One of the most exciting aspects for me in particular regarding our adventure was that it was my first time across the Atlantic Ocean – in fact, it was my first journey into a significantly different time-zone. So, when by our third evening in Chile I still hadn’t suffered any apparent symptoms of jet-lag it made me sceptical about the whole concept. That evening, following our long bus journey from Santiago, we were spending the night in the coastal city of Antofagasta before catching our next ride to Calama the following afternoon. Dido was still sort of vegetarian in those days (she ate some fish) and often got a craving for pasta, and as luck would have it, our Lonely Planet guide recommended an Italian restaurant as being the best place in town. After almost a day on a coach eating nothing but snacks, we were both ravenous and ordered extra large portions of pasta and we must have been about half-way through our respective plates of spaghetti when I was struck by an acute attack of something known as “delayed jet-lag”. The last thing I remember was feeling as if I’d been given a sudden heavy dose of anesthetic gas. Then, the next thing I knew, I was staggering into the street with my arm over Dido’s shoulder with Bolognese sauce all over my face. According to my mortified wife, I had fainted head-first into my pasta, and the maitre d, assuming I was drunk demanded that we leave – immediately…

7 Jetlag


We had one night in Calama to kill before catching another bus to our final destination the next day, San Pedro de Atacama. Following our expensive dining fiasco of the previous evening, Dido opted for a hostel described as “modest” even by our Lonely Planet Guide. Perhaps, because it was called Residencial Splendid, we hoped that it might not be all that bad, which only goes to show that one should never be deceived by a mere name. The Splendid was utterly awful. The rooms were filthy and more like prison cells than holiday accommodation and as for the state of the bathrooms – well, I’ll leave that to the reader’s imagination. But by far the worst feature of our night at the Splendid, was the bed itself – a grubby, smelly, piece of foam rubber, suspended in a steel bed-frame, devoid of support of any kind. The picture below describes exactly what happened when we got into bed, and that our extreme discomfort was accentuated by the fact that during the night icicles formed from the light and on the metal window grates due to the freezing desert night air of Calama…

8 Residencial Splendid - in name only!


The breakfast turned out to be about as “Splendid” as the sleeping arrangements. As we took our table in the dingy breakfast room we were confronted with a pot of hot water, a jar of instant coffee and two slices of dry toast. When I asked the lady of the establishment – a stocky little woman with unkempt greasy grey hair, a cigarette stub apparently glued to her lower lip, and wearing a grease splattered pinny –  if there was any butter, she grunted in the affirmative. Then, to my amazement and horror, she went over to the neighbouring table where an elderly man in a dressing-gown was eating his breakfast and took the piece of toast from his hand, picked up his knife and scraped all the butter she could from it. She then came back to us and spread his butter scrapings onto my toast…

9 Splendid breakfast included

3 thoughts on “CHILE – OUR REAL CARTOON ADVENTURE (part 3 of 11)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.