Monday, September 18, 2006

Adventures in Santiago

We went on what was supposed to be a six-day trip to Santiago to visit my husband's family. He is the youngest of 7, so there were quite a few to see. We left bright and early, September 4th. After driving for 8 hours, we arrived in Rancagua to visit our missionary friends, Wendy and Philip. They have two kids, just exactly my kids ages, so we all had a really nice time. Wendy lent me a new book which I'll blog about later.
The next day we drove into Santiago and stopped to see my FIL who is nuts, by the way. We didn't stay too long. We then started making the rounds. BILs and SILs and cousins all around. We even took the kids to the zoo and ate lunch at TGI Fridays. (I wonder why they never had a Friday's when we lived in Santiago?) We got so see our friend, Lori, who lent me several books. Thank you Lori! We stayed nights at our friend's house. They are our dear, dear friends. They also have 8 children. Add my 2 and you have a noisy, noisy house. No matter, we had a nice time.
On our last day (or so we thought) we drove to my other SIL's, over by the coast. We spent a nice day. We were headed back and Neil's nephew told him about a short-cut home. We thanked him for the tip and got on our way, as we still had one more SIL to see. Well, the "short-cut" was through a small mountain range and the van overheated. Greatly. By the time we got down the other side, we knew we were going to have problems. We were still 40 miles north of Santiago. As we were limping into Santiago, Neil noticed that the engine was dying. He decided to pull off the "freeway" at the next exit. But it wasn't an exit. It was an off-ramp for another "freeway". Then the engine died. On a one-lane, curved, up-hill, completely dark off-ramp frequented by big big trucks with heavy cargo, going as fast as they can to get up the hill.
Neil got out and put the relflective triangles out and stood outside with a flashlight trying to slow traffic down, while calling for help. As the trucks zoomed past us, Neil got really nervous and made us get out of the van, thinking that some truck just might not be able to swerve to miss us.
After about 15 minutes, a big truck carrying a huge load of bricks stopped traffic and pulled us to a safer place. Then the rope broke, leaving us once again, stranded on a one lane road, causing evening traffic to back up. As we tried to push the van, a nice guy in a pick-up offered to pull us to the nearest gas station. We gratefully accepted. We got to the gas station that was no more than that. No minimart, no bathrooms. We were there for about 30 minutes until BIL (a saint) came to help. We slowly made our way back to our friends house. After we dropped off the van at the mechanic's at around 11pm, we still had to go to SIL's house for dinner! We left her house at 2 am. ( I am not a "night person")
Obviously we couldn't leave then next day as planned. We were now in Santiago when we really needed to be at home. And now we did not have our van. We were at the mercy of our friends, family and public transportation. Oh yeah, and the mercy of the mechanic. Everytime Neil spoke with him, the price went up. Up to 400 dollars. Boo-hoo. So much for getting my piano fixed.
So, one week later we were able to go home. The Preacher had to do some damage control at Church. The house and pets were fine, thank you Sandra.
The worst part of week two was the lack of internet conectivity. I guess I'm not badly addicted to blogging. I didn't get the shakes, or anything like that. I did miss it though, missed you all.
Glad to be back.


Happymama said...

Wow~What a trip! Glad you made it back safe and sound. :D

You mentioned your hubby's family was there. Is he originally from Chile? Or are his parents missionaries there?


Michelle said...

whoa! WHat a trip! I've had a few unplanned travel stops like this too, and it is discouraging at times. Glad you all made it though, glad your all safe and sound. OH and I agree with Kristi's question - do explain the family in Chilie. Please?