Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Chile to California

Well, I made it back to Santiago airport, fully expecting the task of finding the rental car return car park to be the greatest challenge. Isn't it funny how the things we worry about most tend to turn out a whole lot easier, and something not even contemplated turns out to be far more troublesome. Finding the exit for the airport off the Pan American highway was nearly impossible, and I found myself going in circles in peak hour traffic in Santiago. Luckily I had heaps of time!
Prior to the long drive from Temuco, I had a very interesting meeting with a seed production company, SG 2000. It is majority owned and run by Brian Blackburn. He also owns a large Estancia, steeped in the history of generations of ownership, on which SG 2000 grows seed crops, largely canola for the North American market. I had a fascinating day with Brian, who fitted me into his extremely busy schedule, and then invited me into his home to have dinner with his family. It is gestures such as this which make this such a rich and rewarding journey.
On the whole I leave Chile with the feeling that it is somewhat overlooked in terms of the potential for investment compared to its larger neighbours, such as Argentina. Certainly the benefit of a stable, predictable government is hard to quantify, however policy failure can extract a huge cost on business.
Finally, I understood there may be some accuracy issues with the GPS navigation in Chile, and this turned out to be the case. ( American Jill and I sometimes didn't get on well, Ausie Karen is turning out to be far more my type) It is another instance where it pays to listen to one's instincts. For example, when you get the feeling you are going the wrong way down a one way street, you probably are, and if no traffic is following you across a large bridge, and there are pedestrians everywhere, the bridge is probably closed...
I survived, and it was fun!
A big thanks must go to the people who hosted me, and took time out of their busy schedules to show me around and explain their businesses.

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