After a much-needed three days of recovery and sleep maintenance, I left for my next adventure (and I probably do mean adventure) race in Easter Island. As the plane took off I became very thankful that Chile is on the same time zone as the East Coast so right after dinner it was off to sleep for me.
We arrived in Santiago, Chile the morning of June 1. It was very brisk, about 55 degrees with snow capped Andes there to greet us. What a wonderful and beautiful site to see mountains again! As we drove to our hotel I was keenly aware of the stark contrast between China and Chile. Although there is a pollution problem here in Chile (they sit in a valley with the Andes alongside) it did not appear to be as dramatic as that in China. The streets were rather quiet today, Sunday, as the people were in mourning for their Chief of Police who died in a helicopter crash while in Panama. He was very revered here so a 3-day mourning period was initiated with the funeral taking place this afternoon. Once again I am reminded how fragile life is while experiencing the natural earthquake disaster in China to a human accident in Chili. I’m now wondering if this thread will continue to run through my 7 continent running experiences. As I hope that no more lives will be taken I can only ponder how this is exactly why I am running….to save lives!
Here in Santiago there are somewhere around 40,000 stray dogs running the streets. They seem to have figured out how to blend in with the human population as sleeping on the sidewalk, scavenging the ground for morsels to eat and roaming in and out of the pedestrians appears to be quite normal. Their only natural enemy is the bicycle, which they dislike intensely.
I have only begun to experience the land and people here in Santiago but after climbing up a very high point I was able to get a panoramic view of this sprawling city. The snowcapped Andes are magnificent, as they stand high above the city just waiting for the snowbirds to descend upon them. Today I will leave downtown Santiago for the coast and can only imagine how wonderful the area will be. The people here are very open and friendly. Not much English is spoken so I am trying hard to remember my limited Spanish, getting a few laughs along the way from those trying to figure out what this Gringo is asking!!!
We will be here in Santiago for 3 days before heading off on a 4½ hr flight to Easter Island. I hope that Internet access will be available there however, most likely will not. Please be patient with my blog about the race as I promise to write and have it posted as soon as I return (unless all works from there.)
More to come!