September 2006

At a beach in ChileAt a beach in Chile

Prosegur

We made a short stop on our drive on the highway, on a „Copec" motorway service area, just before Santiago. In front of the office building, there was a bright yellow, very unreal looking security van, probably picking up the revenues. Shortly after our arrival, it stopped right next to us, which rather surprised us. The side door opened and the person in uniform appearing behind it, offered to swap his car against Robusto.

When we asked how much money they had on board, he laughed and told us, that this was our risk. It was a very funny and amusing encounter, which we find hard to imagine happening in Switzerland in the same way.

Action Mobil Robusto's annual check

The company Union Técnica Automotriz Ltda in Santiago, that represents and distributes the MAN brand in Chile, was a positive surprise to us.

The owners, the three brothers Bunout are very kind and helpful. We got a very positive impression of the company and its employees. Demand for TGAs in Chile is growing. One sees them on the streets; the import figures mentioned by Maurice were quite reassuring, as well as the fact that, if needed, we would have a reliable contact in only four locations in Chile. Of course we hope that Robusto continues to run as smoothly and realiably as throughout the first year, so that we won't have to return to the workshop before it is time for the next annual service.

Cafés con piernas, a Chilean speciality

We noticed, particularly in the centre of Santiage, businessmen drinking cortado (coffee), served by women in mini skirts or bikinis, even topless - not to be recommended to women without male company.

Our Stihl motor saw in action

During the day, the campsite guardian and gardener cut the old trees for the coming season. For some trees and thick branches, Edy's Stihl motor saw was used, just for practice and much to the amusement of all those involved.

Well guarded

On one of our shopping tours with the ATV, we wanted to park our vehicle as usual and for security reasons right in front of the shopping center. The safety guard, even though a nice man, quite resolutely told us that we were not allowed to do so. We explained to him that after shopping, we would quite like to drive off on our ATV, and did not want it to be stolen. He communicated with somebody over his walkie-talkie and then told us to drive down to the first basement floor. Down there, we were expected by a corpulent female parking lot guard, who rode her bicyle to guide us to a parking lot for handicappeds. The reason behind this was that this parking lot was located 5 meters next to the guarded entry to a large delivery elevator. The security guard was given an extra task, we went shopping without worries and drove off afterwards with our purchases happily and satisfied.

Last journey

On our way back with the Kawi from Valparaiso to our campsite in Laguna Verde, we approached a two-lane line of cars which was moving ahead only slowly. We suspected an accident and slowly overtook some 100 cars, after which we reached the front of the line. There we saw a white luxury limousine with the Chilean national flag. This must be a diplomat's car, we suspected. But when we passed on the right-hand side and saw the huge wreath, we realised that it must have been the last journey of a deceased - most probably travelling as slowly as never ever during his or her entirelifetime.

Heidi from Switzerland

On a Kawi excursion we photographed a tiny little house in Laguna Verde and started to talk to its owner. Among other things, we were told that a Swiss lady named Hedi lived higher up on the mountain, together with many dogs. We went looking for this Hedi. Hedi turned out to be Heidi, who had emigrated ten years ago from the Swiss canton of Argovia (northwestern Switzerland), accompanied by a dog. She had renovated her house herself and now lives in it with some 40 dogs and 10 cats. Well looked after and very neat: She herself, her house and the dogs. Not the slightest smell of animals or the like, respect! BB of Laguna Verde lives on very modest financial means, a small pension and small support from friends from Austria and Switzerland.

We met with Heidi one morning at 7.45am and accompanied her walking the dogs. In the beginning, the dogs were a bit nervous, but very quickly we went down a little valley and up the other side, by which time the pack of dogs had calmed down. It was a great experience for us to walk 40 dogs at a time - without leashes or muzzles. Heidi had found the dogs sadly neglected, some of them just skin and bones, and had taken them home. By the time she had got them into proper dog shape again, they had long become family members. Every animal has got not only a name, but a story of its own. All dogs and cats have been castrated and get along well in the pen where they can walk around freely. They live as it is good for them and have excellent manners: no fights, no barking, absolute quiet during the night.

For us, the following facts were quite surprising: There are several large containers with dry feed, to which the animals have access all the time. It is thus "self-service", but none of the 40 dogs is overweight. After the walk, Heidi distributed bones with meat, not even then were there fights or scuffling. Heidi really is the boss of the dogs.

It is not only these dogs that Heidi saved from certain death, she furthermore drives twice a week to abandoned dogs and provides them with water and feed.

Heidi, the woman with a big heart for animals!

Photos