Into Chile

Trip Start Feb 01, 2003
Trip End May 02, 2003

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Flag of Chile  ,
Friday, March 7, 2003

Our crossing into Chile turned out to be quite eventful. The chain smoking female part of an older german couple on the bus had to be told off by the driver for smoking like a teenager on the toilet. Then at the argentine border the couple got their just deserts as her husband was pulled off the bus by border guards to be questioned about a apparent problem with his passport (which was resolved in the end). At the chilean border a dutch couple (no, not us!) had their food supplies confiscated and on the road from the border we had to negotiate a truck filled with combustible gas which had crashed, blocking one half of the road.

But finally we were in Chile and after a few more hours we arrived in Puerto Montt. Last Sunday we left the Atlantic ocean behind us and now, after only 4 days, we were standing before the Pacific ocean.

Puerto Montt was actually like we imagined South-America to be like: shabby, chaotic but immensely colourful. Wooden houses painted in all colours of the rainbow alongside roads lined with all sorts of traders. Five minutes down the road however a huge american style mall (cinema included) brought us back to reality. While browsing through the supermarket, it became clear that Chile is one of the richer countries on the continent. We found more luxury items and more American and European products on the shelves than anywhere else so far.

We were also somewhat suprised by the relative cost of living in Chile. We found out that the local currency had recently been re-valued, as opposed to the devaluation in Brazil and Argentina. This makes the cost of living for us about 3 times as expensive than in Argentina and Brazil. Although when compared to European prices it is still quite cheap.

Tomorrow we intend to go rural as we will travel to a village called Cochamo, which is supposed to be an excellent base for exploring the surrounding mountains.
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