Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stop Over in Copiapo

Not much going on today. I got up early to catch my bus from San Pedro to Antofagasta. I spent an hour watching the sun rise and 4 local street dogs just being steet dogs. Running, playing, barking and trying to hump each other. No different than a night in any nightclub in humanland. It was a 5 hour ride with a stop over in Atacami and sleeping most of the way made the trip a breeze. Everything written about Antofagasta mentions that its a nasty port town with not much to offer the wayward traveller. When I left San Pedro it was sunny and bright. The second we hit Antofagasta the sky was overcast and grey. An hour later I was on another bus for Copiapo and when we left the Antofagasta city limits the skys cleared. Antofagasta you are the Schleprock of Chile.

I had a gut feeling today was going to be a bit off. I did not have a reservation anywhere because this is off season and I have not had any issues with just showing up someplace and getting a bed or a room. I was only stopping in Copiapo because I did 10 hours on the busses, I just liked saying Copiapo and was not prepared for 5 more hours to La Serena.
Ah Copiapo, you should be renamed Copiapopo. I had the name of a hostal from Hostalbookers and that has been my method up until now. Not only did any taxi driver, policeman or person on the street not know the hostel I was looking for the did not even know the street. Thats fair enough, I dont know all the streets or hotels/hostels in Toronto or even Niagara Falls for that reason. I then wandered this town for an hour, back pack in tow checking all the hostals, pensions, and residences withing a few block radius of the bus station and the Central Park. Residences are new for me and a its a Chilean thing as far as I have experienced. In reality its a bed a breakfast but they are set up for alot of people. Everything was booked solid. I got pretty tired of seeing "No hay camas y habitations". Well next up were the larger hotels and a solid one day increase in my accommidation budget. On average I have been spending $5 (no not a typo, thanks Loja Ecuador) to $15 a night, averaging about $8) for my room. Every place has been clean, has a private bathroom with hot water, wifi and free breakfast. Once in a while I hit a dorm because nothing else is available but all it good. Big lockers for my stuff and everyone has been respectful and quiet. Ear Plugs block out the night noises that tear at my soul (snoring and back pack zippers). Now I was headed into dangerous territory. It was getting late and I was hungry and for those who know me when I am truely hungry...well enough said

The first 4 hotels were booked. WTF!! I was not sleeping at the bus station so off to the 5 star hotels I wandered I just did not care any longer and I have more than 1 Carte de Tarjeta with me. In the first hotel near the park (I should have wrote the name down) the desk jockey in the nylon suit/uniform said and I quote "this hotel is to expensive for you". Sure I was grubby with a huge backpack and a bit of facial growth but really? I had experienced this douchebaggery in Europe before but Chile, come on!! I could have pulled out the shiney platinum plastic in my wallet and told this &*%$#(@@ guy to bite me but alas I found it was easier to smile, say thank you and leave. This mellowing with age is an odd experience. I had second thoughts about my decsion and I should have told him to bite me and flashed the card because I was still homeless. Down the road I went. Nice digs coming into view back near the main bus terminal and I was sold on the fact I would have to spend $200 for the night, whatever I wanted food. St. Christopher had other ideas.
**I willl clarify that last statement. St Christopher is the Catholic patron Saint of travellers. I have a great medallion I wear that was give to me by my mother, Meema for all you people in the know, just before I left. Yes I know what your saying but lets leave my views on Organized Religion for another time.**

As I was walking towards what I expected was a near death experience financially for one nights accommidations St. Christopher made a nice little hotel appear and smile to me from just behind the monolith that was 5 star. My pace quickened, my pack felt a little lighter and then and "Boom Goes the Dynamite" there was a room, $70 and it includes breakfast. In Canadian or Western society terms that seems cheap but when your travelling long term that is a kick in the shorts. However I was going to spend $200 so I figure I am ahead of the game and screw it I did not care. I will make up the difference with no cookies, Snickers and Pepsi for a few weeks.

Overall It was an easy day listening to hours of  Pink Floyd, Van Morrison, Tragically Hip and of course Bruce, having the desert sun shine on my face while watching Chile unfold out the window.

"If I should die in a car wreck, may I have Van Morrison on my tape deck."
       -  Lyrics from U Li La Lu by Poi Dog Pondering

No comments: