Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 142 (556km): Chi-Chi-Chi...Boo-Boo-Boo

Our first impressions of Chile are starting to remind me of our nightmare in Nicaragua. It's amazing how the first few days can set the tone (or sour the tone) in a new country. So far most of the people we've met have been unfriendly. Also the North is pretty ghetto. I know it's mostly mining towns but still, the mining towns we drove through in Peru were not this ghetto.
Making our way back to the road in the morning

We continued our way south on good old Ruta 5. We have to be careful with gas since the gas stations are few and far between. At one point we had to go through and Aduana checkpoint. We didn't have a choice. So we pull through and it looks like a ghost town so we continue to the exit. That's the trick. There is a barrier with a guard house. An unhappy lady came out and told us we needed to go back and get checked out. She was pretty bitchy. So we go back and submit our bike papers to the office. They stamp them and tell us we can leave. Oh yeah, that was really critical. Not sure what they are trying to achieve there but it was stupid. The lady lets us go this time after seeing our stamped papers. I make an effort to take my time putting my papers back in the proper place while she holds open the barrier.
At least we can go fast

Riding through northern Chile is like being on a Mining field trip. As we go south it's a who's who of mines we studies in school, and almost all the traffic is mining trucks. The downside of this mining region is that it's a bit of a hole. I haven't seen anywhere nice yet. 
Alberto: Is that a Mining truck in our lane?!?

Naomi: Uhh.... Yes I believe it is.

At one point there was a police car, with it's lights on, coming towards us in our lane. We thought that was peculiar and slowed down and moved to the shoulder. Soon we realized there was a convoy coming our way and they were taking up the whole road. We quickly drove off into the dirt. It was two trucks one with a truck box, and the other a loader.
Mining rules this country

When we reached the turnoff for Antofagasta we went into the town for some internet and gas. We went to the mall to use the wifi and have some lunch. The food court didn't have a single healthy option so we caved and had McDonalds. The hotdogs seemed to be a popular choice. After taking care of some important internet business we hit the road.
The view of the city

South we went. We completely failed at getting the equator photo but we successfully got the Atacama Hand photo. After the photo-op we continued a little further down the road until we found a suitable place to camp.
Talk to the hand
Done for the day

1 comment:

  1. Awesome Cat trucks! haha, reminds me of Highway 63 to Fort Mac