I DON’T THINK NO ONE WAS PREPARED FOR CORONAVIRUS – COVID 19, LESS FOR QUARANTINE OR SO FAST CHANGES IN EVERYTHING.
I was on a motorcycle trip through America and had entered Chile two days ago when the first case of Coronavirus was confirmed in Brazil, on February 26th, 2020, the next day the more cases in Argentina and Chile.
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Nobody really knew what was going on yet. The cases started to multiply but still without sanitary containment measures, I continued my journey.
I accessed Chile through Paso Cardenal Antonio Samoré, leaving Bariloche, Argentina, arriving in Osorno, Chile – I’ll talk more about this in future publications.
I was going toSouthern Chile, to Puerto Montt, on the day of confirmation of Coronavirus cases in Brazil that I mentioned above, and then I started to go to the north of Chile.
Over a week I was in Santiago, taking part of the roads along the coast, part of Route 5, which crosses the country from north to south.
After Carnival still quiet in Chile
There, everything was still calm regarding the Coronavirus. The demonstrations returned with force after Carnival, the same Monday I arrived in town.
Television was talking about manifestation, politics and Coronavirus around the world at the same time.
I went to Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, everything was still quiet. I went to La Serena where I decided to continue my trip to the Atacama desert. It was practically a three days of motorcycle trip to San Pedro do Atacama.
When everything started to change regarding Coronavirus
I arrived in town on Saturday, March 14th, 2020. Caracoles, the main commerce street, was still full. Tourist agencies queue. According to the people there, the movement had already reduced a lot.
It was on this date that announcements of border closures began. It was all very fast. They announced that 16th March would be the last day to enter Argentina by land.
Everything closing in Atacama
I wasn’t understanding what was going on and with a tour booked for the next day, I preferred not to rush into things.
On Monday, Chile also announced a quarantine and things started to close in San Pedro do Atacama.
Some German friends I made there no longer knew if they could return to their country, there were no more flights available.
At the hostel I was there was a doctor who started telling me facts, data and the power of the virus.
Reopening of borders with unrealistic forecast for 31st March – Coronavirus
As the border opening was scheduled for March 31st, I was considering waiting for that date.
Two other friends I made in Chile offered me a place to stay in case I needed it and also where to leave the motorcycle in case I came back by plane, a possibility that became the only option to be back with the family in Brazil and leaving a country that is not cheap to live at the end of the trip, in other words, on a very tight budget.
Returning 1,200 km to Santiago de Chile
So I decided to go back with them to Santiago instead of staying in the mini community we were creating in San Pedro.
I bought a ticket on SKY Airlines for a very good price for the situation we were in. The flight was only for April 4th, so we could take it easy on a motorbike to Santiago.
The news from Chile was predicting 90 days of recession in the country, which had a great influence on the purchase of the ticket. In addition to the hostel owner talking about having to close the place.
Thursday at 9 am we took the road towards Santiago, we made the route very calmly in 6 days, stopping, camping, enjoying the final moments of my friends’ vacation and freedom before quarantine. I’ll also talk more about it in an upcoming publication.
One of them was already dispensed from work before we left, the other was dispensed while we were returning, at first he was going to work because of the delivery they would keep at the restaurant where he is a chef.
One week without cell phone
On the first day of the trip, my cell phone, which already had a cracked screen, broke for good. I was unable to update myself or know about the situation in San Pedro do Atacama, which I was still considering in case something happened to my ticket.
Flight canceled due to Coronavirus in less than 5 days after purchase
And it happened, it was canceled, as well as the entire operation.
This news came on our last night on the road, so I headed to Santiago.
We got there on Wednesday, 25th, the next day was the last day that commerce would be open.
We went out to try to get our cell phones, the centers (Maipú and Santiago) were still full and with a lot of things open. We couldn’t find my cell phone screen as it’s not a common brand in Chile, so I had to buy another one.
Contacting embassies to see the possibilities – Coronavirus
On Friday, 26th, I called the Argentine embassy to see if I would have any possibility of authorization to cross the country, as I imagined before, with no chance. In addition, the attendant thought it very difficult to have the border opened on March 31st, the expected start date (now another 15 days of quarantine has been announced in Argentina).
At the Chilean embassy, the attendant – who yawned on the call – said he could leave the motorcycle there for more than 90 days because of the current situation.
— The motorcycle vehicle also receives a 90-day visa in Chile —
The one from Brazil also said that they couldn’t do anything for me, only suggested that I return by plane as soon as possible, taking advantage of the fact that they still had flights and they shared the schedule of LATAM, the only airline operating on the stretch at the moment.
Returning to Brazil without the motorcycle – Coronavirus
That’s what I did, I took an early morning flight and then at 7 a.m. on March 28th, 2020 I was already in Brazil.
The bike stayed at this friend’s house in Maipu, in the Santiago metropolitan region..
I enjoyed 11 days with more freedom than most Brazilians, I started my quarantine waiting for the next steps in relation to Coronavirus.
Who am I?
Before I continue, let me introduce myself.
I’m Rodrigo Schmiegelow, an advertiser specializing in Digital Marketing, today I live as a Digital Nomad, in other words, that I have geographic freedom and can work from anywhere in the world.
I started a trip around the world to get to know places, cultures and regional cuisines and I will bring great surprises from these experiences.
Follow the Project O Mundo em Lanches (The world in sandwiches) blog on Instagram, follow all the news and this new journey with the rescue of the motorcycle.