Oct-13

It’s not that I forget writing the blog articles, but when I go to bed I’m so tired I can’t keep my eyes open…

Yesterday was a true Friday the 13th. First we overslept, but that was not bad luck, that was because we were really tired. Then we had an awesome breakfast. The host prepared porridge, fruit salad and eggs and bread, cheese and ham were not the cheap ones but really good. That was also no bad luck, but hold on…

Our destination for the day was San Pedro Atacama – the place where the Argentinians had worked in a hostel for a month and where the second one wanted to stay for work again. Although it was a small detour I decided to go there with her as they told me so many amazing things you could do there – stargazing tours, lagunas with water that salty that you float, geysers etc. The plan was to stop by a laguna on the way and to do a stargaze tour at night.

As we were late we had to hurry a little bit. Turns out we hurried a little too much. When I saw the police car it was too late already. We were stopped for going 130km/h where the maximum was 100km/h. But as this was Chile, the bribe zone was officially over. Instead of giving a high price for a ticket and then asking to pay immediately, they didn’t even know the penalty amount. I would have to pay it on the following business day and they would keep my driver’s license until then. Again, instead of using this fact as a pressure to make me pay immediately claiming we wouldn’t be able to continue driving otherwise, they gave me a piece of paper and told me I could without any problem continue driving with that and present it if I would be stopped again (and it actually worked later on!). They would even mail my license to Concepcion. Let’s hope that this will work. When I asked again for an estimate of the amount, the officer said it could be around 10,000 Chilean pesos (about $160) but repeated that he wouldn’t know. In the end I don’t know whether I prefer corrupt assholes where you can at least get out with paying less or these helpful but correct officers where I’ll probably have to pay a big fat ticket.

Shortly after this incident it was already forgotten as we got into bigger problems. Leaving Arica in the morning, we refueled. Unfortunately the inattentive employee misunderstood my standard sentence “when it stops, please don’t fill more” and stopped filling when the tanque had reached half only. We decided to simply fill up at the next gas station. The problem was: there was none. The tanque emptied and we were in the middle of nothing in the desert. Even worse: we hardly had any cash. As there was still nothing, 20min after the empty tanque light had gone on, we stopped at a little restaurant at the cross section of two country roads. They usually do sell gas, but were out. The next gas station would be 40min away. Another group in the restaurant told us we should go as far as we could and then they would pull us for the rest. Luckily I had a gas reserve. We filled in the 7l and continued going. We reached the next village just when the empty tanque lamp came back on. We stopped and asked around. The next gas station would be 20min away but we found an old lady’s rural “hardware store”. With almost our last cash we bought another 7l of overpriced gas and filled it in the tanque.

20min later we finally arrived at the gas station. They accepted card and even gave us some cash out! In exchange we helped the employee to secretly smoke a cigarette hidden behind our car when pretending to help us clean the windows and check the tires’ air. From now on we would fill up completely at every gas station. The next one was 3/4 of the tanque away…

After all this “Friday the 13th” chaos we were too late for the laguna but at least on time for a stargazing tour at midnight. We safely arrived at the awesome hostel in San Pedro Atacama, CHL, cooked dinner and went to the tour… Which was canceled because of a cloudy sky. The perfect ending for a day of bad luck.

Instead, we had a beer and watched the stars on ourselves. When we started freezing we went back to the hostel where I fell asleep on my bed with my phone in my hand intending to write this article.

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