• Patrick Wiabel

Desserts and deserts...

Updated: Dec 16, 2018

The last couple of weeks have been a transition to say the least. No longer have I been dealing with the winds and rain of Patagonia instead I have made it norte to the deserts of the Atacama the driest place in the world. The journey to get here has given me so much in return in the ways of friendship, food, and fun.

On my journey from El Chalten to Villa O'Higgins I came to know Radore and Viridiana of Mexico. Coming from the US there is always a stigmitism about the Mexican people and culture. I have never had those negative feelings towards them. I'm one to always base my feelings towards someone by the individual actions. But to even further my unbiased nature Radore told me of the way things are in Mexico. Those that have disappeared due to uprising. Those that have asked for better wages and respect yet get little to nothing in return. I'm fortunate to be able to travel with and have these moments of clarity along a journey of unsurety. Of obliviousness. Of naivety. I wish that others could see the world as I am doing and have done. But just from my interactions with these two wonderful souls I realize it is simply not that easy for others. As we traveled side by side I would simply want a coffee and to me even on the tight budget I am didn't think twice. For these two it was a choice they would have to truly compromise on. Whether they could afford it or not. This did not stop them from paying for taxis we would take together and refuse the other half of payment from me. I learned alot from them about Mexico, about the way of life in a ppl place less fortunate though not the least fortunate, and I've learned alot about myself. Once we made it to Santiago I was sad to say goodbye to my new friends but knew it would not be the last time I will see them.

In Santiago I had the pleasure of staying with a recently made friend by the name of Carolina. Being from Santiago she was able to show me the ins and outside of this massive metropolis. It was breathtaking in vastisity and its haze of smog. Yet it was truly a romantic place. Sidewalks lined with people of all class from the business man to the beggar. The parks although narrow and sparse were filled with couples of young and old kissing and cuddling. The vibe of the city was lively with hustle and bustle of the working class. I couldn't help but feel like k was seen truly as an outsider though. with my giant bag prepped and ready for the drastically different environments I would experience over the next few months. Changing from the brisk winds of Patagonia to the humid climates of Santiago to the future deserts of Egypt and the unexpected Atacama, to the beaches of Brazil and Southeast Asia, and the winter mountains of Nepal. Not to mention an extra 15 pounds of fishing gear, a pair of devil sticks, and a collapsible fire staff. needless to say it was my life on my back and I had a fear of losing it all due to my clear unbelonging. but I came to find that I had nothing to fear all the people in every place I have been so far have been accommodating if not instantly curious as to where I am from and what has brought me to their part of the world. And it's people like Carolina who took me in and Sergio from Columbia who had been volunteering at the hostel in Valparaiso for room and board for the last month (because as he told me Valparaiso was not done with him yet), that showed what it is to be in love with a place yet want so much more out of life.

Along with meeting Sergio I had a few different experiences in Valpo and Vina Del Mar. I had the most delicious desert ever called Mar Dulce at a place called El Internado in Valpariaso.

I was conned out of 24000 Chilean Pesos in Vina Del Mar by a band of gypsies(that I should have known better was happening) and missed my reservation for visiting a vineyard. but all in all this city was a collection of local and traveling youth. The streets were filled with the sound of music and laughter. the walls colored in art. the sea although cold still was crowded with spirits of playfulness. the main downtown area with it's ever busy marketplace and its vibrant parks some of stone with there youth breakdancing or riding the carasel others of flowers in bloom all had such unfamiliar and truly different scents and vibes pulling me here and there. I could not see all I wanted though. for I knew the desert called so I said goodbye to vina and valpo and made my wa uuuugh back to Santiago to head north to the calama the next morning. Carolina being the gem she was let me keep my big bags there as I explored these two cities. So I returned and met with her and a few other friends I'd make for one last night in the metro. There was no sleep for me. I was to fly at 5:30 the next morning so I packed my bags and said goodbye to Carolina and she went to bed and left at 3 AM to get to the airport. I would say goodbye to a climate my body enjoyed and put it under a test of stability.

They were not kidding when they said driest place on Earth. My nostrils would bleed and my body would crack from dehydration. I was unable to drink enough water or I would have drank the ocean dry and made the seafloor crack as my skin did. The sand would Chile as bikes or cars drove by. But all of this and the adventure continued to ancient ruins, a nighttime escape to stare at the brightest stars I'd ever seen and others I'd never seen before. But that's not where that desert left me. but I'll share more later on the next step in my adventure and your invitation to come hither.


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