After a few half written 'final preperation' posts that never made the cut, we figured it was probably best to start the blog with 'we are doing' posts; rather than 'we will be doing' ones.
The journey to Santiago de Chile was a long one, literally and metaphorically. We got here though; well prepared and mentally ready for the experiences we were going to have in this city. It's strange planning a trip that spans so many miles, I realised I personally knew very little about the city we were arriving in and so far we don't know how long we will need to be here. It is still a little up in the air as to whether we need to get an RUT, a kind of Chilean National Insurance number you need to make purchases and work etc. Also, if we buy new bikes, the civil service strike in Santiago might make it impossible for us to get licence plates for a while.
That all said, the city is great; it is beautiful and full of lovely architecture, tree lined avenues, parks, street art, incredibly friendly people and it is easy to navigate by foot or public transport. It is however expensive; we need to consider our daily finances very carefully and find cheap ways of eating - the girl on the street selling vegan sandwiches for 60p could become a good friend! We met up with an old friend of mine the other day, Tom Brace. We went for a beer with him and his girlfriend, Amy, which was lovely. Sat in a courtyard in a city the other side of the world talking about everything, learning about Chile and Spanish and their plans over here, learning once again how similar we all are.
We took a chance and contacted a guy called Alejandro from Herencia Rides, a custom motorcycle builder from Santiago; we dropped by his workshop all prepared to try our very best to communicate in Spanish but were met by perfect English. So many times this seems to happen, just when we really need it. Alejandro has so far been amazing so helpful, he is not only going to fabricate our racks but he is dead set on helping us purchase our bikes, ringing his accountant, solicitor, friends to find out all the things we need to know. After much debate we have decied that we need to stick to the orginal plan and get a Honda XR, we are going to have to stretch to the top end of our budget to buy it but we know it makes sense - more money than we had hoped but pretty much the only tool for the job.
We also moved into our first Couch Surfing hosts apartment yesterday and it is beautiful! The hosts Amira and Felipe are so nice and welcoming, they are happy for us to be independent or hang out together which is great. Their apartment is on the 11th floor of a 1968 apartment block in Providencia, there are amazing views from the balcony, it really is special. We are lucky to have even made it here; all the taxis are saloon cars and there is no way we could fit our boards in one. We sat looking miserable by the side of the street for about 15 minutes before a local guy came up to us and told us he would give us a lift in his truck. On the way there we talked about politics, society, globalistaion, immigration, the environment - all the good stuff! He was amazing and right on and had some great insight. What a dude.
We're going to hang out here for a while, get bikes sorted, read books, take photos and challenge ourselves not to spend money unnecessarily. We can't wait to get to Pichilemu because we know the surf is cranking but it's doing us good, stepping our of our comfort zones, meeting people and experiencing life in a big city.
Here are a few snaps - photographically, We don't feel like we are in our stride yet but we will get there (too much else to think about).
Thanks for reading, check the Instagram @driftervisual if you want to keep up to date that way
Tom and Sally x