Monday, November 2, 2009

Our Car & Driving in Santiago

We have a car!  Finally!  Technically it isn't ours--it is my mother-in-law's, but since she never drives it (and I mean it went from one revisión técnica to the other without being driven) she decided to let us use it since we now have a dog.  Prior to having a car, we would just use the bus system to travel back and forth to Viña, which is quite efficient, cheap and pretty comfortable.  But dogs are not allowed in the buses and of course we would never stow Dulicnea down below!  We "snuck" her on the bus once and didn't have any problems.  When I say snuck, I mean that I walked on the bus with her in her crate (which looks like a gym bag) and simply sat down in the last seat in the bus.  She didn't make any sounds and slept the whole way.  That was for the long weekend back in October and luckily we just had to go the one way because for the vuelta (return) we had the car.  It isn't the best car in the world but it works quite well and is in really good condition for being a 1993.  The only downside that I think it has is that it doesn't have power steering so turning the wheel, especially when stationary, is much more difficult than your typical car.

That said, I thought I wouldn't be driving it at all.  But then I decided I should give it a shot so that I would know whether or not I can really drive it--in case of emergency or otherwise.  So two Saturdays ago, it was my turn to drive to Jumbo.  And it went really well!  The car isn't really that difficult to drive or turn when moving.  It is just when you stop and then need to turn the wheel, or perhaps a tight parking situation, in which things become more difficult.  This was also my first time driving in a big city.  Of course, I have driven in Denver, but I really don't consider it a big city even though it is Colorado's capital.  I find traveling in Santiago kind of nuts...people don't respect the lines on the road, the micros rule the road, there are more one-way streets that there should be, etc.  But Saturday and Sunday were perfect days to drive in the city as there is much less traffic and thus less stress on me.  We don't really use the car during the week since we live so close to everything, but it is so nice to have for the weekends!  

We went to Viña this weekend again and the drive went well both ways.  The car has an old stereo for cassette tapes and in Santiago we can normally tune into good ratio stations, but on the drive to Viña they go in and out and mostly you hear static.  So I think we'll be looking for some cassette tapes to play during our drives.  Christian wants to put in a nicer stereo, but I think it is a waste of money considering the car is so old.  Plus it would be just another reason for people to break into the car and well, in Chile, there are already enough reasons for that so I prefer not to.  I'd be ok with sticking to cassettes....hahaha.



Lucie said...

Congratulations on the new car! It definitely is nice having a car on weekends and nights, though I agree, during the day I prefer the metro...there's just way too much traffic.

I remember my first time driving in Chile. My fiance attempted to have be immerse myself in Santiago and started off by telling me I would have to learn to drive. I had never driven a standard before, let alone in a big city, and I was terrified!

Oh man, driving would cause sugh big arguments because E would tell me I need to learn but I would tell him I didn't want to because I was scared of the chaotic Santiago drivers and I hated standard.

In the end though, I got used to it and am now proud to say I can manage driving in a standard!!!

So hats off to you for being able to do it too! It's not easy!

Shannon said...

You should get one of those cassette things that you can plug a discman or ipod into. That's what Ro and I used. Works great :D driving to the beach without music gets quite boring!

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