Sunday, 18 November 2012

Day 134: Calama to Antofagasta, Chile

A funny day today as I get used to riding alone. Really alone today as I ride to meet D&D in Antofagasta. It is quite different riding alone. Quite apart form the obvious of not having anyone to shout to, I found myself being much more careful about riding on the verge - the idea of having to pick Ebony up after a tipover didn't appeal.

I only had a shortish ride to do today so didn't bother setting the alarm. But of course woke up at 6am anyway. Had a leisurely pack and breakfast and went to get Ebony from her subterranean parking spot. Set her up outside the hotel and packed her, experimenting a bit with different layouts. Itbwas surprising how much attention she got from the miners. Was on the road at 9am and got gas and water before heading out into the desert of the road between Calama and Antofagasta.

Not too far out of town I passed this mine.

Lots of different colours - copper I guess though it looked like sulphur.

It was pretty barren out there. A railway on one side of the road.

and a road under construction on the other.

I was having a bit of trouble with my stomach at this time and made a number of forays to squat in the sand dunes. Probably just as well that I was on my own! From their higher positions the truck drivers seemed to be able to see me and get pleasure from tootling me melodiously with their horns. Unfortunately, like a bad opera, my performance was more sound and fury than substance. (See the tone of my blog has gone downhill already!)

I also had some trouble staying awake and had to stop from time to time to smack myself on the head and drink water. Nearly tailgating a truck was the last straw and I did my best to have some rest.

Along the way we went past past this abandoned village. An "Ex-pueblo."

Finally I arrived at Antofagasta at about noon and checked into the Ibis hotel. Pretty basic but ok for $NZD93. Great staff who enjoyed having the bike parked outside. And again a subterranean car park. I went for a long walk along the waterfront. This is the view from the hotel. A huge children's playground across the street.

And the waterfront.

with some interesting gizmos for the kids to play on.

It was a bit edgy though. I had two approaches from beggars and a one from a glue sniffer as I walked along. Also a number of people living rough on and near the beach.

I was obviously in the rougher end of town because things became less edgy as I walked along. Lots of families enjoying the sand and surf.

And boys on a raft. (Where are all the girls?)

This intrigued me. Obviously tsunami is a real risk here.

I was really surprised at the end of the beach to come across a rugby ground.

A tournament of women's rugby was just finishing.

Feminine rugby even!

I had to smile because the loudspeakers were playing "We are the champions!" Haven't they heard of the Rugby World Cup?" :-)

I'm not too sure what this is but I would guess a stadium of some kind.

There also seems to be quite a lot of political graffiti. Like this one. Not quite sure what this is referring to.

And statues.

When I left Calama I was warned by a bloke about driving in Antofagasta on a Sunday afternoon. He reckoned there is a lot of drinking and drink driving on Sundays. I certainly did see some very drunk men weaving down the street but didn't really see too much erratic driving. I was pleased to be walking anyway!

And that was about my day. I had a beer and a chop suey and have now retreated. Just heard from Shirl. When she got to Auckland she found that Jet Star had cancelled her flight to Welly. She had to take the 9am flight instead. Just what you need after a long international flight! No apology. No meal or coffee vouchers. Pretty crappy I think. Instead of getting home at 8am she got home at 12.30pm. However - it's all ok. She's enjoying the birds singing in the garden.

Today's ride: 223kms
Cumulative: 33,110kms
Tip overs: 7

Location:Antofagasta, Chile


  1. Ah, Jetstar. Did you see this? Lachie would like you home in one piece, so make sure you rest!

  2. Don't take any chances Ken, drink heaps and stay awake!