We did not leave Mendoza on New Year’s Eve mostly because Heinz didn’t feel well enough to drive yet and my leg was still quite bruised and swollen. We stayed at our Hostel Alamo and celebrated the incoming New Year with a bunch of German people: Karen (from Munich) and Galina (from Hamburg) and Willy and Connie (both from Munich) and a family from Heidelberg. We had good food, great champagne at midnight and…of course a whole lot of fun!
Next morning we said good-bye to all our new German, sleepy-eyed friends and had a beautiful ride alongside snow-capped mountains to the Chilean border. There was barely any line-up and we thought that would be a quick procedure. Oh well, not so!! Too many booths we had to go to, lots of documents we had to fill out, then we filled out the wrong document, no… it had to be the “azul” (blue) one, which nobody could find, then there was a number missing on it. We had to go back from Chile into Argentina to get this number…the guy at the gate wouldn’t let us through not understanding that we were just coming from Argentina …VERY confusing and frustrating…again! I do have to remind myself that “it’s all part of the adventure”!!!
So back from cold and windy mountains down to the valleys of Chile into Santiago, which sits surrounded by mountains partly snow-capped as well, we rode. It is summer here and the weather is hot and dry.
We were unable to find Maria’s (my cousin) house ended up downtown and asked a cab driver, who put me on the line with Maria on his cellphone.
Then finally after almost, I think, 40 years we had a wonderful “re-union.” Funny, it seemed like we’ve just seen each other 3 months ago!! I got to meet parts of her family too: her husband Raffael (from Chile) her daughter Elisabeth with husband Didier(from Haiti) and daughter Isabella, her daughter Paula, and Myriam (friend and former neighbor, who used to babysit her children…now living with her Italian husband in Genova)) with her daughters Valentina and Jaqueline. They all welcomed us with open arms.
We’ve been staying with them almost a week now. My right leg wound from my bike accident almost 2 weeks ago opened up and got infected now. I finally saw a Doctor yesterday after treating it myself (with Maria, who is also a nurse!) unsuccessfully. They have put me on antibiotics and tomorrow they will debride (cut away some dead tissue) the wound a bit. Oh, to add more fun, I lost a filling last Sunday so I had to see the dentist, who is actually a friend of Maria and Raffael. (I don’t think that’s part of the adventure, or is it???)
Apart from some “health maintenance” Heinz also had to do some bike maintenance as well. New rear tire for my bike, front tire for his bike, oil change for all. After all was done, he came home with a punctured back tire (a small piece of metal wire was peaking out of the tire!) He found a specialist, who could fix it, thank God!
Hopefully I will see and feel some improvement with my leg over the weekend and by Monday we can continue our trip. It will be time to leave. We are being so well fed that we both have gained weight!