Day 0. Sydney – Antofagasta, Chile

Posted: August 26, 2019 in Chile, Cycling, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

‘Give me a tip. 20,000 or 40,000 – it’s up to you.’ ($A40 or $A80). What could I do? He had my bike.

How did this happen?

‘Yes,’ I replied, bike and luggage in hand at Santiago airport, freshly out from customs, just through the sliding door.
‘You’re going to be late!’
That’s when the whirlwind started.
He whisked me away, up lifts, across hallways, jumping queues.
My bag was dropped off at the check-in and the bike was whisked away to oversized luggage by his colleagues while we ran to security.
He also took me past the ATM. I wanted to go to one anyway.

So, my bike with his colleagues somewhere back there and security ahead, he asked for a tip. And not a small one. I only had large denomination notes and he knew it. He had been helpful. He was an airport official. But asking for the tip made me wonder if my bike was going to arrive in Antofagasta at all.

I used my newly refreshed Spanish at the gate to check that the luggage was, indeed, on the plane.

Nothing bad had happened. Lesson learned. Be careful.

The bike arrived in one piece and survived me putting it together.

My evening and next day in Antofagasta was spent sitting on the balcony, getting provisions for crossing the Atacama Desert and watching kids dance in large square.

View from my balcony

View from my balcony

A nice lawn for urination

A nice lawn for urination

The dancing kids

The dancing kids

It seemed that the dancers were all teenage girls, some non-binary kids and effeminate guys. Quite an interesting mix.

Tomorrow the bike trip starts – up and out of Antofagasta and into the Atacama Desert.

  1. Bev says:

    Have a great trip and enjoy. . Love hearing your stories.

  2. North Wales Yorkie says:

    We were approached by two dodgy characters at Santiago airport claiming to work for TransVip, the taxi firm contracted to provide free transport to the hotel for us and our bikes. They were suspiciiously eager so we went to the TransVip desk.while they skulked off scowling.

    Another weird but not suspicious incident was at Customs where we were astonished to be asked for the serial numbers of our bikes. They were entered on a form, stamped with the date and we were told we’d have to hand it in when crossing into Argentina where we’d be issued with their version, and vice-versa when re-entering Chile. When we returned to Santiago for our flight home we’d have to bring it to door 4 of the Customs office so it could be cancelled. So we did after our holiday and the staff in door 4 knew nothing about this procedure.

  3. Sol says:

    Aaarrgghhhhh, you’re off again! I’m sooo jealous!
    How long you in South America for? We’re thinking of heading over, starting in Colombia

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