After another simple border crossing, we were back in Chile.
This one took two hours for no particular reason. First, we waited in line and went to 5 different numbered windows for stamps of unknown significance. Then, we filled out agricultural papers and get our vehicle inspected. These guys are pretty thorough, but were mostly looking for fruits and vegetables. If you give them a few old avocados and act like you know the routine, they don’t linger too long.
One of the inspectors was a vintage VW fan and he showed us his license to prove it – ’68 bug. While we were waiting, another guy from Brazil introduced himself and said he had 4 combi’s back home. Some motorcycle guys came over and wished us luck and asked about our trip. A surprisingly social border.
Then, one more final check of the paperwork we were on our way.
Not more than two minutes away is the much-hyped ski resort of Portillo. We pulled in and had a quick look around. Nice place – and we were just in time for the half-day boleta.
Spring skiing in the Andes is a pretty good deal – far cheaper than the U.S. The only problem for us is that we didn’t bring our boards… Portillo charges a premium for rentals. But, it’s all top-quality gear – better than our old stuff – so we can only open the wallet and enjoy it.
Before we left on this trip, we had considered bringing our boards and boots and dreamed of spending an entire season riding the slopes in Chile. After considering the cost and the ridiculousness of carting our snow gear through Central America, we let it go. It was probably a good decision – the bus is already full anyway.
After a day of carving, we made the easy decision to stay and do it again. However, we committed a major boondocking foul: we told someone what we were doing.
Angela ended up talking to a manager. Then, his manager, and then ultimately someone who said the owner didn’t want us there. This is supposed to be a first-class resort after all – they don’t want any riff-raff sleeping in the parking lot.
We were told to split, but when the manager (nice guy) walked us out and saw our bus, he relented… “just keep a low profile and don’t tell anyone.”