This description is by Lawrence (Loz) and Dave (Daveeed) with added maps  and editorial comments 

 May 7, 2007. Hola!

Following the phenomenal success of Seven Days of Gays on Trays, two of the erstwhile trayers (namely the two who spent most time as pricks with sticks, flo et daveeed) will be embarking on a six week journey from tip-to-tail of Chile. Departure is currently t+174 days and detail will be added as we both approach the date and work out what the hell we’re doing.

 October 26, 2007.3 Days to go...

Well, haven’t really updated this in a while, but the date is nearly upon us, so soon we’ll be off! Flights are booked, jeep is (probably) awaiting us, and generic music devices have been loaded and charged. If only we’d packed yet…

 October 30, 2007.BA to BA

So we´ve reached South America, which is the intelligent person's choice of start point in Risk. Due to some booking randomness we were upgraded to Premium Economy by British Airways. So cheers for that BA! Sadly, their entertainment system is still about 2 decades old, they have an in-seat power system with a completely abnormal jack (and no adaptors) and their food still suuuucks. But otherwise it was a fairly reasonable flight (as far as fifteen hours of being cooped up in a giant metal tube ever can be). [ Us old hands who took 36 hours to BA think you were lucky!]
Anyway, Buenos Aires now. I´m a gona find me some steak.

 November 1, 2007. Arica (3 days)

Well, steak was had in Buenos Aires and very nice it was too. Then flew off the next morning to Arica via Santiago. So we´re finally in Chile! Arica´s an interesting place - it´s not run down, it feels more like it was run down and is trying to improve things.

Last night was Halloween, so the town centre was packed with kids and waitresses decked out in all manner of appropriately supernatural outfits. One of these excited Dave so much he just had to spill his Pisco Sour all over me. Cheers Dave.

Anyway, yesterday being Halloween makes today All Souls Day - so nothing was open in town pretty much. Apart from three Pharmacies next to each other. Also, if there’s a supermarket in this town we haven’t found it yet. Irritatingly, the tourist information office, which could have answered our numerous questions was also shut. So there was nothing for it but to head to the beach and relax with a book and a beer. The trials of life, eh?

Tomorrow we pick up the jeep. Or, ‘El Jeepo’, potentially.

 

Arica (3 days)

Last Updated by David on Nov 6

Buenos Aires was cool but this is where it all starts. First stop Hotel Savona,Arica.  

Plan to chill here for a couple of days before picking up some wheels and
heading towards the Altiplano [high plateau] for some llama hunting and volcano spotting.

It is el scorchio at the moment - 20 degrees but feels like 21,000. Think that's the tropical bit so plenty of sunny needed.

Get directions

 

View of Arica from El Morro

El Morro (the promontory)

Lawrence with Arica Harbour in the background

View of Arica port

The inevitable statue of Bernardo OHiggins

Church in Arica

Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme(1778-1842) South American,  independence leader, was one of the commanders – together with Jose de San Martin – of the military forces that freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence   Although he was the second Supreme Director of Chile (1817–23), O'Higgins was the first holder of this title to head a fully independent Chilean state.

 November 2, 2007. El Jeepo

Well, we’ve got ourselves a jeep. Expecting anything from a beaten up old Toyota through to, well, a Fiat Punto, we were extremely pleasantly suprised with a brand spanking new shiny red Suzuki Gran Vitara. Shame about the 3 mile high yellow letters saying ‘rob us, we’re gringos’.Anyway, up to the Altiplano and quieter pastures tomorrow. Arica’s been ok, but is a bit dull. Came alive a touch more today, but still it’s clearly a town at odds with where it’s going.

Putre and Parinacota await. We have many photos, sadly most of the computers we’ve been using are unaware of the concept of a USB port. But soon....

 November 6, 2007. Enter Shakira

OK, so after a brief examination of its appropriate attributes it became clear that El Jeepo was in fact La Jeepa. As she is to be our travelling companion for another 4 weeks it’s clear she needs a name. She doesn’t quite have the raw grunt and arse of a Beyonce, but she’s nippy around corners and flicks her hips out nicely to avoid pot holes. That added to her red-hot latin nature and the big ‘S’ on the front meant there was clearly only one choice - and Shakira was christened.

 November 6, 2007.Parque Nacional Lauca

Lauca is a stunning place. We stayed in Putre just outside the park in a really nice little hostel. The whole town was very small, but seemed far more friendly and well set up for tourists compared to Arica. At 3500m though, it took a bit of adjusting to! Our first act, intelligently, was to head even higher and we went for a short trek around Parinacota at 4500m. We met a nice Dutch couple there, our first English conversation in 4-5 days! The scenery is really stunning. The drive up from Arica takes you from a dusty run-down ocean tow, through desolate mountainous desert up to an incredible landscape pitted with volcanoes, lakes, vicuñas and lush grass.
 A meal of mystery meat and rice set us up the next day to go and wander around a laguna filled with ducks and stunning views of the neighbouring Volcan Parinacota. Sadly by this time the altitude started to get the better of us and rest and lots of water were required to combat the headaches.
We were massively tempted to then drive through the altiplano to the salt lakes and valcanic parks further south, but the combination of the risk of this (very few places in Chile actually have petrol stations, so you often have to carry around extra and you always fill up at every opportunity) and the need to head to sea level pushed us back to Arica and on the way to Iquique.

Putre (2 days)

Last Updated by David on Nov 6

After a few days resting up in Arica we headed to Putre (approx 3500m above sea level). A quiet little village which was to be our base for trips to the Parque Nacionale de Lauca.

On arrival we drove up to Parinacota (approx 4500m) and wandered around the lagunas meeting a group of wandering llamas. The views of Volcan Parinacota (approx 5800m) were amazing.

The second day we travelled to Lago Chungara where you got a much closer view of Volcan Parinacota. When we arrived the water´s edge was still frozen as temperatures drop to about -5C overnight. In the distance you could see wisps of smoke rising out of one of the neighbouring volcanos.

Road to Volcan Parinacota

Volcan Parinacota

Volcan Parinacota

Parinacota house

Can you tell your alpacas (Loz) from your  llamas (Dave)?

An Alpaca is approx 1-2 feet shorter  than a Llama and has straight ears compared to .the llama which has banana shaped ears. Any the wiser?

An "official" Unshorn Alpaca

Llama

Vicunas and close up of section of photograph.

Jesus bird [so named because it appears to walk on water] and detail  

Lawrence (still in his Bath Rugby shirt!) & Dutch couple