Monday, August 18, 2008

Chile CON carne

Ever wondered what it´d be like to be stranded in the middle of a desert? Well, guess where we are right now... and not just any desert, the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert which stretches its dusty lengths across Northern Chile, Argentina, and has even been invading Peru with recent climate shifts.

You might, justifiably, wonder, ¨if they are indeed stranded, then how would Daniel be able to update the blog?¨ Fair enough. Luckily we happen to be stranded in an oasis, so it´s not like I´m crawling on my knees through sand reaching for water...

And like any good modern day oasis, there is electricity (on occasion)...

In fact, there is even a bus that leaves down the dusty road every 3 days, but unfortunately the next one is booked, so we´re stuck here for at least 5 days. Not a bad place at all to be stuck actually... the daytime scenery is great, and the nighttime stars are unbelievable- you have to look hard to see small spots of black (sky) in between all the bright stars. I do feel a bit bad for the boys who only have 9 days left before they have to fly home, since it means we will have to travel fast and hard once we do get the bus out, but they´ve both been good sports and seem to enjoy the desert.

I read a sign soon after arriving claiming that, in an oasis, WATER IS GOLD. Boy, they weren´t kidding. I´ve had my share of bucket showers and I´m a longtime supporter of the drip dry technique (wet towels make for stinky travel), but yesterday was my first Drip Shower. I had to collect the drips for a minute at a time in my clenched hands and then quickly use it sparingly.

Before I go further, I should shatter any illusions of the four of us camping beside a small pond surrounded by palm trees, surrounded by Arabians in turbans. Though our oasis may have originally resembled that, Spanish cattle ranchers began building it up into a proper town hundreds of years ago. So, there are hostels, markets, and restaurants. But go a kilometer (or 100) in any direction and you´re smack in the middle of a hot, DRY desert.
And more importantly, we´re in a financial desert. No money. There is an ATM in town, but it´s been broken indefinitely and no one seems to know when it´ll be fixed. So I collected everyone´s spare spending money and rationed it out for bread and water until if and when we get money (I´m using this internet instead of eating bread for the second half of today, just because YOU are so special to me and I want you to share in the adventure!) JooYeon had to fight off the dogs who went viciously after her rations today. Plus, the internet room is warmer than our chilled bedroom where we use the candles sparingly...
Actually, it´s not just bread and water. Here in San Pedro, we eat choclo pate (smashed super corn) and drink mote huesillo (some kind of long-boiled peach and grain drink)...

In final news, and in reference to the title of this particular blog entry, JooYeon and I have finally relinquished our vegetarian vows. It was a great idea and we may take them out partially now and then in the future, but it simply wasn´t healthy enough here in South America given that it is such a carnivorous society. Here is a picture of the First Supper...


  1. Thanks for the updates. They are always enjoyable to read! Mom

  2. Thanks Mom, and just so you don´t worry... the ATM machine FINALLY worked today so we are back in business!

  3. Dan,
    The ATM in San Pedro works!!;0)Does this mean you don't need the Lions Club Wooden Nickels? Should I send a six pack of Gatorade and a six pack of Eau de County Road 5. That's what Peppy Le Pew was wearing when he got smacked in front of our house. It's great to hear that you're doing so well. You may well want to pawn your umbrellas!

  4. I´d still send the nickels my way... I´m sure I could find uses for them, if nothing else they might make good fuel for the cold nights here! Poor Peppy... I hope he got a proper burial... maybe you could call Kenny Hostetler and tell him you´re interested in building a ¨small¨masoleum...