Sunday, 22 July 2007

So cold even my thermometer's stopped working

It seems that the Chilean government want to get more US dollars into the economy, because there is a new law that says if you pay for anything with dollars you don't have to pay the purchase tax.
Eating here is expensive by Latin American standards (I just paid a fiver for a sandwich and a couple of cups of coffee, and you could eat for a week on that in Bolivia) but most other things are pretty cheap, and once you knock off that 19% tax you can get some real bargains.

With my customary powers of foresight, though, I changed all my dollars for pesos on arrival, getting a laughably bad rate of exchange in the process, because I didn't want to arrive in the capital with no spending money. I still haven't been properly robbed yet, but that double whammy really felt like it.

However, I also haven't been sick yet, either, so I have a lot to cram in to my last few weeks.
I've made it over the Andes once again, braving the snowstorms in my nice air conditioned bus ride to Santiago, and am now in Puerto Varas in Chilean Patagonia. Although the road was impassable for trucks due to the heavy snow, my bus had barely a slip or a slide through the narrow passes. From what I hear the weather's been worse back home than it is here, though, so I hope everyone's well and hasn't suffered too much from the flooding.

Meanwhile I'm making a daring raid on deepest, coldest Patagonia, in the hope that the weather gods are distracted by concentrating on ruining a perfectly good English summer. As long as no-one does anything stupid to alert them, like emailing a whole load of people telling them of the sneaky plan, all should be fine. Uh-oh ...

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