Thursday, July 21, 2005

From Arica to Santiago overland

I just take a long long ride, driving from Arica, my town, to Santiago , 2050 Km. away down south.

Two and half days driving, two days in Santiago and then come back to Arica, It was crazy but I had made the same trip many times ago so It was not so hard to me. If you want to see some of our crazy geography and my adventures clic here to see the pics I made along my trip.

North of Chile is not a "nice" place, as a typical touristic expects. It is incredilbly dry, arid, wild and desolate. Humans fell dwarf in front of the huge nature. There are small mining tonws and many ghost towns along the way to Antofagasta, then miles and miles of "nada" just desert and desolation up Copiapó. Then landscape turns gradually green and thing are at a human scale again. There is a shocking contrast between the giant desierto and the civilized Zona Central


DCveR said...

Wow, what a ride!
Me and Goof Half sometimes like to drive around for a couple of days, it's a great way to relax if you don't have a schedule to keep nor actually need to go some place.
I love to drive without a destination.

Tomas Bradanovic said...

We used with Pilar -years ago- take long rides for holidays, north of Chile is very long and you may drive hundred miles without see any human being, once our car was broken in middle of the nigth in desierto, 40 km away of the nearest inhabited point (Oficina victoria), it was terrific!

"Turismo aventura" lot of adventure an few turismo haha!

DCveR said...

But you usually get better memories and greater stories to tell, if you survive that is...

Tomas Bradanovic said...

Sure! Ive a lot of weird stories along the road, this make me feel the trip shorter!

Anonymous said...

Hola Tomas
I like driving too. Unfortunately in Japan the highways are very crowded and you have to pay a fortune in toll booth fees. Por ejemplo, fro my home in Kyoto to Osaka 67 kilometers away it costs about $55.00 in fees, you can take cheaper routes but they are much slower. You can even do it for free if you have a lot of spare time. Maybe with Global Warming this high cost of driving is ok; anything to keep cars off the road is fine for the environment.
When I got married in Santiago my ife and I rented a Nissan March for six weeks and that was our honeymoon! It was great; from Santiago to Iquique and back down to Puerto Montt. Fresh bread, lots of cheese and excellent Chilean wine! How could life be any better? Hey, we met some great people. Those good Chilean highways, cheap gas (1988) and empty highways; Valparaiso, Ovalle, La Serena,Copiapo, Chanaral, Antofagasta, Tocopilla and Iquique. Beautiful country, warm people, good food, it was a dream on wheels. It's impossible to do that in Japan without very deep pockets. No, it's a different world here amigo. Don't you think that kind of long drive is dying out because of gas prices and the ecology makes it a litte difficult to do with out feeling some guilt? I cycled from Catagena, Columbia to Lima, Peru once; I was much younger then but I would like to do something like that again. But a car is so much more comfortable; no, my wife would never do it on a bicycle. Anyway, I like that kind of car culture that is supported by workshops like Rectificadores in Arica. In Japan the sophistication of the car culture is such that those kinds of shop no longer exixt. People don't repair motors here they replace the entire unit. There are no more t.v. repair shops either because of many reasons, but again people just buy a new t.v.! This is the great sad thing about engineered obsolescence; craftsman disappear for lack of work and small shops like your friend the Rectificadore go out of business. I love Chilean hardware stores for the same reason; you can find things that have long disappeared from the shelves in Canada, Japan or the U.S. I think many people long for simpler days of more human contact and less sophistication.

Tomas Bradanovic said...

Hola John!

Well, since your departure from Chile many roads had become toll, sad to say but in Santiago there are two kind of streets which is a mess for us, from province, who go there in our car because you need to contract with the road concesionary, to install an electronic device who mark your passing, etc.

The road to south is also a boredom 4-lane higway almost straigth from Santiago to Puerto Montt, you must pay toll also but there are the alternative of the old winding roads.

The higway to north is only to La Serena, from this point to Arica is the same old road tru desert (Chañaral to Antofagasta), the coast (Antofagasta-Iquique) and then to the desert (Iquique-Arica). Well, you know well this road. From La Serena to Arica the road is free.

Here in our small north town things are easier: you can drive old carburated cars (like my Mitsubishi Colt 1981) with no guilt complex: we are very few so the enviromental damage is almost null, the problem with the ecology is not the emision itself but the crowds: when too many people is crowded in a small space things worse, this happen in Santiago by example where the emision rules has to be very strict!

Fron Cartagena to Lima in a byke!! Gosh I dont even imagine that, well I never learned to drive a byke also!

I am a big fan of car restoration, and if I had more money I think I would trow all fixing old cars and building homes (my other mania, construction), the best is -as you said- we are not yet in the disposable culture, we still fix old things and I agree with you, that is a lot of fun!

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Anonymous said...

I love this story. I especially love how most of the pictures are taken our of the front windshield with the car hood on the bottom. Classic!

Tomas Bradanovic said...

Thank you anonimous! I just made the same trip with a friend but non-stop, driving during 19 hours! I will publish the pics soon