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The limbo of travel by plane and other things mechanised.  In contrast to over-busy day-to-dayness, this ‘in between’ with its low lighting and unalterable timing had been something we’ve enjoyed in earlier ages.  Now the non-pedalling movement is taking a bit of getting used to.

A certain reluctance to admit finality leads to a spot of last minute packing activity – I was still taping the bike box closed when the taxi arrived to get us to Punta Arenas airport.  A casualty was my much battered, very worn out bamboo flute.  I’d brought it so that not too many tears would be shed if it was lost, so not a disaster – maybe even a chance for it to have adventures on its own.

Arrival in Santiago and the superhospitalidad of Diego and Shayen props up our spirits.  Oscar arrives the next morning – these people are wonderful.  Sarah spots a copy of the ‘Adventure Cycle Touring Handbook’ on the bookshelf and plumps herself on the couch to double check all the bits we’ve done ourselves.  A realisation that we won’t be able to buy manjar/dulce de leche in Australia together with more than 40kg of un-used baggage allowance sees us in the supermercado buying 5kg of the stuff with plans to eek it out, accompanied by all the fresh bread Sarah’s planning.  We giggle at the indulgence of our addiction.  After arriving back at the flat and confessing our purchase, Diego looks aghast at our degree of self-control, so we almost go back out to buy some more!

The next steps – a trans-pacific flight to Sydney including a couple of hours in Auckland – lots of movies (something we have missed) – a potentially hurried and troublesome quarantine clearance and a terminal change in the East – my bike has been scrubbed to within an inch of its life in anticipation of this – and another flight westward across Australia.

Then a stubbornness – we’re riding home from the airport – a paltry 30km or so along the Swan River – all of us and our stuff fit on the Big Dummy, though Sarah’s sister has threatened to bring a tandem to spirit her away for a good, proper, long-awaited natter…

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