Trip Start Feb 28, 2010
41Trip End May 17, 2010
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My trip there began with an overnight bus. After the first 7 hours had passed without one toilet break or snack-permitting stop, I was starving and needed to powder my something or other. When we finally stopped though, I was so worried that the bus would firstly never stop again, and secondly, drive off without me on it, that I practically speed-robbed the nearest Kiosk and decided to forgo my bathroom break. While I was standing next to the bus, legs crossed with Lays and Skittles falling from my arms, a nice guy called Miquel decided to start talking to me. After he suggested I move to the empty seat next to him on the bus, this talking didnīt stop until 2am in the morning. He was a great guy (graffiti artist from Conception that was going to Calama to, like every other guy on the testosterone laden bus, get a job mining copper), and we had a jolly good time chatting, however the reason I was on the bus in the first place was because I was so deadly ill and needed to rest
Thankfully, it was my crush who completely saved me the next morning. With no word from Keiron, and a bus that had arrived 2hours before scheduled in the bitterly cold early morning darkness that could only surround such a mining town, I had nowhere to go and was rapidly running out of strawberry flavoured tissues. Miquel organized a policeman to escort us to the cheapest accommodation in town, and after telling me I was the nicest person heīd ever met and sharing an oddly lingering and a bit too tight hug, he waved good bye. He then promised to meet me for lunch and dinner and that weīd be best friends for life. By the time I eventually checked in (at 6.30am) and crawled into bed, I never wanted to make polite conversation with another soul in my life.
By 5pm, Keiron had arrived and started answering all of Miquels calls. Miquel suddenly couldnīt understand English anymore. I wish I could write that how I spent the rest of my time in Calama couldnīt be described in words due to how extremely exciting and utterly unforgettable the experience was, but that would be a lie. For the next +-6days I had a choice of three views: the bland dampened white ceiling, the dodgy garden furniture in the concrete hotel courtyard, or my Spanish television set
Over the next decade in which I lay in my sweaty Calama bed sheets, I watch Elizabethtown, Mona lisa smile, 100 Friends episodes (including the one when Joey and Rachel hook up) and 2000 Two and a Half Men episodes. Neither that show nor Charlieīs shirts ever seem to get old. I witnessed a thousand ads for an exciting brand new series that I would never have the chance to see the premier of, considered buying a worrying amount of infomercial products, and watched loads of interesting Spanish films I didnīt understand a word of (including a rather fantastic one about the rise of the underground Graffiti movement into galleries and popular society).
All in all, my memories of Calama were heavily tainted not by drugs, sex and rock&roll, but rather by drugs, soaked tissues and up tune cleanersī iPod selections. My highlight was probably visiting the cinema, and even though I nearly collapsed on the pavement to get there, it still was an experience that no one should admit to while on an epic motorbike road trip through brilliantly third world countries.