Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday, September 15

Today we woke up early, packed, and were ready to go by 11:30. It was really different getting ready for a trip with another family because they have a pattern of preparation that is very different from the pattern that my family follows when we are getting ready to go to Mexico. They are a lot less organized, and everything took a lot longer than necessary. I just tried to help wherever I could. We finally headed out, and after a little while, we stopped at a gas station to get lunch. Then, a few hours later, we stopped at another gas station for a bathroom break, and when we tried to turn the car on again, it wouldn’t start.
Maxi and Eric had to walk to a different gas station nearby while Nancy, Monse, and I sat outside the car and played cards. A mechanic came and used jumper cables to start the car, but the battery was still weak, and so for the rest of the trip we didn’t turn the car off again for fear that it wouldn’t start back up. We drove up into the Andes Mountains, and as we climbed higher, we saw more and more snow until the whole world was white with high, impressive mountains on all sides. When we finally passed through a tunnel into Argentina, I was really excited.
We got into the customs line at the border, and that was when our next set of problems started. First, we had to go to a special room and fill out a form and pay a fee of $160 because I am from the US. I have no idea why, but the fee only applies to people from the US. When we got back to the car after paying the fee, the customs officials came to talk to Eric. They told him that there was an outstanding tax on the car that he hadn’t paid, and they couldn’t let the car into Argentine. We would have to go all the way back to Rancagua to pay the fee. We had no choice but to turn around and go back to Chile. The customs line to get back into Chile was long, and so Maxi and I got out of the car with the floor mats, and went “sledding” with the mats on a nearby hill.
It was the most fun I had all day, although when I got back to the car I literally couldn’t feel anything in my hands, and as they warmed up again they hurt like never before. We made it through customs and back into Chile. Then we wound our way down the mountains and back to Rancagua. I listened to music and Maxi and Monse slept. We arrived at the house around 11, and I was asleep by 12 because we were planning to wake up early the next morning for our second journey to Argentina.

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