Dakar a Iquique
Trip Start Oct 23, 2009
94Trip End Mar 17, 2010
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The Arrival was really impressive. Passing through Paso Alto the bus goes strait towards the horizon and down 1000m high cliffs/dunes down to the sea with an amazing view of the Ocean and Iquique, which is stuck between the cliffs and the Ocean. Arrival on time, we went strait to our first reserved hotel (reserved from Lima seeing there was the Dakar we thought it might be full). Great Hostel with barbecue, ping-pong and really soft duvets. Asked around for info about the Dakar, not much apart from a name of a beach. To get there was a mystery and we ended up having to pay 20 dollars taxi fare to get there. After a 20 min ride along the coast through the desert we see a mass of tents, trucks and flags - the ´´Bivouac´´ as they call it. Got dropped off and went to the entrance. There we were greated by two young French people (girl and a guy) who explained we couldnt visit the Bivouac but we could head over to the finish line and/or further along where the contestants ´´fly´´ down the 1000m cliff/dune. Didnt notice at first but you could see the cloud of dust as, the later to be seen at the finish line, exhausted crazed and disorientaded contestants strived to keep control of their machines descending the Ocean rimmed sand mountains. We walked up towards the course through the desert, stopping at various vantage points to witness the lunatic finish. Some, exhausted hardly pushed their machines, some, wanting to gain the extra few seconds went flying by and we saw a fair few motorbike jumps.
Trucks, quads, motorobikes and cars came flying by. Most impressive was both the small and the big, the motorbikes and the trucks. The motorbikes because you could imagine that these guys had been eating sand, absorbing shocks and some even falling the whole day. One of which broke down 500m from the line. A team mate, friend or just a benevolant contestant on quad tried to pull him the remaining distance (impossible to push the heavy bikes through the sand). After a few false starts and the incurring falls and with the help of some locals pushing he made it under the thunderous applause and encouraging chants of the crowed. The trucks on the other hand, behemoths of the competition just looked liked they could tip over at any moment which I'm sure some do. The shear size of them and speed at which they scurry through the sand is just incredible. You have to see it to believe it. We walked back towards the finish line which was maybe where we realised most of what makes the Dakar as we saw the faces of the contestants, containing both, what I though impossible to combine, complete and utter exhaustion in their face while in their eyes awe and exultation sparkeled.
Hitchedhiked back easily with some upper class Chileans in a 4x4 VW all extras included. Back in the hostel we had a banquet of a BBQ we some of the organisers of the Dakar and others.
Since then the last two days have been visiting town and its colonial houses, lying on the beach swimming in the freezing Ocean (40ª outside 17ª in the water), ping-pong, BBQ and talking with an array of travellers and locals. Tonight we head off to San Pedro our last stop in Chili before hitting Argentina.
Jeudi 7 Janvier 2010
Bus a 10h30 pour Iquique.
Iquique, station balneaire/ville entre les dunes et le Pacifique.
Les gens sont super aimables, et on sent que nous avons changé de catégorie de pays, tout est plus cher.
Hostal booked a Iquique super sympa avec BBQ.
Nous partons pour l árrivée du Dakar dans l´apres midi. Du sable, des gros
moteurs, un sport de riches et de machos donc.... mais sympa de voir
l´arrivée. Voir l´organisation d´un evenement comme ca, et voir que les visiteurs laissent leurs ordures sur les dunes...Brefm bien ou pas bien, je ne sais pas.
Stop pour rentrer car le taxi coute une fortune.
2secondes et on se retrouve a l´arriere d´un 4x4 enorme tout clean. Une famille super sympa.
BBQ le soir a l´hotel avec des francais de l´auberge (dont un cuistot qui maitrise le BBQ comme un pro).