Well, yes, I’m still living! 🙂
After arriving in Ollagüe I needed some time for different points, mainly finding a solution for getting to Calama and getting to money. From Ascotán the solution would be much easier… here in Ollagüe, everything is more… let’s say “South American” 😉
Everything started with having connection with the mobile phone, as the coverage is done by Claro, not Entel (the biggest mobile phone network). My Chilean phone number did get useless, I needed to change the configuration with the Swisscom Card, as it wants to be connected with Entel.
I started to asking around and people were telling me that a shop had “posibility to retrieve money”… just nice that the shop was closed all Friday, the tenant should come back on Saturday…or Sunday morning.
In the mean time I did get some information from a Cabinñeros about the Aucancanchila and the path to the north on the Chilean side.
Saturday morning, the shop was open, but as the electricity “arrives” only at 11am, I should come later, so at 12h. Yes, I am in a town that do not have all the time electricity. But don’t worry, the diesel-generator is working all day… And I barely can imagine that it loads batteries in the “dark time”.
I passed again at 12h at the shop to learn that the “Bancomat” they were having is in fact a payment machine and only for the card of “Banco de Chile”. No other card works. And no one thought I would not have one. Sorry, I haven’t opened an account in Chile.
Well, now I needed to go to Calame for two reason: Money and glas fiber for the bike. It was “already” late (it takes more than two hours for Calama) and asked for solution for the Sunday, as shops are open on Sundays (I needed the confirmation twice).
It was said, there would be two solutions: Autostop at the exit of the city or Truck-Stop at the frontier.
I choosed the first, but wrong solution. In the afternoon I decide to give up and wait for the next day. I had no luck… but was much more lucky than a lot of people more in the South of Ollagüe: The earth quake had killed to much people.
Monday I went early to get one of the first truck….which did not arrive. At 11h30, I went to the townhall to ask if there was someone going to Calama. The answer was easy: Oh, just 10 minutes ago a car from us left. To the question when it would come back, I got the answer: “In the evening” Cool… I could also come back with them. I asked the women to get in touch with the driver and to “reserve” a place. Yes, no problem, I will do it.
I went back to the customs control and was lucky: Not one but four trucks did just arrive. With inofficial help from one of the customs agent, I kindly asked the first driver. “No, it is not permitted – no discussion”. The agent passed me the information, that another would do it. So I asked with some other help and other kindness in form of a 4 USD bill. And it worked.
I arrived at 16h in Calama, took the next bus to the supermarket, which needed about 25 minutes. I had to hurry to get in touch with my “back-ticket”. I was surprised (well, I should not have been) that the Construction Market did not have nor know what fiber glas (two compounds glue with glas tissue) is. So I took the “best” glue they had (Araldit) and some keys to open the digicam. I went then to the Supermarket and bought some water, fish cans and other stuff to eat for the next days.
I phoned to the driver as I did not get any messages as discussed in the morning. Well… “I am full.. but there might be other cars. Come to the bus station”. He did not tell me that the bus station was 1km far away. As fast as I could (with more than 35kg), I ran to meet him. On the way, I saw a garage and thought about the ultime chance for fiberglas and was lucky. I paid the 20 USD and went to the near bus station. Of course, he had left. And was friendly not to pick up the phone. So after 30 minutes of waiting I took a taxi to get to the main road towards Bolivia. After 90minutes, a camionette stopped and picked us up: A woman and her daughter and me to Chiu-Chiu, the next “pueblo”. It was easier for to get a ride from there. The woman was friendly to show me an hostal, in case I would not be lucky. After two hours of autostop and my first “Moon rising”, I decided to go back to that hostal and was sleeping at 23h.
The next morning started well: It smelled fine – they had baken fresh bread. A man was waiting for the shop to open and I asked him to bring me to the 2km far away road. He accepted, I was lucky. 30 minutes later, the first car passing and stopping was the “correct” one: Dani was driving to Ollagüe. All the waiting had its advantage: The weather changed from cloudy, rainy and windy to sunny and windy!! 🙂
Arrived at Ollagüe I started to clean the bike and apply the fiberglas. While it was drying, I ate with Dani (I invited him as a sign of gratitude) and two other truck drivers: Jaime and Eduardo who were waiting for documents from Antofagasta as there were delivering two huge trucks in Bolivia.
The next day was quite easy: Some more layers of fiberglas and good discussion and more good wine with Jaime and Eduardo. The “fixing” doesn’t look nice at all…and it doesn’t have to. I’m glad if it hold until Lima… 😉
When I woke up today Thursday, my stomach and my sleep was not well. I decided to stay one more night and prepare myself for the leaving on the next day.