Aug 2, 2012

Bad news and mugging in Chile

To go to Chile from Mendoza in Argentina I had to take a bus that runs through the famous road that crosses the Andes.
Category: Chile
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To go to Chile from Mendoza in Argentina I had to take a bus that runs through the famous road that crosses the Andes. The show offered by the landscape is striking because the road crosses the mountains along gigantic lakes and rivers. At 9:30 the sun is still very low, I can see it caressing the tops of the rocky mountains. Then on the other side there is this chain of snowy peaks that we are slowly approaching. The bus is winding through the mountains until we end up in the middle of peaks covered with snow. The sun hits the windows, it is very hot but I can imagine the bitter cold outside.

6 hours later I finally arrived in Valparaiso, the bus drove along the Pacific Ocean as the sun was setting. I realized then all the distance I had covered through this month. From the Atlantic coast in Rio de Janeiro, now there I was on my way out of South America. What a journey!

I went directly to my hostel. I sat and checked my emails and the news hit me. Bad news were waiting for me: Laura and Cecile just had a car accident. I heard the news from Laura's mother. She wrote me that she had received a text message from Laura telling her about the accident but she couldn't get them on the phone. There was nothing I could do as I don't have phone and I didn't have the girls' number anyway. I was just shocked and worried about the girls - I can't imagine the horrible night the poor mother had! The next day I received news and fortunately they were good! There was no more car but the girls were fine. I'm relieved.

At the hostel I met two Chileans Mery and Bianca with whom I went exploring the city. A warm city composed of really pretty hills where one can find colorful graffitis on every street corner. The walk is very nice, the city seems pretty quiet and safe. And yet .... I should have been more careful ... Usually when I visit a place I always put my camera in my backpack, but this afternoon I was carrying my camera case on my shoulder. We had just visited the home of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and I was walking with Bianca in a very touristic. Suddenly I realized that she was no longer beside me. I turned around and then I had a vision of horror. A man was holding her, a knife to her throat. Absolutely nothing can prepare you for such situation. I didn't realise straight away what was happening, it took me a few seconds. The man asked me to give him the case containing my camera, so I started to screaming for help to attract attention, I moved away to find someone, anyone. A group of young people were there so I asked them to call the police, I was shaking, probably very pale, I couldn't quite explain what was happening. They followed me. The man had already left, a woman who heard my screams had come out of her house which made the man run away. Bianca was shocked but she didn't get hurt. The man barely had time to take her old mobile phone.

This is the first time that such a thing happens to me in five months and yet at this moment I was in one of the safest countries of South America.


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