For our first day of 2013, we decided a road trip up the coast to Zapallar was in order. It was about an hour drive to this luxurious coastline town. The modern mansions set amongst the wooded hills resembled ones you would see in the Hollywood Hills or Malibu. The elite of Chile have definitely found a sanctuary here. We stumbled upon a cute little outdoor restaurant that served a wide assortment of empanadas and thirst quenching Heinekens. With full belly’s we headed 2 kilometers south to the pretty Cachuga beach. Hundreds of people and surfers all shared our same thought. The waves were too small and evening was approaching, so we headed back to Con Con for our last night by the sea.
Mom’s flight didn’t leave until 11pm and our overnight bus to Puerto Montt wasn’t until 10pm, so we took our time heading back to Santiago on January 2nd. After having such a wonderful lunch at Casa de Bosque previously, we decided on a return visit and a wine tour this time. Being our last wine tasting we splurged on the upgraded 6 Reserva tasting tour for $35/person. The grounds of this property are sensational, so we assumed the tour would be impressive as well. It was the worst one yet. The tour guide showed us a few vines on the side of the building, took us through the wine cellar as a forklift driver beeped through her entire speech and then finished in a beautiful room for the tastings. Unfortunately, she literally poured a drop of wine in each glass, making it nearly impossible to even sample this poor excuse for a tasting. The tour ended at 4pm, just as the kitchen was closing. But we were able to sneak in for a repeat of those delicious appetizers we tried last time.
To simplify driving through Santiago, we dropped mom off at the airport on the way by 6pm. With many tears, we sadly said goodbye for another 9 ½ months. In theory, this would give Abe enough time to drop me off at the bus station with all our luggage and get to the rental car company before they closed at 7pm and return to me via the subway. Abe dropped me off outside the parking lot of what I expected to be the Cruz del Sur bus station, but truly it was the dirty outdoor station of Ahumada with a few Cruz del Sur buses. With two 23-26 kilo each rolly bags, a duffle bag and Abe’s surfboard under my arm, I stumbled to the first bench that was free. Well, I didn’t actually make it to the bench completely without the surfboard and bags dropping out of my limbs. Luckily, the nice lazy-eyed janitor ran over and helped me. Previously, it had only taken us 20 minutes to get to the car rental office, so I figured Abe would be back by 7:30, maybe 8pm if the subway station was far from where I was. With all the luggage and a full bladder, I wasn’t about to try and find a bathroom or the ticket office until Abe returned. I mean it would only be an hour, hour and a half, right? So I sat on that bench as bus after bus and traveler after traveler came and went and the clock ticked by. 8pm became 8:30 and 8:30 became 9. He had dropped me off 2 ½ hours ago. Did he get in an accident? Did the detailed directions, address and nearby cross streets blow out the window and he didn’t know how to find me? Where could he be? What could have happened? All these thoughts were flustering me more and more every second. Our bus was set to leave in an hour. Okay, take a deep breath. We didn’t have a back up plan, no phone, no internet. There was a hostel across the street. Yes, that’s where I would go if he didn’t show by 10pm. I would find wifi somewhere and hopefully he would as well and we could find each other. By 9:20pm, the tears started to stream down my face. We had only been married for 7 ½ months, please don’t let me lose my husband on our honeymoon. We should never have separated!
At 9:30pm I looked up and a very flustered and exhausted Abe was walking toward me. I ran to him and said, “What happened?” He said, “It was bad, really bad.” What?? Oh god, terrible thoughts all ran through my head in the seconds of silence before he spoke again. He said, “The traffic was so bad, I didn’t make it in time. The Budget Car Rental office was closed. The gate was closed and there was nowhere to park the car or leave the key. I drove up and down the street trying to find a safe place. I tried to get the attention of another rental car office next door, but they wouldn’t come out and help me. So I just parked the car half way in their driveway, half in the street and locked the keys in the car. I didn’t know what else to do. Hopefully, someone doesn’t break in and steal it. Its not the nicest of neighborhoods”. I kissed and hugged him, not wanting to let go. At least he didn’t get in an accident.
While the tears had started to fall down my face, Abe had actually been looking for me inside the bus terminal and thought I had left to find him. There was an inside bus terminal? Ugg! I had no idea. The idea that I had to pee quickly rushed back to me, so I left him on the bench with all the luggage, went and picked up our pre-purchased tickets, found a bathroom and discovered there was wifi. That whole time I could have been inside. I emailed Budget car rental and let them know what had happened. Hoping that perhaps they could send someone out there to move the car into the gates. And emailed my mom, who had been sitting comfortably in the Admirals Lounge at the airport the whole time. Abe went and got us the only dinner he could find, Burger King chicken sandwiches. I gave up fast food a long time ago, but boy did it taste good! At 10pm, we boarded our bus. It wasn’t as nice as the Cruz del Sur in Peru, but still comfortable enough and had wifi as well. It didn’t take long for our exhausted emotionally drained bodies to fall asleep to our moving bed for the night. Next stop Patagonia!