25: In Santiago de Chile

Days 69, 70 & 71

Day 69 (1st Feb.)
Well, we had planned to set off today but it’s so relaxed and friendly here that it’s so easy to keep putting it off. There’s a mix of people here, but we all have a common interest in travelling so there’s always lots to talk about.  There’s an Australian guy who’s cycling around the world and has been here awhile waiting for post to be forwarded, another from Las Vegas who is waiting for parts to arrive for his Suzuki and will then be heading south to Motocamp (where Christian has picked up some post for him), and many people just stopping overnight.

Another bike arrives….this time having come down from Bolivia heading for Lima, ridden by a Spanish chap living in Texas!

We visited a museum of Pre- Colombian Art today where there was a fascinating exhibition of pottery, ceramics, metal masks and jewellery on display, all dating back to the time when south and central America remained undiscovered by the Europeans.  It brought home the fact that there were a number of civilisations established in Central and South America for thousands of years before the Spanish Conquistadors arrived only a few hundred years ago.

Mark still needs to find chain oil for the bike as we didn’t get around to it today, so that is a task for tomorrow. We’ll probably need to head off after that as it’s the Grand Prix on Saturday and may therefore be very busy and possibly difficult to get out of the city with roads closed and diversions in place.

Day 70 (2nd Feb.)
After doing some on-line research, Mark settled on getting gearbox oil for the bike’s chain and headed off alone to Calle Lira, a road full of bike shops. I think we have mentioned before when we were last in Santiago, we found that there were shops all selling the same type of goods in certain zones in the city, be it electrical, DIY, haberdashery etc., with bikes and car accessories being found along the whole length of Calle Lira, some 20 minutes walk away. For some people this could be very exciting, but the majority of the bikes for sale were small Chinese machines, so not as exciting as it sounds! However, we did see some KTM, Suzuki and Yamaha showrooms, too.
Once back, Mark filled up the oil reservoir for the chain oiler and checked the sidecar bolts, tyre pressures, coolant level, chain tension and so on, so when we’re ready to go we just have to load up the bike.
In the evening we had a walk to the area where the Formula E Grand Prix race will be held tomorrow. There were several large TV screens, and the grandstands and barriers had also been set up along the roads. We were surprised to see that a road had been dug up by a huge digger just by one of the main grandstands where thousands of people will be walking tomorrow and thought of how health and safety regulations would never allow this at home!  Here, people were just crossing over the broken-up, wobbly tarmac as if it was nothing unusual!


Day 71 (3rd Feb.)
Today was the Grand Prix and we tried to get a look at the racing, but it was very busy with large crowds, and was very hot. All the viewing tickets had been sold out so we had to make do with watching on one of the big screens. We recognised some of the places on the screen, including the spot where we were standing, but could only just hear the cars as they went by since they were so quiet, with only a high-pitched whine to announce their presence. We both felt that this reduced the excitement of the race somewhat, but appreciate it is better for the environment!

We now feel that we’ve had enough time again in Santiago and will definitely be leaving our hostel in the morning to head northwards along the coast, which we have been told has some lovely beaches but a cold sea due to the water flowing up from the Antarctic!

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