Saturday, 17 November 2012

Day 133: in Calama, Chile. Hasta luego Shirley

Shirley and I have had a quiet and gentle day in Calama. It probably wasn't the best place for her to leave Chile from but we had originally thought we would be coming here from Bolivia. Anyway it is a pleasant enough mining town, a bit dry and dusty but with lots of nice friendly people. In many ways it reminds me of Tokoroa in the sense that it is a company town. The copper influence is strong in the architecture and in the public statues. Miners are respected here!

Being a Saturday we leapt out of bed at the crack of 8.30 or so and headed for breakfast. It was ok but we were beginning to wish that hotels could think of an alternative to scrambled eggs and chopped sausage for buffet breakfast. Shirl then started packing.

We went for a walk through the Centro but unfortunately Shirl thought I had the camera and I thought she had it. Things start really late here! It was 10am but very little was moving. (Dinner starts being served at 8pm) It was a good walk but we were really only sightseeing. (As opposed to shopping.)
We came back for a while and then went out again, with the camera this time. We enjoyed the performers at the traffic lights.

This one with a doll

and this one juggling.

The Chilean army was putting on a display.

Nice little Hondas!

This lady wanted the soldier to demonstrate how he cocked his machine gun. Several times. Hmmm.


This looked a little more serious.

The army personnel were very friendly and interested in what we were doing, although they found it a bit hard to believe that we had ridden down from Prudhoe Bay. Interesting also how good their English was.

As we left we met this group of young women out collecting for the telethon.

We decided to make a donation and did stone, paper, scissors to decide which of us would dig into a wallet. Apparently this was incredibly funny and they all shrieked with laughter. Something we're missing there maybe? Anyway we donated 1,000 pesos which is about $NZD2.50. They seemed amazingly happy with that.

We walked on and into a huge new shopping mall. Interesting to go from the Centro Historico with its shops and buildings hundreds of years old, and then go into a brand new shopping mall that could be anywhere in the world: Apple, HP, Ripcurl, Bata, KFC, etc etc.

That was about our day. Shirl had a shower supervised by Kiwi

and we were in a taxi out to the airport. Shirley is demonstrating her fixed grin.

There was a little hiccup in that instead of booking her bag straight through to Auckland, as her ticket says, they want her to pick it up in Santiago and recheck it. A bit of a bore. Kiwi checked out Shirl checking in. Seemed to think she was doing it proper.

He was a bit worried about her smelly helmet though.

And that was about that. Shirl went through security and is homeward bound: Calama, Santiago, Auckland, Welly.

Kiwi is struggling a bit with that but I'm sure he'll be ok. Tomorrow we go to Antofagasta and then meet up with D&D on Monday morning. Itvwillmbe different. We can sense the end of the trip coming .... Down to Ushuaia then up to Buenos Aires and home. Phew!

And so I went down for a solo dinner and had the best spag bog I think I have had since leaving the US! At last, one with some flavour. It was so nice I had a pisco sour for dessert, just to celebrate. I loved the way that the bartender took a slug out of each pisco sour shaker before serving it, justbto make sure it was up to standard. Hope she makes it through the night.

And that, dear friends is about that. Shirl will work her way through Santiago with a long wait for the connection and then on to Jaffaland (Auckland) and home. Expect the quality of blog photography to decline sharply! :-(
Today's run: 0kms.
Cumulative: 32,887kms
Tip overs: 7

Location:Calama, Chile

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