Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Chile, But Getting Warmer (Part 2)

Tricky photography by the fireside - note the unexplained goulish skull above the fire!!! (sorry Caroline)

Up until Chile, South America had failed to meet my expectations in one important respect. After such a bad dose of the runs in Roatan (aka the Hondurance Endurance), I expected at least a few ´bouts´down here in S America.

But things had been fine and my immodium supplies remained undiminished until I got on the truck for the two hour journey from San Pedro to Calama.

I have an interest in religion without feeling committed to any traditional concept of a supreme deity (bear with me, i know this seems like an obscure change of tact). Also, I do consider myself to have strong moral values, but without having derived those from divine inspiration (getting back toward the point now, honestly). But I can tell you that there´s no such thing as an atheist with the runs travelling on a truck in the middle of a flat featureless desert.
And I can resolve many an ecumenical argument by confirming that my prayers were answered when I arrived at Calama without calamity, with seconds left to sprint to the supermarket loos.

As well as divine intervention, I think music was a great help - in particular, a few listens of KWS - "Please Don´t Go", and at my moment of greatest need, i took great comfort from Wilson Phillips "Hold On For One More Day". (Graeme - over to you...)

Luckily i was able to put a cork in things for the next stage of the trip - bush-camping.

One of the biggest problems camping in the desert is getting wood. Being a responsible guide, Dan organised a scavanging hunt at the side of the road on our way to our desert camp.

24 burgers between 7 people, erm including 2 vegetarians. Who sent Caroline and Calum shopping?
Luckily, Ali got so much wood that we had to help him carry it back to the truck. At the same time, one other possible danger is getting too much wood, which can keep you up all night if you´rĂ© not careful. A bucket of water is a handy cure to have to hand.

Our last stop before Santiago was the seaside port of Valparaiso.

Santiago itself was a real revelation for me. I hadn't been expecting much but personally i found the place to be really lively and cosmopolitan. So my last 48 hours in mainland Chile were a real adventure. Jazz clubs until 2am, clubbing until 4am, staying up until 10am and beyond... and a special hi to my Chilean friend from Santiago Camila. Next stop Easter Island.


Adrienne said...

aawww... looking at these pics and hearing stories from the truck is really nice. Funny how certain things stay the Ali's ability to gather insane amounts of wood, or Caroline's love of food... so nice.

Quick question, isn't that Ali (not Caroline) in the first picture? I really dig that shot!

I'm also glad to hear that you made it to the washroom on time... otherwise you might have had to be like Dan when one time he had to tuck his pants into his socks... yeah, not pretty.

addy :)

Calum said...

That's Ali posing in the middle of the shot with the ghostly trails of Dan and I behind him. The ghoulish figure above the tongs on the fire is Caroline. Or is it... (oooooohhh!)

Ah yeah. Dan told us all about that as we drove into La Serena... I think they may soon erect a plaque recording details of the incidents in the main plaza...

Graeme said...

Let’s see if we can tune into the thoughts in Calums head on that bus trip. There our hero is sitting quietly on the bus listening to his favourite 80’s hits on his ipod when…

“That’s strange”, thinks Calum. “I’m sure I can hear Freddie Mercury singing, but I didn’t put Queen on my ipod.” Then suddenly, the image of Mr Mercury hoovering pops into his head… I know that video, thinks Mr Scott, but what is the song? A look of horror spreads across his face as the tune finally comes into focus. I WANT TO BREAK FREE croons the now deceased one. “What’s happening to me?” Calum thinks. If only he can make it for another half hour…. Pondering, he searches through his ipod, and clicks on one of his favourites. As Mr Astley gathers speed, Queen recede into the background. Calum cranks the volume up just to be sure. Quizzical looks from his fellow passengers don’t affect Calum and NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP is put on repeat.
Nearing the next stop, Calum is starting to feel quite relieved when suddenly, he can hear the faint singing of another dead rock star, this time Jim Morrison. “Oh no,” exclaims our hero, not… BREAK ON THROUGH. As Jim Manzarek’s keyboard twiddles reach a climax, the petrol station comes into view. Not a moment too soon, either. Calum frantically searches for his favourite Communards song – DON’T LEAVE ME THIS WAY and prays. Running across the forecourt looking for anything vaguely private, Elton John and Kiki Dee start up. DON’T LET THE RUNS GO DOWN ON ME they sing in unison, Calum vociferously joining in.
At last our hero makes it.
Some time later, climbing back on the bus, the background music in the petrol station takes Calum back to a different time. A time half a lifetime ago when long curly hair and Snakebite were the order of the day every Friday evening at his local rock club – the infamous Piv. Yes it was Iron Maiden with their paean to tummy bugs… RUNNING FREE.
“I think I’ve had enough music for one continent” thinks Calum, swallowing another five immodium.
But somewhere far, far away in a restaurant that Calum had never even heard of, the music was increasing in volume, just waiting patiently for the right output…

Calum said...

Graeme mate...

That was scary. I don't think I'll ever eat another curry again.