16.4.09 Iquique, Chile.
San Pedro de Atacama is set in the sort of surroundings that the kind of people that describe things as "deeply spiritual" would describe as "like, rahlly rahlly spiritual". I don't want to upset anyone's moral apple-cart, or indeed cause you to wince in horrified embarrassment, but my abiding memory of the (justifiable) tourist-magnet that is SPDA will be the enactment, under a trillion twinkling stars and the misty majesty of the Milky Way, of several acts of gross indecency with a local hotel employee. Horse-frighteners all, leaving us both with sand in places sand should never venture. May God have mercy on our souls. And a big "sorry, pal" to the guy that lets us into my hotel room in his PJ's at 5am.
It's not my fault anyway - Alex (Canada to Buenos Aires on a 25 year old Suzuki) introduces me to a group of organized-tour-bikers, and it's Mike from that lot who invites the gals over to our table. Add multiple Cristals and some horrible tequila to the equation, and dreadfulness can't be far behind.
A warmth-free hug and a terse "bye then" at checkout time, and I'm running free (yeah), 60 badly hung-over miles across the desert to a horribly expensive 4 star hotel in Calama - what a treat! - just in time for the Arsenal-Villareal game, on my big telly, in my big-bathroomed big room, with a big bottle of icy water and quite a big grin on my lucky little chops.
26.4.09. Arica, Chile.
So! Bolivia tomorrow. It's a real thrill to be heading for a spangly, box-fresh country. The deal with Bolivia - I'm told - is that the traffic cops will stop you, invent an infraction, take your driving licence and send you off to the nearest cash machine so you can return with the "fine". To thwart this scheme, one enters Bolivia with several laminated colour copies of one's licence, allowing one to hand them over at the roadside and skedaddle, raising a mental middle finger to the corrupt officials in question, never to return. I've just had five copies made, and the price, including 40 Lucky Strikes, came to about 8 quid. If all Bolivian traffic cops are effectively Helen Keller with an IQ of 50, I should be OK.
All these corruption warnings remind me of going to Nigeria - which was about as corrupt as Norway - but I do feel slightly more prepared now. Arica is the Last Town in Chile: from here it's either Peru or Bolivia. I've had nothing but smiles from cops in Argentina and Chile but surely that can't go on, up north, indefinitely?
I'm not going to mention the European biker I met in Iquique who, having been to South Africa in the 80's*, now openly expresses his opinion that SA was "better off" under Apartheid. No sir! Not even going to allude to the nasty little fuck. Francisco (English/Chilean) and I were a marker pen away from daubing his bike with swastikas after a night on the Crissies, but we didn't, and so there's no need to bring the sickening, racist little turd up ever again.
Francisco (Jewish) was forced to share a room with the rotten, toxic, hate-filled little bastard for several nights, and well done him for not throttling the ghastly, bigoted, near-teetotal, short-shorts-sporting, emetic little goat's anus. I shall not be referring to him here or anywhere else. Good day to you sir! You grisly little freak.
*Never since then and never anywhere else in AfricaPosted by Simon Fitzpatrick at May 08, 2009 06:29 PM GMT
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