Category Archives: Chile 2013

Chile trip 15 October 2013

Off we go to the airport; we are anxious to be headed home. One last time I try to find a homeless dog to give a meat treat but none are to be found.

We unfortunately must deplane in Lima–my favorite place! And it’s special place in my heart is renewed when the entire plane is subjected to a thorough carry-on inspection at the gate (after we have been through security twice already). I vow that this is my last trip to South America!

We arrive at home sweet home at about 10:30pm and the dogs look like they can’t believe their eyes. Sleeping in our own bed with our doggies is a dream come true.

Two weeks after our return, the doctor took 14 CCs of fluid off my knee and gave me a Cortisone shot. I sure hope that works!!


Chile trip 14 October 2013

We have such a comfy bed in our little apartment at Hotel Orly. Although the shower is really small and I get water everywhere. We decide to be lazy. We consider going to Astrid y Gaston for lunch, one of the 10 best restaurants in the world according to LAN Airlines magazine. We’ve been to the original Astrid y Gaston in Lima and loved it! (In factor was the ONLY good thing about Lima, Peru!) But Howard just wants something easy so we decide on lunch at Liguria, the place we loved at the beginning of the trip. It will save my knee because it’s close. The weather is beautiful–it’s a wonderful spring day.

Our server at Liguria is such a nice lady. We enjoy Pisco Sours as we look through the daily specials. She suggests a warm goat cheese starter with really nice bread and rolls. I have beef ribs with polenta (Asado de Tira con Polenta) and Howard has veal cutlets (Escalopa con Hojas). We enjoy Carmenere wine with our deliscious lunch. Our dessert, recommended by our server, is a surprise!Dessert at Liguria It is Mote con Huesillo: a drink of sugar syrup; cooked, husked wheat; and stewed dried peaches. This drink is sold by vendors on the street and is considered a Chilean institution.

We are full and satisfied. We enjoy more relaxation time at the apartment including a nap for me. At about 7pm we go back to the Liguria bar for Pisco Sours for me and red wine for Howard. I take our leftover meat from lunch to give to the sad street dogs we saw the night before but there is still too much going on for them to find an overnight sleeping spot.


Chile trip 13 October 2013

Our plane leaves in the afternoon. We have heard that the 9am mass at the Church of the Holy Cross is not to be missed.Church of the Holy Cross By the time we arrive it is packed and there are no seats available. The singing is the draw and it is pretty interesting. We don’t stay long.

I’ve talked about the street dogs but there are also street horses!! We had one follow us on the sidewalk just like a dog on our way to the harbor.

We arrive in Santiago about 10pm and happily there are restaurants open. We have a pizza dinner at La Pizza Nostra. The salad and pizza tasted great! We head off to our apartment at about 11:30pm and see several dogs sleeping alone on the streets. It is heartbreaking!!


Chile trip 12 October 2013

There was partying last night but the drummer did not have the stamina of the drummer the night before–thank god.

It looks like a cult has come to breakfast at the hotel! At least 50 people wearing orange neckerchiefs are standing at attention as we approach the dining room. They wish their “leader” good morning in a way that smacks of brainwashing. Then they appear to blindly follow her in for breakfast and eat in silence. I am sure we are witnessing a group of nut-cases but Rex later says that they’re a group visiting from the Czech Republic. So apparently not a cult. I’m not so sure…

It’s our last full day here. We spend our morning walking around the harborHanga Roa harborHanga Roa harbor and Main Street. We buy a nice wood carving and a souvenir T-shirt for Howard. We have lunch at Haka Honu, a small place with a great view of the water. While we wait to order a fisherman delivers a huge yellow-fin tuna. it is incredibly beautiful. Of course Pisco Sours to start and we have delicious ceviche with sweet potato chips. I think I want my last meal on earth to be Easter Island ceviche! With a Pisco Sour (or two), of course. We relax the rest of the afternoon anticipating our great dinner to come at Kotaro.

Kotaro, the #1 Trip-advisor restaurant on the island, is run by an eccentric Chilean of Japanese decent. According to him and the website, he is the restaurant construction worker, the maitre d’, the sommelier, the chef, and probably the janitor. As we enter and settle ourselves “These Boots Were Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra is playing. More loud, old and obscure music continues the entire night.

There is no menu. We have a starter of sashimi with shredded cucumber and then dashi soup. Our choices for the main course are fish, shrimp, beef or pork. Then we must choose our sauce: dashi-inspired sauce, ginger or teriyaki. I have fish with the dashi sauce; Howard has pork with teriyaki; and Rex has shrimp with ginger. We share our dishes much to Howard’s dismay–he hates to share. All the sauces pretty much taste the same and the pork is not the best. We enjoy chardonnay wine with the meal. No dessert available–that’s a disappointment. I would hardly rate this restaurant #1 but it was a memorable evening nonetheless.


Chile trip 11 October 2013

The party last night lasted until after 4am–and we were NOT invited!  I wake up grouchy with NO hot water. It goes without saying that I do not take a shower.

Orongo and the volcano crater, Rano Kua, is our morning destination. Orongo was not a permanent village but a site for various ceremonies, celebrations and coming-of-age rituals for young boys and girls. The location on the side of the crater is incredible but it lacked a fresh water source and the proximity to the ocean for fishing. Towards the end of the 17th century the tribal structure of the island was breaking down and the warrior class was gaining prominence. The warrior class’s goal was to undermine status and rank and reward physical prowess. Toward that end the Birdman Competition was started.

Each spring when the Sooty Terns returned to the small offshore islands to lay their eggs, competitors from the island’s tribes would make their way up the mountain to Orongo. They would install themselves in the grass-covered stone houses that are standing today due to restoration in 1974.Orongo housing The competitors would then prepare themselves for the month-long Birdman ritual. To start the ritual, the men would scale the cliffs down to the ocean, swim about 1.5 miles to a small island and wait for the first eggs to be laid. The first man to find an egg and swim back with it intact was the winner of the competition. His tribe would be revered and benefit from increased access to food and water for the coming year. The last race took place in 1866 after which the Catholic missionaries put an end to the event.

Unfortunately early western visitors to the island stole the beautiful painted stone slabs that adorned these houses. There was also an incredible Moai with carvings associated with fertility and the Birdman competition that was pilfered in 1868 and is now at the British Museum in London. The village site also contains incredible petroglyphs that unfortunately are not accessible today due to the fragile nature of the ruins.

Our next destination is the island museum, the home of over 15,000 island artifacts (although not all are on display). It is incredible! There are lots of informational panels telling the history of the island. There is one female stone figure that looks like an alien–I guess that’s where some of those “outer-space” stories came from.Female moai We see the only Moai “eye” that has survived. It’s white coral with a red volcanic iris. There are reproductions of the Rongo Rongo tablets, wooden boards that legend says were brought to the island by the first king, Hotu Matu’a, from his homeland. The writing system employed is called reverse boustrophedon meaning one line in one direction and the next line in the opposite direction but upside down. The board must be turned round and round to be read. It is surmised that the tablets contain information on island culture and tribe history but unfortunately no one has been able to decipher the writings.

We drive up the coast a little way to Hanga Kio’e. This site has a single restored Moai and also has some nice ruins of a village. It’s considered to be of the most recent period of Moais construction.

It’s time for lunch! Rex is keen on trying a local dive (and I mean DIVE). We have sandwiches and fries and it’s not bad at all. (Although I can think of several other great places I’d go to before I come here again.) While we’re waiting on our food, a small child, encouraged by his mother, hands us each a different local magazine. The articles amazed each of us! There was one article on arson on the island that was particularly alarming–islanders taking out their unhappiness with neighbors by burning their homes. It certainly gave us a different perspective of the life here.

We hunt for Hotel Antiplanico here on the island (the same hotel group where we stayed in San Pedro). We are not impressed. It’s too remote; you would need a car. As much I might criticize our current hotel it IS in a perfect location.

We take the coast route further north. It is a VERY rough road–that’s an understatement!! We see Motu Tautara, a small island off the coast. Nearby the Ana Kakenga cave is actually a lava tube. It must be quite long because is inland a bit but has an outlet on the ocean. Rex and I go to entrance but without a flashlight we are not inclined to go further.Christine in lava tube

As we continue up the coast we arrive at Ahu Tepeu, a very isolated, unrestored platform with lots of archaeological vestiges. This was at one time a large village. There are ruins of many, large boat houses (so-called because they would have looked like an overturned boat); chicken houses (rock enclosures); and stone circles in which agricultural items were planted.  There are 5 fallen Moais plus at least one or two completely broken Moais. This ruin is unusual in that not only were the Moais destroyed but the platform was too.

We head back to Aha Akivi for late afternoon photos. Rex breaks out the beer for our return trip. We arrive back in Hanga Roa for sunset photos at Ana Kai Tangata.Aha Akivi sunset Across the way is the elegant Hanga Roa Hotel. We enjoy Pisco Sours on the terrace before heading back home.

Chile trip 10 October 2013

Our plan is to take sunrise photos at Ahu Tongariki, the 15 statue platform. We wake up to rain but Rex suggests to go anyway and he was right! We arrive at the platform just in time for incredible photos.

Rex has brought breakfast with us so after refreshment we head out to see the nearby sites. Next stop is Papa Vaca, a spectacular series of stone panels with a myriad of petroglyphsPapa Vaca. At this site is a sweet female dog and her puppies. The mother is affectionate and sweet; the puppies are wary. It is a constant heart-breaking scene here in Chile and Eater Island. There are millions of street dogs that are thin and sick and there is nothing for us to do.

We make a roadside stop at a Pu O Hiro, a medium-sized stone with a series of holes in it as well as fertility petroglyphs. Pu O HiroBlowing into the holes makes a trumpet-like sound and is supposed to call the fish. We did not attempt to call the fish…

Next stop is Te Pito Kura. The Moais on this platform are thought to have been thrown over on the ground more than 200 years ago. The statue is giant; it is the largest Moais to have ever been transported from the quarry to a platform. This Moais was the last to be seen upright by French explorer, Abel Du Petit-Thousrs, in 1883.

To the left of the platform is a large, perfectly round stone. Legend says that the island’s first king brought this stone with him on his journey here. It is said to have heavy doses of “mana,” a spiritual power bestowed by the gods. But it appears the stone is entirely of island origin. It has a high iron content resulting in erratic behavior of compasses in its proximity. Some call it “The Navel of the World.”

We find a “secret” beach that Rex visited 20 years ago. Apparently it is a pink sand beach parts of the year depending on the current. This time, unfortunately, it is just a rocky inlet. But the incredible splashing waves on the rocks is an incredible sight.

Puna Pau is the quarry where the topknots for the statues were made. The topknots were a recent addition to the Moais–probably beginning in the 15th or 16th century. The stone used (and quarried here) is a soft volcanic rock with high iron content (thus red in color). The “hats” or “topknots” are thought to be representations of the hairstyle of the times: long hair worn in a bun near the top of the head. Hey, my nephew looks like that!

We have lunch at Dominican Cafe. Of course we start with Pisco Sours–frozen, slushy ones. We have GREAT tuna in caper sauce with sweet potato chips. We are happy to sit inside out of the WIND.

We are lazy the rest of the afternoon. At 7:30 we go out for sunset photos at the nearby beach. Rex buys wine and hunts up wine glasses. Just as we are having a nice time at the beach, sipping wine and the guys are enjoying the sunset photography,Sunset moai some lady tells me to get rid of the wine. I am polite and quickly put away the wine. I guess fortunately for her I have not had enough wine to be argumentative. I’d hate to see Easter Island from the inside of its jail.

Howard and I spend a quiet night at the hotel sipping a new drink: Cherimoya cocktail. And it’s pretty good. Oh yeah, my knee is a real problem…

Chile trip 9 October 2013

The guys go out for sunrise photos at the nearby harbor and I’m happy to stay at “home.” According to Howard, the street dogs greet them affectionately but that’s the best thing about their early morning outing.

Our first stop of the day is Vinapu. There are 3 platforms here but only 2 are prominent. Ahu Tahira displays 6 overthrown statues, face down, with 3 red topknots lying in front of them. The feature of interest here is the platform masonry–the fit of the stones has indicated to some researchers that there is a connection to Inca stonework.Masonry Recent hypothesis instead has it that the natives of Easter Island spread their knowledge to South America (voyaged there) rather than the other way.

The second prominent platform is Ahu Vinapu. It appears to have had at least 5 Moias with several topknots; they are all on the ground now. There is also a statue that was unearthed in 1956 that was amazingly (and uniquely) made out of the red rock normally only used for the topknots. The figure appears to have thin arms and hands as well as slight breasts and a pronounced belly button indicating it was a female image. That is very unusual. There is a sketch of this statue dated 1868 that shows that this statue may have has 2 heads in a Y-shape. It’s possible that it was used as a funerary pillar on which a stretcher containing the body was hung on the 2 “heads” to dry before cremation.

It’s begun to rain. We take the east coast road and stop at every Ahu (platform) along that route. The 3 of us feel that something’s been lost because so many Moias have been left face-down in the soil to decompose. Many of the Moias on the ground are partially or almost completely buried. Our gut response is that it’s disrespectful to…what? The gods? The ancestors? It still seems not right. I suppose we can see some reason to leave the broken statues sprawled on the ground–after all it was the native people who destroyed the Moais. But still…

There are many rock piles that appear to be the beginnings of an Ahu (platform) but have not been formally leveled and of course they have no Moais on top of them yet. We head on back to town for lunch at Donde el Gordo. Frieder recommended this sandwich shop for a good lunch. We sit outside but the wind is blowing and next store they are grinding tiles for the walkway. Not a pleasant lunchtime atmosphere. The unique attribute of the sandwiches is green beans…as a sandwich ingredient. It was actually quite a nice condiment.

Our afternoon stop is at the quintessential South Pacific beach: white sands; beautiful palm trees; warm and moist breezes; and Moais (!). We arrive at Anakena on the north coast to see 4 Moais on one platform, Ahu Nau Nau. Its platform was restored in 1978. These Moais show an incredible amount of carving detail. There are fragments of other Moais and topknots lying in the sand . Also these Moais are unique because there are carvings on their backs.Anakena There are also petroglyphs on the back of the platforms.

Ahu Ature Huki is the second visible platform here. The single Moais has the distinction of being the first Moais to be re-erected. In 1956 Thor Heyerdahl tested his theory of the ancient method of raising of the Moais. His method was to raise the statue from a horizontal position (assuming the statues were moved by a sled of sorts) using long poles and stone supports.

This is where it is believed the first settlers arrived.Beach at Anakena It is the largest white sand beach; all other island inlets (with the exception of one other small beach) are treacherous rock landings.

We arrive back home about 7pm. Howard and I just veg in the hotel room eating leftovers from lunch, potato chops, chocolate and, oh yea, Pisco Sours.

Chile trip 8 October 2013

My sleep was disturbed last night by the outside light on our patio. I have the perfect fix! I will unscrew it. (And I did!)

For some reason we have gotten the actual time here all messed up. We’ve been traveling in and out of time zones and are thoroughly confused. So we wake up an up hour earlier than we had planned but we’ve had plenty of sleep so we look at the internet news and head off to breakfast about 8am.

We have a GREAT breakfast! My fave is crepes filled with a sweet syrup. In addition there are sweet breads, meats, cheese, avocado, delicious sliced tomatoes, fresh Chilean rolls, great fruit salad, 2 nice juices and good coffee.

After breakfast we visit the national park headquarters to get a map and ask for advice on where to go. First stop is Ana Kai Tangata, a shallow ocean cave with bird paintings (representations of the Sooty Terns that nest here) dating to about 1900. It actually takes us a little while to decide if those dim splashes of color are the paintings we’re supposed to see.Ana Kai Tangata paintings It’s only later when we see a picture of the paintings in a guide book that we confirm what we saw.

We then drive to Ahu Akivi, a platform of 7 statues (called Moais) on a hill facing the ocean. This site was restored by William Mulloy in 1960; it was the very first restoration of the Moais. This group of standing Moais are on the top of a hill. Most of the statues are along the coast facing away from the ocean so this is unique. The Moais, tributes to deceased chiefs or important elders, apparently were erected to look over and protect the village. The platforms of the Moais contain the remains of those important people. These Moais do in fact look over the ruins of a village but they also appear to have astronomical purposes; the platform is aligned with the spring and autumn equinoxes.

At some time in the history of the island the native people, either because of interfamily/tribe conflict or because of a loss of faith in their gods, knocked over every single Moai that had been installed on a platform (called an Ahu) onto its faceToppled moai (to stop its power). The year 1838 was the last year an upright Moai was seen. So most Moais, even if restored to an upright position, have been broken and mended. But throughout the island, most Moais are found face down on the ground around the Ahus. It’s really quite sad! After the completion of the restoration of Ahu Tongariki in 1996, and after the naming of Easter Island as an UNESCO site, only archeological preventative maintenance has been carried out on the statues. No other statues will be restored to the upright position.

More island history: It is thought that the original settlers of the island back in approx 700 AD to 1,200 AD, traveled 2,000 miles from another Polynesian island to begin a new life on Easter Island (or Rapa Nui, as the native people call it). They brought plants and animals with them including Pacific Rats (apparently for food). By about 1700 the population had substantially decreased and the island was essentially deforested. There are many theories about the demise of the native population including deforestation by slash and burn methods for farming; tree seeds eaten by a huge overpopulation of Pacific Rats; and European influences including disease and slavery. In 1877 there were a mere 110 native people on the island and by the early 1900s the island was overrun with sheep for commercial purposes and the native people were confined to a very small part of the island.

We drive a short distance and take a hike to find a lava-tube cave. It takes a bit of hunting but we find it. The cave has a large opening on the “roof.”The native people used these cave openings to grow crops; we see banana and avocado trees. It was a good place for shelter from the environment and water is more easily collected.

We have ham and cheese empanadas for lunch at Cafe Ra’a. They are much better than the empanadas in San Pedro. I try Crystal beer, a Chilean beer, and like it very much.

Rex hires a local guide for the afternoon. His name is Frieder but we are all confused about his name and I call him “Frieda” about a thousand times. Hopefully he thinks I have a speech impediment.

Frieder is no Cris; he is quiet and reserved but as the afternoon goes on he opens up. He takes us to Rano Raraku, the quarry for the Moais. The native people used the rocks of this 500 ft mountain (rocks called tuff which is consolidated volcanic ash) for the Moais. This is a dormant volcano and we first hike to the crater lake. There are a few Moais on the inside of the crater walls (it is thought that these are practice Moais) but the bigger Moais population is on the outside slopes of the mountain.

On the slopes you are able to see Moais is every state of completion! Some have just been outlined in the quarry rock; some are ready to be removed in full form; many have been moved down the mountain and are at different elevations.Moais There are many buried Moais; it is estimated that there are 1,000 Moais on the island. There are a couple interesting features on the figures. The hands carved on the Moais have VERY long fingers. It is thought that the chiefs had very long finger nails and the long fingers represent that feature. Also the figures have ears that appear to represent the cultural feature of enlarged earlobes–as long as to the shoulders. You know, like those stupid kids today!

After completion, the Moais were moved down the mountain and onto roads with routes to their final destination. The Moais have been described as “walking” to their ultimate destination. It has been proved that these large statues can be rocked back and forth on their base (rather like walking) and moved more quickly than you’d imagine. At their final destination they are mounted on the platform, the eyes sockets are fully carved out and the eyes are put in place (eyes made of coral with red lava irises). Only then is the Moais alive.

Around the island and in the island’s museum you can see a few different figure types although the iconic angular form is the most prevalent. It is thought that the earlier forms may be female and have much more rounded heads and, in one case, show legs in a sitting position.

I see a cute little partridge-like bird and Frieder says it’s a wee-wee bird. He says they scare easily and I ask “Do they then wee-wee?” I don’t think he gets the joke (like Cris would) and he simply says their call is “wee-wee.” He proceeds to walk through the tall grass to scare one up and when it “wee-wees” it nearly scares us to death, it’s so sudden and loud.

We take a short drive to the most amazing Ahu on the island, Ahu Tongariki. This ceremonial Ahu has 15 colossal restored Moais including one with an amazing red topnot. This site was destroyed by the 1960 earthquake (9.5 on the Richtor scale) and resulting tsunami. It was restored in 1996. We vow to come back for sunrise pictures here.

On the way back to the hotel we stop at the grocery store and I buy premade Pisco Sours in a bottle. (Thankfully we have a small refrigerator in the room.) Rex buys more chocolate. What a great combination! We enjoy the premade Pisco Sours at cocktail hour–not bad at all!

We have a GREAT dinner at Kaleta right on the water. The sunset is amazing! We all have fresh white fish, mashed sweet potatoes and what we thought was a lobster sauce but our server said was a rosemary sauce. A nice Chilean Sauvignon Blanc wine is the perfect pairing. For dessert we share profiteroles–small creme puffs stuffed with ice cream and covered with chocolate. These were not the best we’ve had, unfortunately. They were infused with a weird tasting liquor. But all in all it was a wonderful evening.

On way home in the dark I come close to walking into an open storm drain! It is about 2 feet deep. Howard saves me, thank goodness. A fall like that would have done my poor knee in.

Chile trip 7 October 2013

We discover we have the single room and Rex has the double room. So we have
only one bath towel. I shower first and Howard says to not get the towel too
wet. HA! There was some kind of vibration noise all night long that kept me
awake. Why didn’t I bring earplugs!!!?? We have to leave quite early. The
hotel said that there would be coffee and fruit for us before we leave.
Instead of sliced fruit there is a bowl of whole fruit–I’ll have the
pineapple, please.

Easter Island is supposed to be the most remote island in the world. The
flight is 5.5 hours long; it doesn’t feel too long. I watch The Lone
Ranger–I thought it was entertaining.

We’ve arrived at Easter Island! What a change from the bone-dry climate of
the Atacama Desert! The increased humidity feels great. And we are at sea
level! I wonder if there is such a thing as low altitude sickness!?

Arrival on this island apparently causes people to act nutty. We could not
believe how many people on the plane stopped dead in the aisles or on the
stairway off the plane or in the middle of the walkway to the terminal to
take photo after photo of themselves. We had to look back to make sure that
we had not missed some incredible photo opportunity. But no–people were
just being idiots!

Our driver has bougainvillea leis for all of us!

Our hotel is an older place with beautiful lush flowering grounds. Our room
is large and over-looks the pool. A large sliding glass door opens to a nice
deck; there is also a large window so we get lots of light in. Even though
at first it does not look like it, the bed turns out to be comfortable. Our
bathroom is large but the bottom of the tub bends under your feet giving you
a slight feeling of vertigo as you shower. But we are right in town and
steps from the ocean–it is the perfect location. We find later that is it
lots more quiet than San Pedro. Although there are chickens and roosters on
the property so we get the early wake up call.

We have a fantastic lunch at Hetu’u.  We enjoy slushy Pisco Sour first. I
have Seviche and it is delicious! It is a huge amount and I would like to
finish every drop–but it’s too much. We all get sweet potato chips and it
is the perfect accompaniment.

We find the grocery store and stock up on wine…and chocolate!

There are a few cute kittens on the property. One is quite a lover. You can
tell that she has been fed and she knows how to get fed again.

We are lazy in the evening. Stay “home,” read, blog and drink red wine. As I
sample my wine I glance at my wine glass (found in our room) and it is
filthy!!! In fact one of the glasses in our room still has liquid in it from
the prior guest’s stay!! Yuck. I am on a mission to get clean glasses.

Chile trip 6 October 2013

The neighbors partied all night! We thought it might be a wedding but, no, Cris says everyone parties all night on Saturday night! And the revelers brought dogs who could not get along–there were non-stop dog fights! Ah, well… Guess that’s the hint that it’s time to leave.

After Howard and I pack our bags we head into town to shop for last minute gifts. And to find a working ATM! We are in luck for the first but out of luck for the second. We decide to have a drink which turned into two plus a light lunch of empanadas. It is our last hurrah in town. As we walk back to the hotel Cris drives up and saves us the full walk back.

We are now in the Calama airport waiting for our plane back to Santiago. The flight is uneventful. In Santiago we are back at the Hotel Orly but instead of an apartment, like our earlier visit we have the queen room. It’s small and MORE expensive than the apartment!

First mission is to find cash! And we do on the first try.

The wonderful restaurant we went to before is closed so we visit a Peruvian restaurant down the street. Rex does not even ask he just orders Pisco Sours all around. I guess we’ve finally got him trained! And these are proper ones with an egg white foam on the top and a dash of bitters–Peruvian Pisco Sours. There apparently is an argument about  which country is the real source of Pisco Sours: Peru or Chile. My vote is with Peru.

For dinner Howard has an incredible “tower” of Seviche including crab claws. I have fish in chile sauce–a rather Asian dish which is usual for Peru; there is a large Asian population. Rex has scallops in an Asian sauce but he says he can’t find the scallops! We share a very sweet butterscotch-flavored pudding; it is a traditional dessert here.

Then we are off to bed to get ready for an early trip to the airport.