This is the end, my only friend, the end...

It's been now almost 29 months since I started this blog. At the time, the purpose was just to keep contact with my Portuguese and European friends, to show them how it was to be in Chile. It ended up being more than that: it was a travel blog, a cultural showcase or even a dear diary at some point. Looking back now, I must say I am proud of it! Proud of the posts, proud of all the replies I got and proud of noticing that what you write is actually read. And, in the end, it helped to keep my friends close to me, the first goal was actually achieved. But, because all good things come to an end and I am back in Portugal, continuing this blog makes no sense anymore. I may open a new one when I start fresh again, but for now, it is time to close and preserve the memories of the two best years of my life. I will still check it for some time, in case you want to keep in touch, but I will probably not post anything else (or maybe just one more... who knows?). It has been a pleasure to have you all as readers and it was a pleasure to write! See you soon! :)

Finding inner peace...

It has been long time without writing here. This absence, right after an 8.0 earthquake, could generate a lot of speculation, but I am still alive. A few days after this giant earth movement, I started a trip that had been planned for a long time: visit Peru. It was the country that excited me the most in South America and I wanted to visit it before leaving back to Portugal. It ended up being more than just a trip. For 3 months I went from desert to jungle, from high Andean plateau to exotic beaches, from big capitals to tiny charming villages, from south to north and east to west. I didn't see it all, you never do, but I was more than just the common backpacker. I did the touristy "been-there-done-that" track but had plenty of time to go to places that rarely see a foreign face and especially to take my time at each of them. The trip, originally meant to be of just a couple of months, was extended to three and I spent 10 days in Bolivia on my way back to Chile. In the beginning I considered opening a blog for it, but I then decided not to, I didn't want to spend my trip in front of a computer. I couldn't share with you all I lived through these months but it was for a good reason.

I met a lot of people along the way, some will stay, some will not, but all are remembered and will be for long. I lived a lot of new things, new experiences, new sensations. Backpacking alone is a thrilling experience, though sometimes lonely as well. A special kind of loneliness, that kind that connects you more with yourself, that lets you see through your own barriers and solve your toughest problems. I had one... I couldn't accept the fact that I was about to leave Chile and everything I built during these 2 years along with it. I can tell you that it works and it works by itself. At some moment, while walking on some mountain lost in the Andes, I realized that I had overcome the anguish, that I didn't have a conflict anymore, that I was going to leave Chile and that was it. I also had some other big conflicts that got solved in a similar way, during these 3 months. I had found peace... and I came back with a lighter attitude, giving less relevance to some things and feelings that probably didn't deserve it and giving more importance to the simple things. Nothing is forever and some things simply are not worth bothering before they are a problem.


It was friday night and I was at home. I'd been longing for a quiet and regenerating night of sleep since a few weeks, so I didn't go out. I managed to sleep until 3:30 in the morning, when I was suddenly awaken by my house mate shouting "EARTHQUAKE!". I was sleeping like a baby, dreaming that the bed was moving. As I heard the shout, it took me a couple of seconds to react, I was wondering why there was dust falling on my head and why the bed was in fact moving. I jumped out of the bed, still sleepy and without fully realizing what was going on, and ran down the stairs. Everything was shaking including the ground beneath my feet. I reached the door and saw my friend trying to hold himself to the bushes. I stayed at the door, as I felt that the movement was slowly stopping. In total, it must have lasted a couple of minutes...

This was one of the 10 strongest earthquakes ever. It started at 8.8 Richter near the epicentre and reached Santiago with 8.0. We've been having regular aftershocks of over 6 Richter, very close to the magnitude of the Haiti earthquake. Aftershocks! There were also tsunamis, on the Chilean coast a boat was carried 400 meters inland, on Easter Island and Hawaii people were evacuated and it even reached Japan! Chile is a mess as I write. 799 deaths so far, a lot of people out of reach, without electricity, potable water or food. Luckily, my house is standing and without major damage, but on the suburbs some buildings are in risk of falling down. As we go south, roads have huge fissures, bridges fell, historical heritage is on the ground. The same day I walked around the center of Santiago to see how damaged it was, but fortunately, apart from broken glasses or some old buildings partially collapsed, no serious damage could be seen.

Now that most of the dead and injured are taken care of, other concerns arise. Bad people are taking advantage of the situation and looting started everywhere. Some cities are under military control. Slowly, supermarkets reopen to provide people with first need goods. Just yesterday I had news from all my friends, fortunately good news, though some have serious damage on their houses. It is nevertheless worth to mention that solidarity between Chileans is incredible. Apart from the international aid (including from the neighbouring countries, with whom Chile doesn't have the best relations), a large number of events were organized to collect goods to send to the most affected areas. Some people are even organizing trips with fully equipped 4x4 to get to areas that the authorities are still neglecting and help people in need. A large movement has already started to bring Chile back to normal as soon as possible.

You can see pictures of the Eartquake effects here: