Back home: So long and thanks for all the fish.


So we were present for a Roman Catholic Mass tonight, and it made me think of a story I’d like to share with everyone.

Picture, if you will, two young men standing outside the Cathedral of the Blessed Ascension in the Plaza de Armas, Santiago. Between them: a sail, a mast, and a boom, wrapper in mesh; 2 oars, a rudder, and a keel; and 4 inflatable pontoons wrapped in a single canvas package with mesh strap handles. With a moments sigh, they pick up their packages, each carrying a side of the canvas package in one hand, and in the other, one of the other two bundles, and walk through the aged wooden doors of the Cathedral. They walk across the nave and down the aisle with a sense of purpose; ignoring looks of confusion and curiosity from the passing congregation. Meeting a man dressed conservatively, but casually, with a large red Templar cross pinned to his woolen jumper they pause. Words are exchanged and the two men take a seat and patiently wait.

Soon after the man returns and asks them to follow him, and to bring their packages. Passing a red velvet barrier, they continue past the chancel, the sanctuary, and navigate their way through two more sets ornate, worn, wooden doors into a small transept at the back of the church.

Therein, they find the padre dressed in his white cloak. He stands before the two men with his hands clasped in front of him. He greets the two men:

Buenos Noches, como esta?

Bien, gracias padre.

Que puedo hacer por tu?

Padre… hemos conducido de Alaska a Suramericana. Y tenemos un barco que quisieremos donar a la ingelsia.

A moment of confusion ensues…

Un Parka? For el montanas frigo?

Uhhh… non padre… Un Barco.

… un Barco?


With his hands still clasped in from of him, the priest takes a moment and stares at the boat. One of the men continues:

Un donacion por la iglesia. Por un orfanato tal vez… tu sabes…por los ninos.


The priest continue to look at the boat contemplatively. A moment of acceptance comes over him, he turns to the men, places his hand on their foreheads, blesses them, and thanks the men for their donation. The men reply de nada. As they walk out they hear a quiet, but slightly confused voice …un barco?

The two men take their place among the congregation in a pew and sit quietly through the Mass and quietly walk out after the Sacrament is offered. The priest chose the parable of Jesus on the boat.

The end of the road

On the 28th of July, 93 days and 23,120 km after first setting off from Anchorage, Alaska, a very weary 98 Kia Sportage rolled into the leafy suburbs of Santiago de Chile. In the past three months, she had her engine rebuilt completely, timing belt changed twice, her mirror pulverised in Guatemala, a cracked pipe leaking steering fluid in Colombia, radiator redone, blown cooling hose and my, how the list goes on, but somehow, the damn car made it all the way down here. Oh yeah… and the blown tire.

We got pretty lucky in meeting one Senor Alexander Ruff, who helped us to sell Shakira to an acquaintance of his for a reasonable sum (and legally, what the hell!) and in the space of 24 hours, which is a feat anywhere but especially for 2 Australians selling a US car in Chile. Alexander, here’s to you *gulps wine*

Not much to say about Chile… lots of desert… it’s definitely the most organised and wealthy country in South America and, barring the cold, could easily be mistaken for Spain. We are sitting in our little apartment in Santiago (see picture below), trying to pack 18 bags’ worth or crap we’ve gathered into 4 bags allowed onto the plane.

We’ve been lazy with the posts lately. It’s because we are tired from driving 15,000 km across the Americas… you know…