February 17, 2009 GMT
Oh! My Uvula!

15.2.09. Castro, Chiloe, Chile.

caststilts copia.jpg


English people over the age of about 35 (at least the ones I like) learnt the hard way that they had to drink the required number of pints by 11pm, during the dark but character-building days of 5.30pm opening times. Peer pressure, reinforced by the "round" system ("Come on you big lady! It's your turn to go to the bra!") means that all worthwhile adults will finish a pint in no more than 25 minutes; and that, once you have decided that tonight is pub night, you want to go at 6pm.

In foreign-land, of course, it's sometimes necessary to adjust your lager clock. Very few actual pubs in these parts are open before 7pm. Ruperto's in Puerto Natales was locked up tight every night until a panic-inducing 9pm (open until 4am though, gutter-dwellers). Some places, like the otherwise-perfect Piel Roja in Coyhaique, don't open at all on Sunday. *tremble*

Grins ahoy, then, in fabulous Castro, on the rainy/sunny/rainy island of Chiloe, where Ottoschop is open by 5.30 on a Sunday, and one may be pretty damn sure that one is not going to be ejected at 10.30pm.

casthouses copia.jpg


I *heart* Castro. The whole island is a wee bit like Cornwall (fishing villages, brightly-hued boats etc) and a lot like nowhere else (Curanto is a steaming bowl of shellfish, fish, pork, beef, chicken and lamb, all smoked*).

Arriving here yesterday and pootling around town in search of a hotel, a dusty old BMW R100 with UK plates pulls up next to me. It's Richard, last seen in Viedma 9 weeks ago. Tea and smokes at his riverside cabin are in order, and, later, fine wines and seafood at the harbour. Brilliant.

castrich.jpg

---


My physical and mental well-being are now directly linked to the mechanical health of La Fluffita. A misfire gives me a mild cardiac spasm; losing one cylinder genuinely gave me earache. For the last 2 days she's been perfect, and I'm as happy as a pig called Larry floating in a stinking ocean of faeces.
---


You may well never have suffered from a dried-out uvula. You don't look the type.
It's a shocker. It's caused by falling asleep, mouth agape, with big headphones on, (preventing you from turning onto your side) and snoring like an ox. The squishy bit in question swells up and dries out, and when you wake up you think "Oh my! I've shitted my throat up! I'm not swallowing right; I may die imminently."

It's never happened to me before, and after 15 minutes of body horror I grab the bull by the ring and go back to sleep. When I wake it's all fine. A wet uvula is a good uvula. I gaze upwards at the Sunday morning rain clattering off the skylight and spark up a Lucky in celebration.

If you don't know what a(n) uvula is, be sure to spell it right when you do a Google images search. Or, you know, don't.
---

BtDockred copia.jpg

We've established,I hope you'll agree, that Chiloe is an island, and therefore that a ferry trip or similar is required. The options from Coyhaique are;

1. 250 miles of rocky gravel and roadworks (involving dynamite) to volcano-stricken Chaiten, and then a 3 hour ferry.
2. 50 miles of tarmac to Chacabuco and a 23 hour ferry.

The bike's on-and-off problem rules out option one, so I spend a night in a wobbly hotel in Chacabuco, badly, painfully smitten by the most bang-on, blue-black-haired, big-eyed Betty I think I've ever seen. I believe I had a dream about her, during which we got married, when I was 13. She's so head-bendingly fabulous that even to think about her now, in this bar, constitutes a Venial Sin in the eyes of Our Lord. Oh! My trousers! I must do penance. I will offer my Chum-smeared hands to the local devil dogs, having spatchcocked myself over a municipal waste-basket. Just as soon as I've finished my Cristal.

btport1 copia.jpg


So anyway, the promised 23 hours becomes 40. It stops everywhere in the world and it only serves machine Nescafe and ham and cheese buns, of which I eat 13. By hour 29, one could cut the boredom with a spoon. Dismay crackles through the stale air of the "dining" room like tired, seasick electricity.

btrope copia.jpg


36 hours in, and 13 hours late, we arrive. Oh joy! Except those of us with vehicles are told to wait another 4 hours before we can de-boat the fuckers. And the bun shop is shut, meaning no water to drink. (Did I mention there were no alcohol or fags on sale on the boat?) It's a slight kick in the teeth, then, when I finally make it to the hotel at 3am, ask hoarsely for a glass of water, and am refused. Did I mention that the toilets didn't flush 85% of the time? Must get that in.

Not all good then. But in fact most of the actual boating is fantastic. We chug past misty mountains, islands, villages that are linked to the rest of the country only by ferry (Gawd 'elp 'em), and gradually the brain-splattering size of Chile becomes clear.

btmisty3 copia.jpg


It's a great journey - just don't swallow everything you're told by Naviera Austral before you clamber aboard. Luckily the northern ferry off the island is only 20 minutes. Or is it? Perhaps it is. Or is it?**

btrailings copia.jpg

---

John and Dermot: 75 year old Dubliners, in Chile on a "fishing" (read: swigging) trip. My Ghod you're good lads. Viable candidates for the position of grandfathers to Remington and Ronson, should that unlikely situation ever arise.
---


Review Section

Alicia Keys:
Ooooh ahhhgghh *snort* nnngh *cluck* mmmfff.

Alicia Keys/Jack White:
Bloody great, utterly appropriate and sexy as owt, apart from the crap bit in the middle. What gives?

btsun2 copia.jpg

---
*slightly more unpleasant than it sounds
**"Or is it?" gag courtesy of A Bit Of Fry And Laurie, BBC, 1992-ish

Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at February 17, 2009 07:15 PM GMT
 



Renedian Adventures

HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!