And so the journey continues


Well here I am in Santiago preparing to say goodbye to some of my travelling companions and hello to some new ones.

The first stage of my South American adventure officially finished on Sunday. We arrived in Santiago on the Friday afternoon totally knackered after a fast drive to try and beat the sun falling (we did it!) and to get a bit more time in this cosmopolitan city.

Around a third of Chile's population (6m peeps) live in this city and it has the expected mix of really poor areas, colonial stuff and ultra modern.

Before arriving in Santiago though we drove through the Atacama desert which is reputed to be the driest place on earth with a few mm of rain every 100 years or so. Believe it or not it rained this year! (not when we were there though). Once through the desert the land becomes more fertile and you pass through shed loads of vineyards. Naturally a tour to a processing plant was called for and we visited a Pisco factory en-route.

For the uninitiated Pisco is derived from the process of taking perfectly good Muscatel grapes and producing quite a palatable wine and then proceeding to completely ruin it!

Some of the other uses of Pisco (other than a pickling agent) are; paint stripping, fire starting, disinfecting operating tables and ant-freeze amongst others. One of the most famous uses is the creation of Pisco Sour (Pisco, sugar and lemon) the Chileans claim this makes it drinkable (it's a lie!!!)

After our visit to the factory we concentrated reaching Santiago so other than sitting in the truck and watching the countryside zip by at an astounding rate of 40kph nothing much happened.

Anyway I'm sure you have the picture now. Claire flies back home later today and I know she is going to miss me and the others (well I'd like to think so). We leave Santiago after lunch and will be travelling south to the end of the world!

So, with the first leg complete and two more to go I will leave you wondering what will happen next.

Hope everyone is still jealous

Thinking of you always (NOT!)
Matt somewhere in South America !!!
Telephone: switched off