While life with only public transportation has treated us quite well, we were stoked to pick up a vehicle left for us by a pair of saintly friends (they were travelling in South America, went home with plans to return to Chile, left their car for us to borrow…amazing, right?!). One thing I keep being reminded of is that people make ALL the difference. Here, people have treated us with so much hospitality and generosity, it is incredible. Our neighbor Carlos offered to drive Jeff to pick up the car, even though it was parked at a random mountain house between one and two hours away. That is far; I will admit, I have never been that kind. But I hope, in the future, I will be willing to go that extra mile (or 30 kilometers) to pay forward the goodness that has been shared with us.
So the gentlemen go get the car, and like a shot, we were OFF! Ok, that’s not exactly true. First we had to procure a working battery. Our friends had warned us that theirs’ was nearing its end, and with lots of trips in sight, we figured we would just avoid that dead battery panic and proactively change it out. So we headed to the mall, because here in Santiago, car batteries are easily purchased at the mall. And our dear friend Ian was planning to also be at the mall (“the big one one the way to the mountains” he told me). This was so perfect! We’d get our battery, hug our friend (more on his visit coming in later posts), and then have a working car! So much to be excited about.
Racing to get to the mall in to see Ian (he was just doing shopping for the ski team he brought down and was on a tight schedule), we ran from the metro to the Costanera Center, the five story mall housed in the largest sky scraper in South America. We hustled into the building wielding a stroller and small suitcase, as Ian had brought a few boxes from the U.S. for us and we were excited to take them off his hands. Inside the grocery store where he was supposed to be checking out, we frantically searched for him, knowing we would only get to visit for a few minutes before he had to head up to the ski resorts. And then, when we were standing at the checkout where he said he was also standing, I realized a sad fact: there were multiple big malls on the way to the mountains. He must be at a different one. DANG! This was obviously very disappointing, but we knew we would see him later in the week so we grabbed a huge thing of diapers and wipes, checked out, and headed to the battery store.
Long story short, we bought a battery, lugged it home on the metro, realized it was the wrong one, so Jeff lugged it back a mile to the mall via Rayna’s stroller. But by the end of the day, we had the right battery, a working car, and THEN we were off!
Since getting the car, we have been to the beach for a couple of days (great recommendation from a friend to head to Maitencillo), to the La Parva Ski Resort (to visit Ian), and out to a little town an hour from Santiago to attend a family party at a friend’s farm (more on that later). It has made life easier, we feel like we can really explore Chile now, and we are ultra-mega-super grateful to our friends Christie and David for leaving us the car. We still have been/plan on leaning mostly on public transport, but four wheels to get anywhere we want to drive sure feels liberating and exciting.