Update of Photos in the Photos section. Just dumped loads in there so its a right old mess.....
Has been difficult to find Wi-Fi Internet. Finally found some in Antofagasta in the Mall. Slept on the side of the road last night after driving round trying to find a shower for hours. Fianlly found the local sports field next to the beach had showers which we could pay for. Just like some of the service stations but none of them had showers here. Too near town I think to need them. Anyhow the sunscreen from days in the Sun was washed away. Not that the Sunscreen did much as after 6 hours we were burnt. We put the awning out on the side of Matilda and didn't venture out much but still got burnt. We had excellent views of the Dakar, drank beer and talked to various travellers we met. Australian and Chinese bikers on a rental motorcycle tour with SAMt. The Chinese were actually BNOT (British National Overseas Terratory) and from Hong Kong. A Canadian local working in the mine and a German who had rented a car in Santiago.
As I've been offline for a few days we have a lot to say but i'm not sure I will remember all. Here goes !
The photo where Matilda is parked sideways in the parking bays is somewhat annoying. We were fast asleep, parked in the bays as any normal person would be (in line). At 1:15am there was a "tap tap" on the window. The police ! Wanted us to move and shining his torch in my eyes when I peeked out. "Where should we move" was our question and with neither of us speaking the others language they motioned us to park sideways. So that we did. Why we had to park sideways was anybodies guess but the photo speaks for iteself. I don't like being woken up !!!! I manouvered the car half naked. Julie got dressed and got out to give assistance.
My shorts have had it. On to the second spare pair. I knew bringing two of everything was a good idea. Should have got a spare Land Rover......she was overheating on the hills. We went up 2000 meters and stopped 3 times. 5mins and she's good to go again. Not sure why she overheats and then cools so quickly. Any ideas Mike or anyone else ??? We have a 5000 meter hill to go up.....not sure we will see any ideas from Mike before we attempt it.
My feet have been in the South Pacific. First time I think. Not sure if some of the places we have been previously are South Pacific but I don't think so. So a first for me and minding the Jelly Fish I had a little paddle.
Another rescue for the stuck car using my spade and "Waffle Boards". It was actually 3 people that used the spade and 2 using the boards. I got stuck earlier and at 3000Kg I should have known better than to try to get a better position. The locals in their little "soft roaders" were wizzing all over and only sometimes got stuck. I just got stuck immediatly but got myself out in 2 mins with some tyre deflating and 10 spades of sand. Easy. I only got the boards out for the locals.
On to Dakar. Amazing sight seeing all those people take a vehicle up a slope that I wouldn't even attempt. The lorries had some difficulty and especially the Uni-Mogs. The MAN trucks just wizzed up. The Toyo tyres car was miles out in front and it was ages before anything other than two wheels passed us. If you had blinked you would have missed the Toyo Car entirely.
One of the hightlights was seeing the car blow a tyre on the hill at the end of the day. We weren't far from the finish line so I think they called for a spare tyre but we left before they got it. The car had auto jacks and they just pressed a button and it jacked itself up right there on the hill. The long piston sinking into the soft sand and stoping the car rolling back. Now I want some of those !!!
The coffee drinking Danish biker called Henning will be in South Amercia soon. We are on our way back to Argentina and Uraguay/Brazil so will likely be there just as he arrives ! We do our best to avoid him but he keeps turning up all over the place. At least we will have somewhere to get showers now.
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