It's a Wild Life! - Feeling like a Local
When you read our last blog we were still in our 5-day mandatory quarantine. We're about one month further, and a lot has happened and at the same time it feels like we're not much further yet. Most of the time we were busy arranging things in order to stay in Chile or for the car. To give you an idea:
Before we could leave for Chile we had to get our vaccines approved by the Ministry of Health here in Chile. This we did a soon as we heard the country would open again, and it took them about 2-3 weeks to 'temporarily approve' it. We had to get a PCR-test in The Netherlands before the flight, fill in an affidavit before getting on the plane, take a PCR-test in Chile on arrival, stay in quarantine for 5 days/120 hours and fill in a daily 'declaration of health'-form for 14 days. After this we got a QR-code for 30 days ('Pase de Movilidad') which allows you to get into places. We had to arrange a quantitative Covid-antibody test at a laboratory in Chile to prove our vaccination even further, upload the results (after we had to go back again because they lost them) and finally we got accepted to stay for 90 days! Most of the information is in Spanish, and if they say you need a quantitative antibody test, they don't refer you to an address^^ So you can imagine we have been busy just in order to stay here.
Why did we want to go to Chile per se you might ask? Well, this is more or less the only country in South-America where it is possible to buy a car (easily) as a foreigner. So most of our time here in Santiago has been filled with arranging paperwork like getting a RUT, a local ID number for Chile, at the notary. The rest of the time we were looking for second hand cars that suited our needs and going all over the city to inspect them. We have some help of a company here, but the working mentality is quite different (read: slower amongst others). So we are (and have to be) on top of the process to make sure that there are no more delays. Luckily we managed to get to some sights around the Santiago region to escape the city, see some incredible nature and photograph the first wildlife (see our Chile photo page).
Camping in Valle el Yeso
Getting the money for the car here posed quite a problem. To avoid huge currency conversion fees we used Wise to send the money to the company we're working here with. Unfortunately the money didn't arrive due to some fraud-checks that had to be carried out and we didn't have internet for those 2 days they gave us. So the appointment at the notary for buying that car we liked couldn't go through and on top of that the owner changed his mind as well because his new car wouldn't arrive on time for his January trip either. Stress levels high up! In the end we managed to get the money partly by debit and credit cards and partly cash. Rob managed to convince the owner in half English/half Spanish to sell the car to us anyways if we chipped in for the rental of a car for his January holiday.
So we were able to go to the notary, get the car officially in our name, and now we're the happy owners of a Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0 from 2010.
Because this car will be our home for the next 2 years, we are having it converted (camperised as you will). While we would love nothing more than speed up the process by helping ourselves, this process involves mostly a lot of waiting for us here in Santiago. Most days are filled by going by bus and metro to different stores all over Santiago to find utilities for our car and the travel. But, the end is near and it seems that after the 19th of November we are finally able to really travel with our house on wheels! We even got an official permission from the previous owner at the notary to take it across the border (more on that later). Now let's see if the borders to Argentina will open soon...
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RN Río de los Cipreses