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Greetings from...Vina Del Mar, Chile
Old 02-28-2010, 03:50 PM   #1
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Greetings from...Vina Del Mar, Chile

Yes we chose a great vacation here, arriving on Thursday.

We experienced the quake in Vina Del Mar, west of Santiago on the same bay with Valparaiso. We were literally tossed out of bed, and ran to our room's balcony, to get out from under any overhead roof. Our hotel suffered no damage, only lost power. We didn't really know how bad it was the next morning, even though we experienced some severe aftershocks after the quake. So, we continued south to our next hotel.

Well, we are back at the Hotel Oceanic in Vina Del Mar. In retrospect, we were really optimistic to drive south to Santa Cruz only hours after the quake. Major roads are closed, bridges are down, and roadways torn up. After a winding ride, including down dirt roads through the countryside, we arrived at Santa Cruz last night to find a town with some (10%) collapsed buildings, no power, and no water. They had experienced an 8.5+, and continued to have severe aftershocks while we were there (in the range of 5 to 7 on the scale). We bought fruit and melons for dinner, washed down with Chilean wine. While our little hotel was open, it had some damage, and we ended up sleeping in our car's front seats.

A British couple had experienced the earthquake there, and were a bit in shock. They were really happy when we showed up, and we led them back to Santago this morning on our way back here. The Chileans are coping quickly, but travel further south then we went is just about impossible.

In Vina Del Mar, there is power and water, and we can have our room with a balcony over the breaking waves for as long as we want. We will recast our plans, and let you know how we are proceeding.

Mierda hace! (Told to me by an old Chileano.)
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Old 02-28-2010, 04:36 PM   #2
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Wow...reading this post from your perspective in Chile is very informative and quite amazing.

Thank heavens y'all are ok. Yes, please continue to update this thread...stay safe.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:55 PM   #3
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Thanks for the update stay safe. I saw the headline and thought WTH, some guy from Chile picks today to start talking about early retirement.!!!
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:16 PM   #4
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Whew, what an experience!! I am glad you are safe.

Personally I would not have chosen to run out on the balcony, though. I would have been afraid that at the next tremor, it would break off and fall to the street. But then, maybe that would have been preferable to having the roof fall upon you.

Take care.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:45 PM   #5
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Wow ! What an experience that must have been ! Stay safe !
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Update from Chile
Old 03-02-2010, 06:05 AM   #6
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Update from Chile

Life has returned quicly to close to normal here in Vina Del Mar. The Chileano staff at the hotel run the disaster news constantly on the lobby's large HD Tv. Delta Airlines has not been helpful so far: We offered to get ourselves into Mendoza, Argentina (across the Andes), and fly ourselves to Buenos Aires from there. Delta will not change our flight back to the USA to BA, without a $4500 charge to us!

Santiago hotels are operating, and are full of foriegners waiting for the international airport to open so that they can leave. We'll probably go to Santiago after that happens.

For now, we're waiting it out in very nice surroundings, feeling some survivor's guilt about our good fortune.

As to balcony issue, it was a spur of the moment decision, and two stories down was the hotel pool to fall into.
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:42 AM   #7
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I enjoyed my stay in Vina del Mar in 08, but Valparaiso is much more interesting.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:03 AM   #8
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That's unbelievable that Delta won't waive that $4500 fee to fly back to the US from a different city, given the circumstances--it's not like it costs them anything to change it.

Glad you're safe--sounds like you may be in Vina del Mar for a while.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:00 AM   #9
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Last night the news had a bit of video filmed by an Oregonian man as his wife tried to outrun the quake. Amazing splitting road bits right out of Hollywood. Seemed dumb that she was attempting to outrun, but on further thought, when everything is coming apart everywhere around one what do you do? Glad you are safe. Enjoy the days.
Raw Video: Quake splits road in Chile | kgw.com | Portland News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | Featured Videos
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:08 AM   #10
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The earthquake notwithstanding, we debarked a South American cruise in Valparaiso in Dec. '08 and took a half day tour of Valparaiso/Vina del Mar before heading to Santiago for the evening flight home. From that very brief experience, I though Vina del Mar looked like one of the loveliest places I had ever seen and I told my wife I thought it would be a great place to spend a week. Of course, an earthquake can ruin your day.
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Home from Chile Today
Old 03-13-2010, 01:36 PM   #11
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Home from Chile Today

We really had quite the memorable trip. We decided to head north from Vina, away from the damaged area, and spent five days in La Serena and the Elqui Valley. It worked out really well. We got back on our schedule last Monday by coming into Santiago for the last four days of the trip, and dropping our car back to Budget at the airport. Earthquakes (smaller ones) have continued, with one north of La Serena when we were there (6.3), and three close together on Thursday 70 miles south of Santiago (6.9, 6.7, 6.6). None felt like more then an aftershock where we were on those days. Santiago was warm, busy, and fun.

One last experience: We were the target of theives at the Santiago airport yesterday when we left. It was a sneaky, misdirection grab, but I foiled it!
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:58 PM   #12
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As a young sailor, I went to Chile in 1983 -- visiting Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, Santiago, Talcahuano, Los Angeles, and Concepcion, and going through the Strait of Magellan. I found it to be a beautiful country, full of interesting things and friendly people. By far my favorite country in South America.

It was sad to see the damage from the quake, but the Chileans seem to have things well under control and I'm certain they will recover quickly.

Glad to hear that you were able to make the best of it.
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Old 03-13-2010, 03:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
Last night the news had a bit of video filmed by an Oregonian man as his wife tried to outrun the quake. Amazing splitting road bits right out of Hollywood.
"Honey, remember to drive across the crevasse. Do not let the tires fall into the cracks. What do you mean it's too wide?".

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougViages View Post
We really had quite the memorable trip.
I am glad you are OK. Knowing that you survive and have a heck of a story to tell, I perversely envy that experience.

I am only half-joking!
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