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Greetings from Olmue in Chile!

As they say, I have some (quite a lot) of good news and some (very little) bad news.

I’ll get you out of my misery by starting with the bad news. No trip would be complete without kicking yourself about things that I’ve left at home. The worst item this applies to so far is the charger for my laptop. So today’s missive comes from Angie’s laptop. This can also be used to down load my images onto my plug in HD. The problem is resolved when Jonathan arrives in 3 weeks time as he has the same Surface laptop that I have, so if you are still wondering whether to bring your laptop or not, please at least bring the cables & charger!

Now the good news – lots of it!

Baggage check in at LHR was a doddle. The large yellow hard case designed for my drone weighed in at 7.9 kg. The allowance is 23.5 kg. ‘That’s light!’ the check in clerk said. ‘The bag contains a drone’ I said. ‘perhaps it’s flying inside the bag to make it lighter!’ Nonsense of course, but it made us all laugh. I didn’t want him to reach for a H&S manual to check if drones are allowed as luggage on a flight, although we can’t think of any valid reason why they should not be – still, life isn’t always so simple!

We skip the flight bits, other than to say that it all went without incident and that it seemed that either they had reduced leg room by another 3 inches or that I had gotten taller.

Our arrival at Santiago coincided with three other transatlantic flight arriving from Madrid all within a one hour window, so long queues for immigration, collecting luggage and getting that cleared by customs & SAG who are convinced that we all try to bring in diseases by smuggling in bars of chocolate and the odd apple – or any of the other 5 healthy eating items recommended in the UK. No, I’m not carrying any of those, just a drone! Oh, alright then, have a nice day!

It wasn’t until arriving at our hotel that I dared to open the drone bag and found its contents to be present & correct!

Andres was waiting for us in the snack bar next to Exit 4 as arranged – the nicest ‘office’ that I have used to date with a large glass of naranja each for Angie and I.

The car rental formalities were completed quickly and efficiently by his colleague. I suffested that if he extended the add ons for car rental to include drones, we would do a roaring trade!

We arrived at Olmue at 13:00 – half an hour late, but easily found the hotel where Pablo had arranged a room for us – he himself was staying in the Weisser estate that we’ll visit again tomorrow to also see the bungalow that Ritter bought there for his stay in Olmue. By now Angie & I were running on vapours – dead on our feet from exhautions. Pablo just wanted to show us a plague at the entrance to the La Campana National Park, dedicated to his friend, the late Senor Garavante, after whom Ritter named the Horridocactus / Eriosyce garavanteae that grows at the top of La Campana (the Bell). This is where Angie recorded her first interview with Pablo as he told us about the people mentioned on the plaque. He turns out to be a true professional interviewee – I, the interviewer, didn’t even get a chance to get a word in!

I should also mention that the weather was bright and sunny, just as it always is when we’re there.

Time for dinner, before we drop into bed!


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