Chile, Mostly North

January 14, 2011 - Antofagasta, Chile

 So I missed the boat to Chiloe by a day which is sad but everything works out. I made it from Futaleufu to La serena in 3 days which is 950 miles as the crow flys and a long time in a bus. I stopped of in puerto varas, concepcion, and santiago along the way. I had plans to visit Valpariso but I had heard from travellers coming back that it is packed and expensive right now because it is Chile´s summer holiday.

Our bus broke down on the way to La serena and I had quite a few fun/questionably safe interactions getting to La serena at 2 in the morning and finding a place to hunker untill dawn. Although I had a rough night my spirits were high because I planned to get out of chile in a few days and spend less money in bolivia. On my way to the bus station I ran into two girls from germany that stayed in my dorm room in montevideo. It seemed too nice of an opportunity to pass up and they had plans to go camping but were not well outfitted for the endevor. Keith to the rescue!

That day we headed into the mountain town of vicuna. we visted the worlds largest Pisco cooperative and took a tour. then went up to one of the many observatories in the region for a midnight star tour. the air there is so clean it is where most of the EU is now colaborating to build larger telescopes.

The next day we headed back to the coast and north to Bahia Inglesia to go camping on the beach for 2 days. Though it was beautiful there the chilean people love to party all night long and are not very concious of other people who might be resting for daytime activities. Also Dakar has been happening now in chile. We never got to see the race but we encountered many of the support staff from around the world. Dakar is a desert enduro race lasting 15 days and involves maybe 10,000 or more people. They did not aid in the sleeping problem.

 The best experience we had in Bahia Inglesia was certainly when we went for a walk and towards the end of the beach and had to ask people in a large factory for drinking water. 5 minutes later we were in a boat out to retrieve scallops at a scallop farm with the owners. we brought them back and had some raw and some cooked with various cheeses and spices. WOW, never had a scallop like that and was excellent since the owner of the scallop factory cooked them himself and if there is one man that knows how to have a scallop it is him. while we relaxed his children, who were avid beach combers, showed us their fossil collections which included 4 Megaladon teeth that I have only every seen behind glass at a museum.

The next day we headed north to Pan Azucar national park for 3 amazing days of tranquillity on the beach and desert walks. Katarina, one of the german girls I am with, was able to attain a volunteer work position for an intership needed for her biology major. she will return in two months to start work.

After we sadly had to leave the beautiful beaches of Pan azuchar we headed across the desert north to antofagasta which is the support town for all the mining towns of the north. chile produces 50% of the worlds copper. we are staying with a friend of a friend of a friend who builds turbos for diesel engines for mining trucks. he is an awesome guy and we made an amazing dinner last night with other guests. I am staying here one more night to try out a tip someone gave me about staying in fire stations;) por que soy un bombero.

Just got my yellow fever vaccination here which is needed to enter bolivia.Headed to Bolivia tomorrow solo since the girls are going north to peru. I just hope I make it out with everything I own still in my possesion.

 no problema, tengo suerte por que vivo!


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