Showing posts from June, 2010

Home Again!

For those who don't know about it yet, I am safe and sound and back home again.  Arranging for the bike for to be shipped back to Canada was rather anticlimactic compared to getting it out of Calama.  I arrived in Santiago on Friday afternoon, so did not return to the airport until the following Monday.  I had just planned to find out where everything was and prepare myself for the ordeal that was sure to follow, based on my experiences to date.  As it it turned out, the bike boxes were waiting for me when I arrived and it was a relatively simple matter to arrange for having them transported to Canada.  LAN Cargo gave me a choice of three Canadian airports, Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary.  Calgary is a mere 3 hours south of Edmonton, so that is where the bike will go. According to the LAN cargo tracking thingy on the internet the bike left Santiago today (the 14th), so it should be in Calgary by the end of the week.  The cost will be a bit over the USD 1500 and change LAN Cargo


Santiago is probably the most 'complete' city I have visited in South America, in that it has everything a city is expected to have, fine parks, a comprehensive public transportation system that includes modern buses, subway system, LRT to suburbia, excellent limited access roads that do not take a back seat to any in Canada and the USA, modern buildings and well kept old ones.  I was expecting to see more evidence of the recent earthquake, and really have seen nothing yet.  In my hotel they tell me it brought down the ceiling on the fifth floor, but apparently it is fixed now.  Some of the older buildings have hoarding on them, but nothing more than you would expect to see in any city that has old buildings, which do need maintenance from time to time. One somewhat interesting thing I have noticed about Chile, based on my staying in hotels and eating in restaurants, is that Chileans can give the Scotch lessons on tightfistedness.  Restaurant portions always leave me hungry

The Great Escape

Finally I am out of Calama, and hopefully so is the bike.  I am now in Santiago,  after 14 days and 14 nights in the desert, I have reached the promised land.  PTL! Woohoo!  Santiago is great, especially after Calama, which was nice enough, but hardly one of the world's great places to visit.  In an earlier post I compared it to Fort MacMurray, it could also be Flin Flon or Thompson Manitoba.  It is a mining town, full of hard working people, who probably look forward as much to putting Calama in their rear view mirrors as I did. In order to leave Calama I had to get the bike shipped to me in Santiago.  The LAN cargo people were unable to figure out how to get the bike shipped to Canada and were going to involve in DHL.  I have had experience with DHL in the past, and I would not want to use them to send a post card to someone I did not like, let alone ship my bike.  They have an office in Calama, I had already walked in there asked what it would cost, they quoted me $6,000 (!!!

Still here in Calama

It has been a stressful week and a half for me here in Calama, I never know what is going on, I can't communicate adequately when it comes to my now much more complicated needs.  I can order food, buy stuff, get hotels, ask for directions, but when it comes to the complexities of international shipping arrangements for motos, I am perdito (lost).  I am still not sure what is going on, but at least the bike is packed and at the cargo terminal at the Calama airport. I am being helped  by the 'jefe' of Hosteria Taira where I am staying.  He has been great, he has taken me to the local building supply outlet for crate materials and we used his truck to take the bike to airport, twice. I had all the stuff packed into the bike crate except the engine and we took it to LAN carga.  Turned out that the bike crate was overweight by 20 kg, the limit is 170 kg, and it was 190.  I took some stuff out of the crate to bring it to 170 but they said that the cardboard cover of the ste