Saturday 23 October 2004 – Pichidangui to Aeropuerto Internacional Arturo Merino Benitez at Pudahuel and the flight home
Alarm clocks had been set for 6 a.m, but I woke up at 5, ready to go. The trip was over, except for the journey home. We had done most of the packing the night before, and had agreed to have breakfast at a truck stop on the way to the airport. I can’t recall stopping, other than to take on fuel for the last time, close to the airport. We were now all rather subdued – the trip was over.
We arrived at the airport without incident and having dropped Anne, Alain and all the luggage off at the Departures drop off point, I took the car to the agreed spot in the car park. It is amazing how emotionally involved you can get with a lump of metal. Each time, I quietly say thank you to the car – it is amazing how much we put these cars through and how little trouble they usually present us with. This Toyota had been particularly well behaved – thank you.
I found the others in the departure area and, after checking in our luggage, we went to the souvenir shop to reduce the rather large amount of Chilean pesos we had left over. I know that better and cheaper souvenirs can be bought en route – as I had found in Toconao, but these then have to be dragged around for the remainder of the trip, when fragile cups and clocks can easily get broken. The rep from the car rental firm managed to find us – a sign that we must have stood out in the crowd – and the formalities of returning the car were soon completed without problem.
Unlike 2003, the flights took off on time. As usual, I could not resist the temptation of taking yet more pictures of the flight over the Andes.