We got back to Santiago without a hitch! We landed in the SCL airport feeling renewed and reenergized from our beautiful hike. It's funny, but because of how long we spent in this airport at the beginning of our trip, this airport felt a bit like home in a foreign country. Like I said earlier, I had memorized all the commercial jingles that were played on repeat, our phones automatically joined all the wifi hotspots, and I had developed a strange affinity to the Cinnabon that stayed open 24 hours. This fleeting moment of nostalgia probably was foreshadowing what was about to happen next.
B.a.e and I decided to store our duffle bags in the airport storage and headed to Bario Bellavista, the bar/restaurant district for happy hour! We settled in a restaurant cafe and sat at their open patio. We ordered some drinks, and our friends caught up with us and joined us at the table. As we were laughing and catching up, our waiter came up to us and asked B.a.e to move his backpack out of the aisle. The only problem was that this wasn't his backpack. B.a.e looked down, and saw that his backpack was missing. At first, I thought that the people next to our table simply took Bae's backpack by mistake (they were both black bags), and that they would be back very soon. But when we opened the wrong backpack we knew that this was a ploy--this backpack contained jackets, condoms, a picture of a young boy, and an empty wallet. If there are jackpots for thieves, then Bae's backpack was the jackpot. Since we had stored our duffle bags at the airport, we loaded all our valuables into our own backpacks. It included the DSLR camera, his GoPro, a tablet, clothing, wallet with credit cards, USD cash, chilean cash, and most importantly his Passport. We jumped into a cab to file a police report, and then the realization hit us. It was Friday afternoon, and our flight back home was Sunday morning. The U.S. Embassy was closed for the weekend, and the earliest we could get out was Monday. Holy eff.
B.a.e spent the rest of the night canceling credit cards, calling his parents, and ordering new plane tickets for the both of us. We had to figure out what to do with our limited money left, and what our plans would be until Monday. To make matters worse, there was a fraudulent charge on my only credit card, so that card had to be cancelled while I was abroad. At this point, both of us felt so violated that all we wanted to do was stay inside and watch whatever English program was on. Let's just say we binged on The Voice. Who ever expected Adam Levine and Blake Shelton to be the most comforting presence? We also saved money by eating McDonalds and Wendy's...it also helped that we were missing home.
On our last day before judgement day (Monday--the day we hoped to get the passport), I forced us to leave our hotel and explore Santiago one last time. I'm glad we did as we journeyed up to San Cristobal Hill and saw the beauty of the city during sunset.
|One of few photos together!|
|The lazy street dogs I had mentioned earlier!|
At this point we thought all our bad luck had passed. But alas, we were too hopeful! Our remaining phone charger broke! It chose to break at our most vulnerable time. Why????? Regardless, we had mastered the vagrant lifestyle and ran to various Apple/Mac retailers to charge our phones while we pretended to browse the iPads. We weren't above anything at this point!
On Monday, we were finally able to get the passport without anything going awry. With $15 left in my wallet, we finally left our home of the trip, the Santiago airport! We arrived back in DC where Bae and I had a serious craving for Chipotle, yet not enough money! I seriously think this was the saddest moment of my life. But we were finally home, where my roommate (who I shall call Kitty from now on) picked us up and delivered to safety!
Lessons I learned from this trip? Always have emergency money for Chipotle. Oh, and also guard your bags folks.