So what does one do when abandoned in Chile?
I have a confession to make. While Claire came up with a lovely elaborate excuse as to why she´s returned home (with an awesomely appropriate cricket analogy to boot) she tells a lie. The truth is we had a massive fight and decided that South America is only big enough for one of us.
Another one bights the dust.
Ok so I know none of you believe that. To be honest, nothing could be further from the truth. For 2 months I had the pleasure of travelling with an excellent travel buddy who could weather my moments of ditziness, not get annoyed whenever I asked her a question that she had no idea about expecting her Geography tag to suffice, pull me up whenever I stacked it (often) and oblige me in stupid poses for interesting photos. I cannot sing her praises enough, but I guess the fact that she managed me for 2 months says enough about her strength of character. Some of you know I´ve been searching for my Amazing Race partner for a while, and maybe if all goes well with Claire´s Anterior Cruciate Ligament, she might make it to the auditions. (I think Claire should actually do a blog about her knee, since it has been the topic of nearly every conversation for the past 3 weeks, so hopefully you will see one soon).
I miss her terribly.
Claire and some members of our Santiago ´family´
But what does one do when abandoned in Santiago, at the only hostel I´ve ever known to have a cricket pitch out the back (yep, owned and populated by Aussies). Well, I thought of bumming around Santiago for three weeks with my newly found Santiago ´family´ and occupying my life with Mote con huesillo, empanadas and ice cream (best ice cream in the word comes from Chile!!) but then decided that I would carry on the dos amigas plan and head north. So I jumped on another Pachamama by bus tour for six days and headed into the desert that is the north of Chile. Having finished it, I´ve gotta say it was the best decision ever. ALong the way I got to eat at Empanopolis (34 selections of empanada), swim in an oasis, watch the sunset in Moon Valley, eye off some sea lions and a sea elephant with dolphins jumping over the top of our boat, lie down on the salt flats (it´s amazing how much of an inclination one has to lick the ground when one is told it is entirely salt), and most importantly I SAW FLAMINGOES up close. This has been a quest of mine for a while, and I´ve gotta say, these birds are way cooler than I thought. Not only do they have an awesome run-up technique and the all-pink thing going on, but they also mate for life. I like it.
Did I mention I ate a llama? Well not an entire one, but they tasted so good I could have. And no, they don´t taste like chicken. More like kangaroo. Yum.
The tour finished in San Pedro de Atacama, a tiny town of 2000 people which is constantly overrun with about 4000 travellers, but still manages to remain really cool and chilled out, despite being in the middle of the desert. Where else can you go snow-boarding in a place called ´death valley´.
me with my genies on the salt flats of the Atacama desert
So enough about my raving about the north of Chile. I finally have a passport and so it´s time to head to CHEAP countries. And while Bolivia would be awesome, the whole riot thing doesn´t appeal, plus it´s raining in Bolivia right now, so I´m headed for Peru with my German friend Maike.
Will Jovi make it to the Inca trail alive? Will she be able to get through Peru without mistakenly eating guinea pig? Does Paddington bear still have any relatives left in Peru? Tune in next time to follow the adventures of this quasi-Lone Stranger.