All of the above (South America)


Thanks for the good words.

I am still puzzled by what broke in Chile.
Chile "had it" much better than all of its neighbors, by all accounts.
The riots started by "students" protesting subway fare increase by 4 cents on a dollar. It seems like not a reason to blow up half the country, especially considering that students were almost entirely unaffected by this increase.
The TV footage from October 21 (day 3 of riots) was very touching - the working people went to clean up the burnt down subway stations, so they could return to work. Whatever they had to say on TV about riots was far from sympathetic.

The riots had a devastating effect on the local economy away from Santiago - from day 1.
No planes taking off from Santiago => no tourists landing in Punta Arenas => nobody on tours/trips/whatever.

In contrast to that - Buenos Aires seemed its relaxed and cheerful self despite economy being really bad and getting worse.

And Bolivia blew up two weeks later.


Engineer In Residence
The average wage in Chile is about 800USD per month. To live well you would need about twice that based on the cost of living I am seeing on the web. Combined with growing income inequality and privatization of various government services has driven the unrest. Apparently the education, health systems were privatized, causing a large increase in their cost. The pension system has also been unstable since being partially privatized.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) states, that 1% of the population in Chile controls 26.5% of the country's wealth, while 50% of low-income households access 2.1%. Additionally, according to National Statistics Institute of Chile, while the minimum wage in Chile is 301,000 pesos, half of the workers in that country receive a salary equal to or less than 400,000 pesos.[36]

In addition, there is criticism that rail transit fares in Santiago are the second highest in Latin America (only surpassed by São Paulo).[33] In relative terms, the average monthly cost per person for the city's public transport is equivalent to 13.8% of the minimum wage, well above other cities such as Buenos Aires, Mexico City or Lima, where it does not exceed 10%.[34]


The numbers could be correct, yet I don't think they tell the full story.
Keep in mind that the protesters were those the least affected by the metro fare increase.

Hope they get over that and come out better.


Spontaneous is the key word here.
Planned family trips are possible but ...
I'd have stayed until the "planned" end of our trip in Santiago. I'd have kept the rental car, driven it to Ushuaia, taken all the boat trips there were to take.
And, come to think of it, originally I wanted to drive further North to El Chalten and hike a little at the foothills of Fitz Roy. That would've been perfect.

P.S. That was much more spontaneous, and much more engaging trip.