Friday, January 7, 2011

Chasing Dakar-Or rather being chased by Dakar!

January 7, 2011
Today we are in Arica, Chile and I am sick. Damn. Buffy had a super cold for the last five days and so now I fear I will have to suffer as she did over the next few days. I have to say I was quite happy with my immune system as I watched her cough and sneeze. But now I know I was premature in my thinking and believe I will endure more suffering as a result of my pride. L On the bright side Dakar (an international race through Argentina and Chile) finally caught up with us, after trailing us through two countries and five cities. So today we will hang out, in this border town, long enough to see the racers pass by and snap a few photos to make my uncle’s, back in the states, happy. Our goal is to see Dakar, get lunch, hop across the border, get a bus and arrive in Arequipa, Peru by nightfall. Is it possible –likely not since we’ve had absolutely no success with border crossings up to this point.
Last week we camped out in La Quica, Argentina for five days hoping that the crisis sparked by a 70% hike in gasoline prices would quell in time for us to go to La Paz, Bolivia. In the end we didn’t go to Bolivia because there was no public transportation, $130 visa, and a chance that we would have to turn around and dart back to Argentina. It was sad as both of us have been dreaming of Bolivia since we started this trip.
Because of the Dakar race getting back to Salta, Argentina from the Bolivian border (south of La Quica) was difficult as was getting out of Salta and across to Chile. We travelled for many hours in a cramped SUV to cross the desolate border of Chile/Argentina in the west and arrived in San Pedro de Atacama on January 4th.
San Pedro, Chile was a pretty cool little tourist destination with a beautiful adobe/cactus church and an archeological museum founded by the town’s priest in the 1940’s. We had vegetables for the first time in many weeks (Argentina is famed for their steaks) and a nice, albeit expensive sleep. The town is overlooked by an impressive volcano and we were able to see quite a few of the pit crews for the Dakar teams.
We arrived in Arica, a surfer’s paradise, on the 6th after another daunting overnight bus through the desert. However, Arica (a town bordering Peru) has turned out to be very nice. In the 1880’s a famous architect for Paris by the name of Eiffel stopped here long enough to build a beautiful church.And again we get to see the crew pits for the Dakar team’s storm though the city. We stayed at Tres Soles Hostel where the owner’s family has taken very good care of us and we FINALLY had a proper breakfast. So now I am sitting at that hostel waiting for breakfast number two!!!! Buffy is doing math and I am angry that now it’s my turn to be sick but looking forward to breakfast, Dakar, Peru and the next six weeks of our trip!
Office of Priest/Anthropologist of S.P de Atacama
Border of Argentina and Chile

Dakar Dudes
Church in Atacama

Eiffel's Chrurch

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