Footing our way on to ‘Ruta 5’ there was three of us. Gerrit, myself and Joao. Three international backpackers lowered my expectation of getting somewhere anytime soon. But when there is a low expectation there isn’t as much disappointment. A mere five minutes marching along the hard-shoulder, Hanz slams his car to a stop just twenty yards in front of us, with the window down. Gerrit puts his head through, “donde vas” (where are you going) “Vina Del mar”. Gerrit looks back at me and Joao, “okay, us as-well”. Hanz opens up the trunk and our valuables are thrown in. I couldn’t believe our luck.
Hanz did not strike me as very Chilean and from his name alone you could probably guess where his parents were from. However a guess wouldn’t be needed as a big German flag stood proud on the dash. Hanz decides to reveal his roots anyway. A lot of Germans fled to Chile after the world wars and a lot of them were Nazi’s. I was in the car with what could quite possible be a Nazi’s son. Not only that, his job was protecting the president of Chile. He was ‘special police’ as he called it.
Did you know the Japanese are known for their over happy camera trigger finger, yes, I bet you did. What I didn’t know was so was a German/Chilean hybrid. As Gerrit is German, Hanz kept on insisting that we take photos of both of them, who were sharing the front half of the car. So what this meant is he and Gerrit would both look back at me, in the back, so yes, Hanz was turning himself around, taking his eye away from the road, so yes it did mean Hanz was sacrificing his ability in keeping us in one lane, almost sharing one lane with another car. I guess I could have just stopped taking photos…
After the photo-shoot, I thought perhaps Hanz had taken something, because as cars passed him on the outside lane, he would point his gun and pretend to fire at cars as they sailed on past, which would be followed by turning himself back towards me and Joao to show us his wonderful smile.
So when I say I sat in the back hoping this guy didn’t have any vendettas against an Englishman, you will understand why. And if this was not a great time to be thinking of this, Hanz pulls off the highway and into the car park of a roadside Church. Getting out he tells us to leave our things in his car and follow him. So we were following a Possible Nazi, wielding a gun, into a road side church. Right.
As it turns out, this church was famous. The pope from all the way over in Italy, once toured through Chile and Happened to stop off here, which was why there was a small amphitheater at the rear of the church. I have since procured the opinion of distaste on those places considered places of interest for tourists because someone notable presented themselves there. I remember Argentina, in Rosario you could go and see Che Guevara’s house. But really you couldn’t, because all you could see was a sign post, that said ‘Che lived here’. I might as well put a sign down my home street saying some famous revolutionary tech whiz used to live there. People will flock, I’ll set up a toll for passing through. I make a decent cut, for sure.
We finally left the church, not before convincing Hanz to have some more photos, specifically Gerrit pointing Hanz’s gun at Hanz.
Back on Ruta 5, calmness had been restored. No distracting driving was encouraged, nor exampled for the remainder of our first ride. The ride taking us all the way into Vina Del Mar, where mountainous terrain scratches at the sandy beaches of Chile’s beautiful coastline.
As we part ways with Hanz at a shopping center car park in the heart of Vina… ‘una mas foto’, okay Hanz one more photo. That was definitely a quirky first ride, and I’m glad I did it.