Not the day we'd planned!
Today's the day. The day that we have subconsciously been expecting and maybe even fearing. The dreaded moment didn't take place while we were driving in the slums, or dodgy back lanes, nor when we were wild camping in less than secure locations. It happened in the middle of the day, in a peaceful residential area of a charming little town, in public, with lots of people around going about their business… so what happened ?
The start to our day is nice and relaxed. As I wake up, the image of the reddest sunset I'd ever seen is still clear as day in my mind, from having seen it on the popular surfing spot of yellow beach in western Chile. We leisurely sip our morning coffee and decide to nip round to the nearby “Copec” petrol station, to make use of the free wifi in the café, in order to catch up on emails and get in touch with family and friends. When we get there, we notice that the parking lot is jam packed ; the only available space is so narrow, that we couldn't park there without blocking others in. Considering ourselves thoughtful travelers , we decide to park on the street next to the station. We pack our iPad, laptops and phones and step inside café “Pronto”. Before we know it we're both typing away on our laptops and enjoying our vanilla lattes and pasties, while still keeping an eye on Epeli, parked within eyesight. We catch up on the Finnish news and scroll though Facebook, knowing that our plan is to move on to a nature reserve for a few days, so we'll be cut off from the internet.
When we return to Epeli, we're greeted with a nasty surprise! The drivers side window has been smashed in and someone has broken into the vehicle. There are bits of glass everywhere! By the looks of it both my laptop bag and backpack have been taken. Thank goodness I'd had the laptop with me and not in the bag, but its battery, power cable, spare keyboard and solar cell charger are on the list of lost items, along with my newish camera! We ask for help from the petrol station and ring the police. They promise to come and see us, but after an hour of waiting we realise that they have no intention of showing up. Thankfully there's a helpful staff member at the petrol station who speaks pretty good English and they agree to come with us to the police station to report the incident. Just as we're about to head, a lovely gentleman stops us and points to one of our tires. It has two mean looking cuts that have let out all the air, so it seems the burglars have also punctured our tyre!
After making our report to the police, we head to a local repair shop to sort our tyre out. We have a compressor with us and have to stop a few times on the way to refill our punctured tyre. Once it's fixed, we make the 130km journey back to Santiago, where we know of an existing Iveco garage that is possibly our best bet to get the window replaced. Until then, a bin bag and some insulation tape will have to do.
By the time we reach Santiago, it's already dark. It feels reassuring to know that we can stay overnight on the guarded yard of the Iveco garage, behind locked doors. We chat through the day’s events once more over a cup of tea. Although this hasn't been the nicest of experiences, we're incredibly grateful that the only damage done was purely material and we ourselves remained completely unharmed. Now we know to be a bit more careful in the future and can up our security measures before continuing on towards the north, onto less safe territories.