Goodbye South America, and thanks for all the fish (mainly salmon)

Santiago International Airport – Chile

It is time to say goodbye to South America and farewell to our last port of call – Chile. During our short time in Santiago we sampled some specialties including:- a Corona beer served upside down in a pint sized mojito; the Chilean version of a Pisco sour to compare to their neighbours’ version (Peru also claims its paternity); some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon ever to pass my lips, local pacific oysters and enough seafood – smoked, bbq’ed, grilled, fried and raw – to decide it may be time to give it a break for a while.

With its long boulevards and spacious suburbs, we quickly wished we could have stayed a little longer in Santiago de Chile. This shaking city is actually everything but a South American city: clean, modern, safe and ordered…with a twist of Latin flavour which offers the locals a fantastic lifestyle – special thanks to Rodrigo and Vinka for their wonderful hospitality.

As a result, these few days in Santiago have been spent lazing around, recovering from our road trip to the south and trying to fit nearly 6 months of travels in our slowly deteriorating luggage. The Magyver sticky tape solution we applied in Mexico has come undone, and we are slightly concerned that this particular bag, which I just found out wsighs a little over 29 kilograms, will not make the few flights we have remaining. Fingers crossed!

Have I mentioned already that we “packed too much”?

These 29 kilograms of ‘America’ needs to be dropped “home” in Sydney before heading for new adventures. If only we could have packed in one bag, 6 months of our South American experiences and memories whist travelling in this amazing continent…alas the photos will have to suffice.

As our travels are now well underway, people we meet start asking the obvious question: “And so, what was your favourite place?” In short, the straight and obvious answer is: “None, but all of them!”.

We have visited (not including our stop over in Colombia) 8 countries in a little under 6 months. From the south, to the east to the west of the USA to the North via the south of Chile, we have experienced something fascinating and unique in each country, city and suburb we have had the pleasure to visit. People, colourful folklore, captivating history, tasty food, picturesque scenery are all things that have all made us pull out the camera, read more about the subject and in all – just open our minds.

Naturally, some memories will be longer lasting than others. For instance, sampling the colourful and tasty food (and drinks!) in Mexico, sipping a rum cocktail in a casa particular with salsa music in the background in beautiful Trinidad, Cuba; following the Inca king track to Machu Picchu in Peru; or even practicing our tango moves in a popular milonga in Buenos Aires…and so many more. We discovered an incredibly diverse and complex continent, sometimes full of contradictions, that really would take a lifetime to fully grasp.

So like everything the time has come to say, “Goodbye South America”. You were kind to us. The weather treated us well, the bus rides all reached their destinations without injury and, in retrospect, the food poisoning was not too severe. We reached the peaks of each summit we attempted to climb and helped some needy children as a way of giving something back. It has been an unforgettable experience which we would recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to take some time out of their privileged busy lives to see how the majority of the world lives.

No doubt…we will return..next time with smarter packing knowledge, a stronger stomach ready for new Latin adventures. So I suppose it isn’t ‘goodbye’ then. Let’s just call it – ‘Au revoir South America’.

And ‘Bonjour l’Asie’!

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