You may have probably noticed I have decided to go to Chile and skip Bolivia and here is my rational;
- The only thing I knew about Bolivia that I wanted to see where the famous salt flats and maybe La Paz (even with the horrors stories I heard about the place)
- It was the rainy season
- The roads are bad and worse still in the rainy season
- I would have to double back via Juliaca!
- No one I had talked to recently had anything good to say about Bolivia it was all negative.
- I need to get my arse moving South or it going to be very cold trip if winter sets in
- Chile is the quicker route with better roads see point above
So the plan was to move south and maybe hopefully see some of the Dakar Rally but it looks like I maybe ahead of it now so I would have to slow down and stop for a while if I was going to see some of it and I am not sure how easy it is to get to see the race as the course is unknown up until the moment that it starts so where would I stand in the hope that it may go past where Phillys is happens to be standing.
So I am heading to a place called Iquique just because I like the name. The Hostel did a good breakfast with everyone sitting down together chatting, which was nice and it was hard to pull myself away from, as dialog was interesting and engaging. So I am back in the desert however this desert different than the one in Peru it seems to be much more hilly and not so dusty but its still a desert so still very dusty and sand everywhere but engaging enough and very pleasant riding.
I stopped for some sculptures out in the middle of no where and was thoroughly enjoying the ride my mood and spirit lifting moving south so the trick it seems is just to get busy and hit the road and leave your blues behind you 🙂
It was a short ish ride and I had heard about a ghost town called Santiago Humberstone which was an old Saltpeter mine and the town that was build next to it to house and support the workers so a total self contained little town that was in operation from 1872 until 1960 when production stopped and the town was deserted and left to go to ruin. It is now a museum and you can wander around this place and its like a ghost town the building are still there in various states of repair as much is metal that has eroded some parts have been done up slightly and its quite large. So it took me a couple of hours before I seen the majority of it. Similar to Beamish and the Canadian Historical outpost I had visited not quite as slick and done up but that added to its charm of the place and we all know that Philly loves these types of places and I can spend hours just wandering around these and this place was no different so I had a great couple of hours discovering this lost town first to the factory with the old rusting building and locomotives and then to the town with the posh houses for the managers and then to the workers cottages the church, the market, the shops, tennis court, and a huge theatre and the piece de resistance a huge metal swimming pool I am guessing if you are in the middle of a desert so that does kind of make sense. So this village was there for the workers and had everything there I am not sure what the working conditions where like and I cannot imagine what it was like in its hay day as not much in the way of info but all in all a couple of hours well entertained on my mini voyage of discovery of this derelict ghost town.
I spent longer than anticipated at the ghost town and I could easily have spent longer but I needed to find somewhere to kip so that is onwards towards Iquique. First place full, second place no safe parking, third place full. Oh dear its going to be one of those nights. I had an address of a Paragliding club that had rooms and the worse case scenario camping facilities! So I tried to locate this, which was difficult as it was just out of town and my GPS was not playing ball. So I stopped to ask 3 coppers on Horseback on the seafront and was quite an amusing dialog and chat one because my Spanish accent is so bad a I cannot get the double ll pronounced right at all so they had no idea what I was wittering on about but I showed them the address and out came the IPhone and Google maps and we are sort of there but then they had to explain the directions to me in Spanish.
Well in the end I found it a Paragliding club at the far end of town on the side of cliff gorgeous views but no they where full but I could camp. Oh well nice evening gorgeous setting so why not so the tent is pulled out of its bag for the first time since the 19th August last year so I have been lugging the tent and kit around for 120 days and never used it well it does makes a great back rest when I am riding and I guess it will be used more in the coming months yuk!
No food available but there is a small shop at the bottom of the hill that may sell something as I did not want to go back into town and it was a Sunday. I found the shop and brought the ingredients for a turkey and cheese sandwich not the kind of things you expect to find in a corner shop that is in the middle of an area where all I could see was a containers shipping yard and love motels and a club having a beach pool party the music you could hear all the way up to the Paragliding club.
I walked back to the Paragliding club and and I had my dinner chatting to a retired German chap who was travelling around in his van called Bernard who was kind enough to lend me his adaptor as the plugs here are different in Chile they are not the American type but similar to the Europe type plug only thinner so you can try and ram your European plugs into the socket but it will probably end up breaking them (This sort of worked last night!) so I need another adaptor.
Nice sunset nice location Paragliding folk not that friendly but Bernard nice and I had my computer and the Internet so a pleasant evening and then back on my hands and knees crawling into the tent. I am always putting camping down because of the hassle and the hands and knees stuff but I do get my best night sleep in the tent and tonight was no exception I went to sleep to the sound of the club pool party and latest south American pop songs nice.