I’m a lucky guy. Ok, not the luckiest bloke, but I have been lucky enough to have inherited my father’s rather nifty sense of direction (if you’ll excuse some rather uncharacteristic boasting on my part)! A few weeks ago, I decided to walk home, rather than get a taxi (as a cab is just a waste of money right?). I didn’t know the way, but knew which way roughly was my hotel, and walked it, based solely on my thought of “I reckon that way is east”, and a very basic knowledge of the map of the Santiago metro. Two kilometres later, I got to my hotel, without any faff/muggings/murders (an exercise I have repeated twice more since).
A similar thing happened tonight. It was 5 in the morning, and JD and I decided to follow a group who said there was a bar open until later (as our favourite haunt – En Secreto had shut at this point). Sadly, this turned out not to be true. So what happened next? We walked east, until we got to a road. A road that was easy to follow home (Avenue de Pedro de Valdivia). Unfortunately, we went south, rather than north, which wasn’t ideal (I needed around number 100, but we ended up at about number 3100). At this point JD decided to ask for directions, and decided to go east, while I looked at the numbers of the buildings, and returned north (to my hotel). In other words, I decided to trust my instinctive sense of direction (ta muchly father dearest :D). It was at this point that we parted. I decided to back myself (a favourite motto used within the Sedgwick Club), based solely on my sense of direction, and made it back fine (although it was a decent walk of at least two miles), augmented by solar navigation (as dawn was breaking at this point). Turns out JD opted for a cab in the end, which was a good shout, although much more expensive (£4+ vs. £0.00) 😛 hehehe, (although to be fair, I only had the equivalent of about 50p on me at this point and hence had no real alternative)!
I have however made errors with solar navigation in Santiago in the past, as the first day I was here, I forgot that in the southern hemisphere, the sun is to the north (rather than the south) at midday, which is different to the northern hemisphere (and hence different to London), a forgotten piece of information that made me get a tad lost! Seriously, solar navigation is really helpful. It might not be the most accurate, but it does give you a vague idea of what direction you’re going in (as long as you know roughly what the time is too), which can be invaluable!