I woke up as usual around 8am and packed everything after having breakfast. The road was in direction of the pass and just a little less steep as some passages from yesterday: from 5 to 15%. I arrived at the pass (the gps told me 5090m over sea) and enjoyed the view and some cookies. I have made it! After taking some pictures I smelt the odour of gas and had bad feeling, which was confirmed by opening the bag: the cheap gas stovefrom San Pedro de Atacama was leaking….and I was loosing the precious heating substance. It didn’t make me to worried, as I have still two bottles.
The downhill on the other side of the pass was quite scarying, knowing that I had several kilos pushing me behind me. I found a nylon lining that I attached to a stone hoping it would slow me a little bit down. It did…for 20 meters until the lining broke. So I continued, stopping here and there to take pictures and allow the brakes to cool down. Once again I cannot understand Chilean road engineer as the road go for a while down and then up again to go down again…I would understand to allow the brakes/motor cooling down, but not by so big uphills. Well, they will have their reason, I hope.
Just before arriving in Cariquima, I crossed a truck which of course wasn’t thinking of slowing down…that was one reason more to have a wash in the evening. Cariquima had once an aerodrom which is now out of use and a play ground for Llamas. When entering the pueblo, the direction of Colchane is shown in three different ways: 25, 27, and 28 km…
I decided to search some meat and cheese – trying to satisfy the taste I was looking for the last hours. So I asked around and got the answer that there is an hostal-phone-restaurant nearby. Well… I only wanted to buy some food… The guy there said I should come over into the backyard. The women was cooking something and even having a bad feeling, I said ok, why not, let’s eat something so you won’t need to cook later.
The guy sat to the same table and we discussed about my trip. I could from where I was sitting anyone who wanted to approach the bike. Then lunch was served and the guy decided to eat in the kittchen.. very surprising!
On the way to the kittchen, he closed the nearest of the two doors to the outside, which made me unconfortable as I could not see my baby. I stand up and opened it again. After lunch, he paid first and left while I was waiting in the kittchen to pay as well. And when I came back to the bike, the digicam with months of pictures in “high resolution” and much better quality as on the phone was gone…I had no evidence that he took it but…
That was the start of much discussions. As there was neither phone (“broken”) nor Carabiñeros in the pueblo, we needed to go to a place that had radio communication. As everything was slow and I could not change anything from there, I decided to cycle towards Colchane. On the way there, I crossed the the Carabiñeros who told me that someone in Cariquima had called them and caught someone… I explained my case, hoping that the one that was caught had my camera. They proposed to meet me again on the way back, which happened about 5km before Colchane. They didn’t caught anyone… just had to take the information from the pueblo. They asked me if I wanted to ride with them. As they needed my deposition before starting anything I accepted. The only 5km of my trip up to now that I did not ride myself on the bike.
Arrived at the station, I had to fill out some papers for the investigation. I did not want a coupable, just my pictures back! And it was the only way…
We finished all that admistrative stuff before 9pm, when it was already dark outside. I asked where I could safely set up the tent and the officer said: “Just over the street” showing on old rest of houses without a roof. That was not what I had expected from my experience. So I took my stuff, crossed the street and lookied around: my bathroom is by far much cleaner and is used for the same purpose as “that camp”.
Among the street was a big building with light. I was imaging that it could be a more expensive hotel. It was dard, freezing and after that day all I wanted is a “nice” place, not depending of the costs. Well, it was just the school showing a “good” example of where to save some energy… 🙁 Why saving energy, if the generator is working anyway….?
So I went back to ruine… and was lucky that another Carabiñeros came out, woundering where I would sleep. I asked if I could not put the tent in their backyard as it would be safer. He had to ask… and came back with good news: I could sleep in the same room of a colleague: Jaime had accepted me for one night. He invited as well Carlos for a drink and conversation… I had a glas of Chilean wine as compensation for my day! Real nice guys… not to compare with the other one! Thanks a lot!
Luckily, the evening was not as long as the last stay at the Carabiñeros!