After the initial shock at what had happened, luckily as Mikey was wearing jeans the bite wasn’t too deep. Annie used her best nursing voice to calm Mikey down, and we decided all we needed was to grab a tetanus and rabies vaccine. The lady at the campsite said the dog was vaccinated, which was a bit of a relief however still we didn’t want to take any risks! We went to the local hospital, where they gave a shot of antibiotics, however said to come back on Monday to get the tetanus jab. Considering it was a Saturday we thought we’d head back into Mendoza as it was only an hour away and try again!
When we got to Mendoza we ended up at a private hospital, as it was pretty impossible to tell the difference between public and private hospitals there. We got a prescription for the tetanus jab and had to buy it (£100!), however the doctors insisted there was zero chance of getting rabies in Argentina. A very short google search resulted in us finding they definitely hadn’t eradicated the disease here, and actually threw up a story of a woman travelling who had a similar experience and really struggled to find the vaccine.
We thought we’d go back to the car park we’d stayed at in Mendoza as they might know where to go, however they also thought we’d struggle to find the vaccine here. Still – we went to the largest central hospital but they also told us to come back the next day (Sunday), as we had missed the working hours of the vaccine part of the hospital!
Luckily we were in touch with Remi, a friend of a friend who lives in Santiago de Chile. He told us it was absolutely standard procedure if you’re bitten by a dog in Chile to get the rabies vaccine, and in fact it’s paid for by the government there whether you’re a citizen or not. With that in mind we headed to bed and the next morning got up early and crossed into Chile still on the hunt!
Despite the chaotic and less than ideal situation we were in, the drive over Paso de los Libertadores was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful drives of the whole trip. At every corner was a breath-taking view, and as we had left so early we were treated to the sun rise. We stopped for breakfast with a stunning view of the valley and took our time, as it was the last time we’d be driving through the mountains. When we reached the top of the pass we crossed our final border which, as we’ve said with Every South American border, was incredibly straightforward and over in less than an hour. They did search the van deeply though – and were the first border to find the storage space under the boxes! Luckily they were only concerned about fresh food and dairy, and were more than happy with our boxes of wine!
It was about a 3 hour drive back down the other side into Santiago, however the change of driving style was incredibly noticeable. Everyone was polite, the motorways all looked new and we felt very much like we were back in a European city. We drove straight to the hospital with high hopes, and they appreciated that we needed the rabies vaccine, however they told us that the fridges had broken and we had to wait until the next day to get it! Felt like some force was working against us, so we went to the only other place we could find which was open on a Sunday, a private clinic. Unfortunately we had to pay £75 just for the consultation, however once we’d been seen they seemed shocked we’d found it so hard to get the vaccine and administered it to us straight away. They did tell us that only one booster was needed, which was categorically different to both the NHS advice, and the vaccines advice leaflet but they wouldn’t accept that we needed another. Still that was a problem for a few days away.
We had finally succeeded, and feeling a little more relaxed we headed to a gas station a little out of town to spend the night. In the station they had showers for £1 which were incredible, and it was a safe place to spend the night for free, as there wasn’t an abundance of campsites in the city. As the evening arrived we both started to feel a little worse for wear, potentially due to the stress of the last 2 days and so thought about getting a hotel, however decided it wouldn’t be worth it as it was already 8pm.
The next morning however we headed to a small hostel/hotel as soon as we could check in at midday. We’d both got ‘la gripa’ (the flu!) and just wanted to relax in a warm room for a couple of nights. We found a sweet place with parking which would fit the van and spent 2 days just relaxing in the room there and recovering, ordering in our pizza and sushi to generally make us feel better! Whilst not the most glamorous way to spend basically our last week in the van it was a necessity and definitely helped us to feel better much quicker.
Soon we’d be driving out of Santiago for the last campsite of the whole trip…