do not do, but I had bought nail scissors and in our rush had packed them instead of “donating” them. We settled in to chairs in the correct departure lounge to wait. The boarding time came and went. We asked at the counter and apparently announcements had been made in Spanish that the flight was delayed for an hour.  The hour came and went. Further announcements were then made in English as well after that, as there were also many non Spanish speakers waiting. A drink and a sandwich voucher was given, our departure gate was changed and flight time again changed. Eventually our 9.30am flight got in the air at 1.30pm, four hours late. Four hours which we would have enjoyed immensely on Easter Island, rather than sitting in an airport in yesterdays clothes and no clothes to even change into, as our luggage was checked in, was not how we wished to spend the morning, with still a five and a half hour flight ahead of us!

Once everyone was on board, the pilot in his welcome announcement said, “ We wish to apologize for the delay due to a lack of available aircraft!!  Well pardon me, if you have had this flight scheduled just about forever, at this time on this day, surely there is not an “unavailability” problem? Lan Chile are the only airline who fly to Easter Island and they have one flight a day. We had to laugh. I guess they meant our first plane had issues and they had to get another one.

All that was forgotten though when we arrived at beautiful Easter Island and that’s the next story.

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