Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Going to Chile

I've held off on being excited because I've just had too much on my mind with Forest Run. Now that the load is clearing, I am getting really excited about jetting off to Chile on Saturday.

Celliers surprised me with tickets to Chile. We'd been talking about South America for a while and with loads of air miles about to expire, he jumped in and booked tickets. Because these are air-mile flights, we've got an odd routing via France to Sao Paulo and then Santiago; but this does mean we have 12hrs in Paris on our return journey to run around the city.

My intention was to put in some work on my Spanish before we left... Oh dear. It just didn't happen any more than my Spanish word-a-day. I'll try to cram some vocab on the plane. I look forward to the immersion and focusing intently on speaking and improving my Spanish while there.

Being in Parys, I've been speaking a lot of Afrikaans. I first started speaking Afrikaans more than 18 months ago to Celliers' children when I first met them. They're Afrikaans-German fluent. I'm delighted that the children have proclaimed my Afrikaans to be much improved (their English is much improved too). What speaking Afrikaans has been good for is to get my language neurons firing and to improve my confidence. I even speak Afrikaans on the phone to people! Apparently my accent is better too.

We're focusing our time in Chile on the regions South of Santiago, touching on Patagonia. We've booked accommodation for the first few nights (AirBnB is fabulous!) and look forward to staying with locals.

I've been to Chile twice, but this will be Celliers' first time in South America. He has missed out on a number of kayaking expeditions; finally he's getting over there with me. My travels in Chile have only been in Patagonia with the Patagonian Expedition Race; and also to visit dear friends who were living in Puerto Varas.

I have a Chilean friend currently living in Puerto Varas and it would be wonderful to meet up if he is in town. It has been a few years since we last saw each other (in India!). Being an adventurous type in the tourism industry it is not certain whether he'll be there when we're there.

Aside from two days to check out Santiago, another two on the coast and another two on the route south, our plans are flexi. We've got a Footprint Chile guide, which we'll tuck into on the plane and each day. We'll be taking our tent and sleeping bags so that we can camp in great spots. There's an abundance of lakes and mountains and nature reserves. And that's the bulk of our plans - for now.

As always, there's the pre-departure rush and so much to be done before we go. Getting onto the plan will be a relief. I did tell Celliers that I'm a bad travel companion - I have a wonderful ability to sleep on planes.

I may get a chance to write from there... but if not, I'll be back in SA on 22 June.

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