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Nick and Laina's Adventures

$100,000 in Puerto Natales,Chile!

CHILE | Saturday, 24 January 2009 | Views [854] | Comments [3]

Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales

Today we will finally start our journey out of Tierra del Fuego! From Rio Grande, we decided to wash laundry get some food, and hitchhike to Chile! After we finished all our preparations, we headed to the highway, a little late, like 4:00 PM. At the highway, the wind was blowing like 50 mph! And it was cold, not the best weather for hitchiking. We waited for 2 hours 45 mins, and our morale got really low. Finally we were about to give up and then we caught a ride with a guy headed to San Sabastian, a small town on the border of Argentina and Chile.  The town was pathetically small. There was one restaraunt/hostel and a gas station. The hostel charged 200 pesos for the room(way too much) so we headed to the gas station to ask if we could camp behind it. He pointed at an old abandoned building next to hostel and said that we could camp behind it. We exchanged looks with each other, and we`re like, “Free? All right!” So we set up our tent in what we called “the Junkyard”  an old abandoned machanic  shop with alot of junk behind it. At least the building was a good windguard.  We bought a nice chicken soup for cheap from the restraunt, and then went to bed for our next large day of hitchiking!

First thing in the morning (after getting ripped off for breakfast), we crossed the border out of Argentina on foot, and put up our sign and stuck out our thumbs. After 2 ½ hours of hitching we were starting to lose faith. We finally saw a bus headed to Punta Arenas, Chile, in the general direction we were heading. Laina went up and asked the cost, which turned out to be cheap, and we bought ourselves some tickets for the last three remaining spots on the bus. I dont think that it was a legitímate trade, because they never asked our names and then when we headed into chile, we got off before everyone else and told the crossing that we were hitching across the border. All said and done, everything worked out great. The bus driver was so accomidating to us, he even got in contact with another bus headed to the town we were headed to (Puerto Natales) and we did a bus switch mid-highway!

Arriving into Puerto Natales, we headed to the Cajero(ATM) and withdrew some money. How much did I withdraw, you ask? 100,000$ Chilean Pesos!!! $100,000! I`m rich! No, I`m not really, the exchange rate is 600 Chilean to 1 Dollar. So if you do the math, it is not really that much money.

We got a nice campground in town for US$5 a night, which is pretty cheap, and got some groceries, made ourselves at home, ate some Chilean Chorizo, and had nice sleep after a long day of traveling.

If you know your geography, you might know we are in the vicinity of National Park Torres Del Paines, one of the Premire parks in South America. While it looks beautiful, it is so expensive to enter, that we decided to skip the park and study spanish instead. We tried to buy tickets to head north, instead of hitchhiking, because hitching here is difficult in the cold wind. The earliest we can leave here will be the 29th of January, so we will be here for 5 days and trek around town, and study spanish.

In our campground we met three more guys from the US, and chatted about Obama and the new administration. For me, it seems so far removed, and far away, and I really enjoyed hearing the news they shared,  because it is difficult to keep in touch with US news, the time I spend on the computer is pretty much strictly limited to communication with ya`ll!

So I will have more news as it comes, but know that for the next few days we will be trying to lower our daily expenditure and learn some more spanish, also we will be in Puerto Natales, Chile. Look for it down in the south south of Chile, about 250 km north of Punta Arenas!

Check out the updated photo álbum on photobucket!




Hi Nick and Laina,
I finally got caught with you on your exciting travels.
FYI,my wife,Ann and I are your mom and Holly's next-door neighbors(of Georgia Acquarium fame!).
They were kind enough to share your blog w\ us and I just finished reading all of it.
Even though the fact that we've got 50+ years on you would be good enough reason,I can't imagine doing what the two of you are doing.
We're the two weeks at-a time travelers whose idea of roughing it is a hotel with white sheets (well almost).
We look forward to your next posting and wish you the very best.
Be well and thank you so much for letting us share in your travels.
Warmest Regards,
Russ & Ann
Following your adventures is truly exciting.

  Russ Jan 25, 2009 7:16 AM


Hi travelers,

I guess I am surprised that it is so cold there. I had thought it would be more like summer. How much does it cost to get into the beautiful park? I read in the paper today that there is a big drought in southern argentina. Did you notice it?
Have you ever felt afraid? Are blood sausages good or just tolerable?

We are pruning the roses and the lemon tree today. We are going to see michael play basketball at 2pm. Be safe and take lots of pictures. They are wonderful.

Love, aunt mary and uncle mark xx00

  aunt mary Jan 25, 2009 7:24 AM


I went over and had tea with Lucy yesterday and Sophia was there.
We had a nice visit and she showed me the casket she is help building. Very interesting,to say the least.
Your dad, Laina is almost done with this hectic month...They have been working almost no stop , 7 days a week.
Gramma is doing better and we just bought he a new wardrobe closet which is going to work well for her. Because she has shrunk..age...she couldn't reach her kitchen cabinets, so this new wardrobe will be great because she can put dishes and her cereal and even coats in it.
Re: heaving about what is going on in US. President obama met for several hours with Republican leaders, trying to pursuade them to get on board with his stimulus package. I listened to several pundits say that if the Republicans are going to have any type of party or leaders, they need to really oppose this package. Richard said that if you stacked two trillion dollar bills on top of each other it would reach over 120miles...
Have fun meeting all the new people and I do hope the wind stops. I was thinking like Aunt Mary. I thought it would be warm.
Uncle Richard sat down and read all of your letters but I don't know if he wrote to you. He loved them!!
Lachlan is having his adnoids out tomorrow...He is really thinking seriously about walking. A darling baby.
Connor is coming to stay with us a week while Susan goes to Hawaii for a wedding.That will be fun.
Love, Aunt Pat xx oo

  Aunt Pat Jan 28, 2009 11:52 PM

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