Adios Chile

January 11, 2020


The plans are laid for a big rendez vous in Bangkok. Dana has built and tested the new tandem and will deliver it personally to Bangkok. Joël and Irène are packed and ready to join us there to continue their world tour by bicycle. Lucy and I have been training both on a tandem and on stationary bikes in the gym here in Santiago, Chile. At the same time, we are learning each other’s language.

Last year, I spent the Summer months traveling solo in the Northern Hemisphere, both in United States and Europe. The routine was comfortable except that I found I really needed a partner to share my adventure. As you might guess, it is not easy to find someone that is ready to drop everything and join me. I got really lucky.

In October, I met Lucy on Tinder, a dating app. When we met, I was in Europe and Lucy in Santiago, 12,000 km away. Tinder is supposed to find people in one’s vicinity. Go figure! To make it yet more interesting, Lucy spoke only Spanish. I did not speak any. But technology had a solution, machine translation. Thus we met and got to know each other. Then came the leap of faith.

By the first week in December 2019, plans were ready to execute. I flew to Santiago to be with Lucy. Together we built a plan to go explore this planet. We have been living together for the last month. In that time we have developed a working knowledge of each other’s language, and trained and equipped ourselves for the great beyond.

Time to go, Wheels Up at 6PM

Today is a big day for us. In a matter of hours we will leave Santiago for Bangkok. In order to do this, Lucy has liquidated her home and belongings, save one suitcase she left with her son, Aldo.

It still amazes me that Lucy is able to do this. I don’t speak her language, am not really from her culture, participate in an unusual pass time which you could describe as being homeless by choice. Yet she is totally committed to the project, to the point that she has effectively has left with no home to return to. We regularly talk through the tough spots we may encounter. She is undaunted.

Aldo and his fiancé, Pia drove us to the airport today. I get along well with those two. It helps a lot that they are bilingual. During the many family gatherings, Aldo and Pia served as the bridge across the language barrier. It made it very easy for me to be part of the scene, to be clued in to the humor, to understand the familial bonds.

Lucy’s Family

Shown here from left to right are: Veronica, Pia’s mother; Aldo, Lucy’s son; Me; and Pia, Aldo’s fiancé. Veronica held a high rank in the Carabineros (Federal law enforcement in Chile). Currently she is a lawyer for that same operation. Aldo is an executive for DHL in Santiago and holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Pia is a translator for the Carabineros. Her English is probably better than mine.
Aldo and Pia enjoy showing us around the special places in Santiago that the tourists will never find.
In the month that I have been living in Santiago, we have been together with some or all of Lucy’s family at least five times that I can count.
Goofing around in front of the Presidential palace in Santiago. Pia said she may be able to get us inside. I thought she was joking. She wasn’t. The woman has connections
Flag of Chile flying above the palace
Inside the palace. Me chilling with one of the guards.

I have decided to start my career as an artillery inspector.

“Of course you realize this gun has not been instpected in ages”. I’ve got my work cut out here.
Here in an arcade from yesteryear, Aldo is boxing with a coin op robot. Think of this as old school cyber security.

Next steps

Now it is Wednesday evening. Lucy and I made the big jump to Thailand in three flights. Between the flights, layovers, and time zone change, this consumed the whole weekend. We hit the ground running on Monday morning and have managed to retrieve my bike from KJ and Pya at Thammasat University, arranged storage space for my solo recumbent, extended my visa in Thailand to 60 days, mapped out a route for the first day. We even managed to do some sightseeing while we were at it.

Lucy and I have started using instagram and have posted many photos there. I think it would be good for Lucy to start blogging in Spanish. It would provide a good contrast to hear her side of the story. Meanwhile you can find Lucy’s and my instagram posts at viajesdelucy and woudentm respectively.

Hot on the horizon now is Dana. He has achieved superhero status from my perspective for personally delivering a recumbent tandem to my specifications faster than the manufacturer could possibly do. He will be here in just 3 hours and I am like a kid on Christmas morning, waiting impatiently for the great moment ahead.

Leaving Santiago over the Andes Mountains
Long flights for watching many many movies

Dubai Airport looking for someplace that’s nearly horizontal

Finally able to get fully horizontal.

Royal Thai Embassy. I’m here to get my visa extended to 2 months
Mission accomplished after about $100 USD in cab fares and fees.

A flowering Fern? Jim Kern says this is similar to the caesalpinia pulcherrima

Joël and Irène are packed and ready to fly from their home in Brittany France. They will meet us on Friday at the Bangkok Airport and we will tour together through Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.

Aldo and Pia are suggesting that we should eat bugs, a delicacy in Asia. So far we have not found any. Though I did try some deep fried duck faces. The bills are crunchy. Pictured here are crabs.

It’s like Christmas Morning here in Bangkok

Dana and Mel arrived with all the goodies. I’ll blog more later. Right now we are busy!