February 11th- 14th
Hello to the port city of Puerto Montt. Getting off the bus we already had an AirBnB booked who stated it was a couple of blocks from the bus terminal. Great! Let’s go for a walk! About 20 blocks later up a steep incline we quickly realized it was much further then we anticipated (come to find out there are two bus stations and we came from the other one). Add our extremely heavy packs, and I felt like I was training for the Olympics.
We finally arrived to the home and were warmly greeted by a middle aged couple. It was awkward at first because usually when you arrive they show you to your room, but we were informed to sit on the couch. Maybe the room wasn’t clean? Nope, “follow me”, the wife says. She leads us outside and down the block letting us know that it is actually her parents home that we will be staying in. Apparently, she just posted it for them since they aren’t the most tech savvy people. Introducing themselves, Rosario and Carlos were a humble older couple and showed us around their smaller but unbelievably comfortable home.
We soon realized that they were the type of people who would go out of their way to help with anything imaginable. We shared meals, ate many of her delicious homemade Miel (honey) cookies (of which I miss terribly now), and finally got to try matte tea (loose leaf tea which seems to be like crack to the locals) throughout our 3 day stay.
February 12th had finally arrived…the day to go pick up the rental car!!! More nervous than excited leading up to it because of the issues we had been having.
Background on issues…We knew we wanted to cross borders in the car (Chile-Argentina), which is difficult but not impossible, basically just needing extra documents. When booking the car a month prior and paying the absorbent $300 USD border crossing paperwork fee, we were emailing back and forth with an agent who seemed to speak and understand English. After asking then re-verifying if there was any other information they needed and being told no, we felt good. About five days prior to pickup, Uriah had some uneasy feelings and decided to call and confirm everything was in order. With the thinking of, the specific office location we were picking the car up from would be the best source, we difficulty found the number and called. It ended up being the managers cell phone, who didn’t speak English, so we then called the main number. After a few transfers to get to a semi-English speaking agent, we finally were able to confirm. Able to confirm that apparently we were suppose to send in extra documentation at least a week prior to our current call and that with there only being five days left they could not process the border paperwork in time (SHUT THE FRONT DOOR). He then told us it was impossible for us to receive what was needed, being that they have to specially send the paperwork from Santiago, which takes a week at least (horrible heart sinking feeling)…After going back and forth with him a few times, explaining our prior communication with an agent, and using some quick info from their website (which according to him was wrong), we basically pleaded with him to do anything and everything possible to make it work. He eventually agreed, but we still felt unsure of how the final outcome would be.
Now to continue…The day of pick up was very unsettling in not knowing whether the car was for sure going to be ready. We took an airport shuttle from the bus terminal (Carlos gave us a ride so we didn’t have to walk that again) but had to ask the bus driver to be dropped off early because the rental office wasn’t actually at the airport. As we kept an eye out for the office, Uriah had a stressed out, worried look, which is unusual for him. Getting off and walking up to the office, we were pointed to a room down a short hall (no, not Uriah). We stated to the gentleman working that we had a reservation under Uriah but he seemed to be confused (ekk). We then stated we were the people with the border crossing paperwork issue, then he knew. He said his manager was on the way with the paperwork. We waited jiterally in our seats as he helped another couple then started doing other paperwork. After 10 or so minutes went by I was about to get up and ask what was going on when another worker, who ended up being the manager, walked in quickly. After they conversed in Spanish, they called us in. Don don donnn. Letting us know they had the paperwork and the car was ready, we felt a huge weight being lifted off our shoulders. We were grinning like idiots when he was explaining everything to us. He pulled up the car, and there she was…little white Maria shining in the sunlight. We did a quick car inspection, then the super gringo picture posing, before driving away without a care in the world.
Now that we have the car, step two has initiated. Buy a crap ton of stuff to fill it with! We expected this part to be a quick stop to Lider, what they call Walmart in Chile, to buy all of our camping needs then be done. We were quickly disappointed at the limited selection of gear and how a Coleman cooler cost $80 USD. We thought to ourselves, this Walmart must just have a crappy selection because there is no way things are this minimal and this expensive. The harsh reality was we were shopping at the end of the season and because most of it is imported it is very expensive. So next time you are buying your $30 Coleman cooler, think to yourself of this moment and try and refrain from complaining. So, our one day shopping trip and get on the road turned into a 3 day go to every store in the city and kind of find stuff that might work while staying within a reasonable budget
We exasperatingly decided it wasn’t worth anymore fuss and we’ll just make do with what we have and should get on the road. And what a road it was…
Happy travels from U and B!
Don’t forget I’m uploading all the pictures onto the map! Just click on any of the areas to see pictures!