South America, Day Eleven: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Jo Sutherland

Writing in a hammock is really bloody difficult… especially when you’re trying to get your whole body in the sun. I’m gonna fall off in a minute, hip over arse, onto the gravel below. I hope you appreciate the effort that’s going into this blog.

It’s pretty damn hot today. It climbed to 30 degrees yesterday. It’s set to do the same today.

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Poor Vicki isn’t very well – she’s emailed the doc with her symptoms and he thinks it might be e-coli. We actually joked about catching such nasties when we were still back on earth, in  the office. Turns out you shouldn’t tempt fate. She’s feeling a bit better today so we’re currently weighing up drugs v. nature. As a fan of meds, I’m leaning towards the former. If she feels better later on, we’ll go to the lagoon…. if not, we’ll probably just relax here. We’ve got…

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South America, Day Ten: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Jo Sutherland

Ok, so after a night of hell / adventure at Santiago airport, and a dodgy cup of tea (tasted like dirty dishwater), we finally checked in at 5am, and flew to Calama – then we caught a shuttle (12,000 pesos) to San Pedro. Don’t worry about pre-arranging this. There are shuttle companies everywhere and each charges the same.

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While I’m giving an overview of transport, Sky Airline are amazing – we’re so impressed. They run to time and they load you up with snacks and meals – even if you’re only hopping on a short flight. And the staff are all mega-helpful. Book with them if you can. They’re worlds apart from the likes of Ryan Air who, as we know, will screw us any which way they can.

Oh and something else about Santiago airport – NEVER order tea with milk. Or lemon pie. Both are gross and resemble nothing…

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South America, Day Eight: Patagonia, Chile

Jo Sutherland

Today we spent five hours on a horse. In the snow. Subsequently, we’re broken, hungry and in need of wine.

My horse was called Toastie…

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And Vicki’s was called Pickled Onion (but the Spanish word for it, which neither of us can remember)…

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The horses were amazing – feisty, fiery and nifty on their hooves; they hoiked us up those mountains in a jiffy. They also slipped over a fair few times (“nay” good) but, thankfully, didn’t completely go head over hooves.

I’ve never been on a horse in the snow before. It was bloody freezing. We didn’t even have proper coats on and it was about minus five with the wind-chill (so we guessed).

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Five hours is just too long. And we didn’t have a break – not for water, food, or a wee!

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The couple who owned the gaucho ranch were… odd. Well, the bloke who took us…

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Untold

You made the promise of forever as I stood back in silence and smiled. You took her out into the sun and danced to the rhythm of applause, while my heart found comfort in your laughter, gentle as confetti raining down like tears. Don’t ask me to live in the shadows. You chose her. The ‘we’ that never was melted away.
My fingers trace patterns on your back as you pull her softly towards you, breathing in the smell of familiar skin. You once cradled my face in those hands; that kiss, those lips, that ‘I love you’ were mine. Our summer scatters into whispers – sweet nothings in the cave of her neck – and my flesh no longer sings our secret song. As a new sun rises, your touch fades. You choose her. And we collapse into a story that won’t be told.
We never said goodbye. No last embrace, no looking back – no parting kiss. And yet I can still remember the way your eyes burned into mine, and I can still feel your arms cradle me at night, the heat of your body in that empty space, the butterflies that kissed my tears away. I adored your hate and caressed your rage. We knew you were always going to choose pain. You will never be my story; six years on, I can barely speak your name.

South America, Day Seven: Patagonia, Chile

Jo Sutherland

Wow, what a day. Granted, we spent nine hours of it on a minibus – but it was well worth it for the views and sights that will be forever etched in our memories.

Today began with a road-trip like no other…

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We got picked up at 7.30am. Actually, it was later than that because nothing in Patagonia runs on time. Then we spent the best part of four hours bearing witness to the clouds and their shadows playing chase across the valleys, as we raced towards the untouchable horizon, while our road meandered along in unison with rivers. We drove across the most breathtaking scenery; mountainous terrain, marine green lagoons, turquoise lakes and every facet of nature, animals a plenty, dotted the land.

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Half way there, we had an enforced pit-stop at a coffee shop in the middle of nowhere. We bought a hot chocolate each (it was bloody…

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South America, Day Six: Patagonia, Chile

Jo Sutherland

A few snoozes on the plane later and we’re in Coyhaique, Patagonia. We arrived around lunchtime and, with our bellies gargling, jumped into a random car with a guy who just nodded and smiled when I said ‘Patagonia Hostel’, with an upwards inflection, clearly not understanding a word I said. But we jumped into the car anyway and, with the howling wind doing its very best to kill us, somehow arrived in one piece.

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The drive from the airport to the hostel was pretty damn breathtaking – and, from what we’ve heard, a sneak peek into what Patagonia might hold in store for our greedy eyes. The landscape stretches beyond the horizon, and mountains frame the picture. Cows, sheep, horses polka-dot the fields, and the wind roars through the valleys and lakes, whipping leaves, stirring waves.

The wind was very strong today. Our plane journey, in the last legs…

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South America, Day Five: Santiago, Chile

Jo Sutherland

I really, really love Santiago. It’s my kind of place! We have to be up in five hours (another plane) and we’ve had multiple terramotos (more on this later), so I’ll bid you buenas noches and I shall fill in the blanks tomorrow while we wait for our flight. #AnotherSuitcaseAnotherHall

Here’s a pic I forgot to post yesterday:

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Ok, so I’m sober now. I’m also shattered so bear with me. (Are you spotting a theme to these blog posts??)

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We went on the free walking tour of Santiago city yesterday. Our guide, Felipe, gave us a thorough overview of Chile’s history as we meandered around the streets. Despite an awful lot of building work, Santiago is such a beautiful capital. The streets hum with creativity – street performers entertain the lines of traffic when they meet a red light. Juggling acts, poi spinning and acrobatics surround cars and pedestrians…

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