Sendero Group Travel Blog

Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

 

Vacation to Chile

It is quite the production to travel from California to Chile. According to my BrailleNote GPS it is 5975 miles line of sight so to speak from Davis California to Santiago Chile. In order to take advantage of United frequent flyer tickets, we were routed through Toronto Canada for a total of over 7700 miles. Add two airport transfers and delays and the trip takes nearly 24 hours. Probably a quarter of the air time was bumpy and that makes the trip long and stressful.

So why would one go through such a production for a holiday? As I sit on my balcony at the Valle Nevado ski resort over 10,000 feet in elevation, we are on top of the world. It is strange for us Northern hemisphere folks to experience winter in the midst of August. The snow stretches in all directions. We are above the tree line and beyond the endless snowscape are mountain peaks up to 22000 feet.
On our way to skiing in South America, we stopped for two days in Santiago. It is much like other big cities. It is in a bowl so it can be smoggy like Los Angeles but our timing was very fortunate, not a cloud in the sky with that wonderful contrast of crisp winter air and warm sunshine. Mostly we wandered around, eating and looking at people and doing some shopping.

The marketing here of goods is an intense form of one on one sales. People have all sorts of techniques for getting you into their restaurant or shop. I liked to listen to the different pitches as it was an opportunity to learn what was around and to meet locals.

We took the subway to the Central Market during what turned out to be a huge rally for a priest being canonized. There was a Christian rock band playing and thousands of people dancing, singing and throwing confetti. All the time we were walking, I was of course marking GPS points for future reference.

Mike and Wyndham cozying up to a llama

In one plaza, there was a guy with two llamas, and for 1000 pesos, the equivalent of 2 dollars, we had our pictures taken with the white llama, Sofi I think her name was. Her back was at my waste level and I was picturing a guide harness on her. Llamas are known for their fur and as good pack animals. I doubt they are bright enough to do much guiding. Still it was a funny thought to picture a guide Llama along with my GPS navigation.

People in Chile are among the friendliest on earth, right up there with Dublin but with Latin passion. I am talking about the taxi drivers, the shop owners, the hotel staff and the people I have gotten to know over the years in Chile. My mother was born and raised here so I am predisposed to this country. When I was VP of Sales at Arkenstone, I got an adaptive technology dealer started in Chile named Jean Paul Ohaco. He and his family have treated us like family. I have seen him several times over the past 10 years since we met and he has guided me skiing. We are still close friends after he nearly impaled me on a fence post. He is actually a snowboarder and his wife an excellent skier and member of a national Chilean sailing team. His family skis even more than ours.

Another wonderful friend is Andrea Mujica and her husband Dietrich. I met her through my mother’s side of the family and she has been incredible about staying in touch by email and very helpful in setting up our trip. It is amazing to be able to see someone after many years and instantly connect. These connections and the opportunity to ski amidst another culture is why it is worth the long trip to get here.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

Archives

August 1997   January 1998   August 1999   December 1999   January 2000   September 2004   October 2004   November 2004   December 2004   March 2005   May 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   November 2005   May 2006   June 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   October 2008   January 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   December 2009   January 2010   March 2010   April 2010   July 2010   October 2010   December 2010   February 2011   May 2011   July 2011   September 2011   October 2011   November 2011   January 2012   February 2012   March 2012   April 2012   May 2012   July 2012   August 2012   October 2012   November 2012   December 2012   January 2013   March 2013   June 2013   July 2013   August 2013   September 2013   October 2013   November 2013   December 2013   January 2014   March 2014   April 2014   August 2014   September 2014   October 2014   November 2014   December 2014   February 2015   July 2015   August 2015   September 2015   November 2015   December 2015   January 2016   January 2017  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?