Travel Distruptions Chile to Boliva

Part 2 of 7

9th October 2000

Welcome to My "Orange" Dreamworld


Name change in honour of the fact that I have mainly been listening to Gomez so far on my walkman and it's one of the lyrics (as was Trying to Get Myself Arrested)!! Orange in honour of the orange shades !!

I'm currently heading north for the weekend to a place to called La Serena on a well comfortable bus : 7 hour journey, but loads of leg room, English videos, and food thrown in .... all for 5,000 pesos = 7 quid. (Bill Shaw - Pullman buses for when you are here).

Spanish Lessons

It's been really doing my head in .... me duele la cabeza (my head hearts). At the start of the week there was me and an Aussie couple. Between us we knew jack shit .... naturally I was the worst. By Wednesday they'd improved but I hadn't.

We'd been doing verbs, nouns and something called stem-changing verbs .... they all have different ending to the words depending on who is saying what to who :

  • o,a,an,es,e,amos,emos,imos
  • ...... here endith my understanding and concentration !!

An interesting journey home.

One night after going out for a drink with the Aussie couple (Carl & Jo) off the Spanish course, I encountered an interesting walk home :

  • 5 mins - rough looking punk chappie gave me some verbal, luckily I was pulling my jumper up around my mouth so I just shrugged him off.
  • 10 mins - approached turning (into a dead end strangely) with 3 prostitutes on the corner. A car turned in for a "chat" with one of them .... then 2 other cars pulled up behind him ...... I was like a queue in a drive through McDonalds !!!
  • 15mins - by the language school, I saw 2 tranies snogging !!!
  • The final stretch was uneventful.

But I got home safely and I remembered the words for my key .... "llevas por numero dos de la habitacion" !!!
The 'dos' might come after habitacion but who cares, I got my keys !!

My travel plans have been somewhat disrupted …….

Bolivia: Not only is the fuel crisis affecting travel in this country - similar price increases to the UK, although still half the price. But recent Govt intervention in the "fight against drugs" has caused uproar in the villages.

The Govt has destroyed ten's of thousands of acres of cocaine crops (as they did in Columbia in August, 2000) and now the farmers & villagers are blockading and bombarding the tourist buses with rocks; vehicles getting through this are being stopped and made to pay $5 a person every 10kms - a 3 hour journey is taking anything upto 10 hrs.

Home office advice is not to enter the country .... and anyway the border from Chile is closed !!

Simple solution : give the Arabs the coke in exchange for the petrol !!

Peru: Similar petrol stuff, but not as bad. But the big problem is the people's hero President Fujimori was videoed taking bribes .... he's now the people ex-hero. He agreed to not stand in the forthcoming (March) elections, but has had to flee the country at 2am last Wednesday in fear of his life !!!

Chile: Quite minor really - it was found out that a top military leader was controlled by the CIA in the 70's / 80's!!

Coming to this part of the world has certainly opened my eyes to things outside Nottinghams, Mansfield, & Northampton. The Baily Thomas scandal (which has funded this trip) is peanuts compared to life here !!!

8th October 2000.

A quick change of travelling plans - now heading south next week !

Before that I'm going north to a place called La Serena for a couple of days about 10 hours away. Back for the weekend ..... Chile v Ecuador (Sat)..... party in the park (Sunday) ..... then south Monday / Tuesday for a couple of weeks.

Following all the trouble, Bolivia is now history, South Chile is meant to be awesome. Then Peru around November (as planned roughly)

Detailed update when I get to a faster internet cafe .... very slow type a word 5 seconds later you see it !

Back to the Travel Plans.

My revised travel plans are now:

North for the weekend La Serena ... Elqui Valley - the spiritual home of the country (opposite end of the world to the Himalayas); and then South to what is regarded as the best of Chile .... if it's good enough for Prince William it's good enough for me !!

From half way south of Chile I'm popping into Argentina for a couple of days going over the Andes and then back to Santiago for the 26th October for Chile v Argentina ..... I got it wrong about this weekend Chile v Ecuador …… it's in Ecuador !!! .... too much time employed by 'werderber' has made me go thicko !!!!

Anyway we'll have to see what happens. As a great man from Weston's Roadshow (fairground in Arnhem Land, Aus) once said "who know what lies ahead of us in this strange tapestry we call life" !!!!

11th October 2000.

La Serena.

Strange events have been occurring out here.

This is meant to be UFO spotting centre of Chile .... clearest skies in the country 340 cloudless days a year apparently. This is also the dope epi-centre of the Chile ... no luck there though. Didn't try too hard though ..... yeah right ..... I was running around like a blue arsed fly in the quest for peace and tranquillity !!!

There are 4 space observatories out here, went to one the other night it was well interesting
..... loads of space and star info etc

Had a close look of the moon .... awesome it looked like plaster of paris with divots. Saw "new/old" star formations ..... 25 trillion, billion years old !!!

Also saw the Southern Cross and the Scorpion, a couple of shooting stars, and in one black void of space we saw apparently 5 million stars ..... to quote the Fast Show .... "there's one, there's another one !!! "

Also went on a tour of the Andean villages, Pisco factory and also went to a Poets house
.. Noble peace prizewinner in 1945 Gabrielle Minstral.

She must have been good considering the war ending in 1945
... a Poet or Churchill .... who deserves a peace prize more !!!

It was a bit touristy but it was a good laugh, well I got pissed in the Pisco factory.

12th October 2000.

Is it Going Pear Shaped ?

Major cock up ...... I got to the ticket office to get the Chile v Argentina tickets (I was well chuffed with myself even asking for directions etc) ..... I asked for 4 tickets ..... "Si".

I even got as far as choosing 4 seats together on the half way line, middle tear (15.000 pesos - 20 quid'ish) .... perfect view, gave the woman the money ..... got the tickets ...... then I looked at them ....... 15th November ?¿!?¿!

"What's that ?" I thought ...... 26th October it's meant to be - as advertised in the Colo Colo ticket office and also on the television after the Ecuador v Chile game !!

Then I was told ....... el fútbol sala ..... this means in-bleeding-door football on the 26th Chile v Argentina.

That puts me in a major league quandary; what am I going to do. I had it all sussed ..... 2 weeks down south, footie, then up north to Peru.

Still going do that I reckon, 'cos I've got Festival 2000 to complete : Goa (Jan), Glastonbury (Jun), Santiago (Sep), Puno, Peru (Nov1-7), & Banos, Ecuador (Dec 16-24) !!!

Then of course Christmas in Venezuela and New Year in Trinidad & Tobago - Champagne & Lobster with Mr Shaw !!!

PS Found a nice Toby ..... a sandwich : steak, bacon, fried egg, tomato and mayo. Unlike the one who I used to work with !

13th October 2000.

Pucon ........ Mount Villarrica

Currently in a place called Pucon ..... 14 hrs South of Santiago.

It's at the base of volcano (Villarrica), which is on explosion alert code red !!!!

You can normally climb it to look over the crater at the lava, but they've stopped people going up !!!!

I'm going to be here for 3 days or so ...... going hiking in the mountains, white water rafting, mountain biking and hot springs swimming among other things.

Hopefully, report back soon, if eruption free !!!!

16 October 2000.

Too Busy To Talk !!!

Just a very quick update ………… I survived erupting Mount Villarrica ! Done loads up here …… I'm about to set off on a manic 3-day journey through the wilderness, with some cool people I've met up with on top of a volcano !!!!

No time to give details, bus goes in 10 mins. Still going to be back in Santiago around 25th before heading north.