Things to do when stranded in San Pedro

So, the weekend was spent in the backyard of the wicked house camping in a broken Ramone. What to do? There’s not much to do in San Pedro it self, other than planning excursions and tours, and eating at cafés (most places won’t serve you alcohol without you eating as well, due to a regulation to combat drunken disorderliness). We walked around window shopping for ideas on what to do, and as mentioned in a previous post, there is no shortage in tour agencies. They all offer pretty much the same though, and there isn’t much to go on in terms of differing one to another. Tripadvisor and Lonely Planet can be of some help, and most of the agencies mentioned in the 2012 edition still existed as of this post (which is pretty rare!).

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The smell of a burned clutch in the morning

I have a tendency to spend nights pondering problems I have no possibility to fix (during the night atleast). So the forced camping in the mud was pretty sleepless. Lars of course slept like a baby, except when I had to crawl over him to get out and pee during the night (like, 3 times). My side door led to an ocean of brownie dough (or was that a dream?).

Finally, morning arrived. We packed some lunch, filled our hydration bladders and put on our running shoes. Sheeet, the first few kilometers was grueling (not exactly in top shape after 6000 km of driving). And there is something incredibly demoralizing in knowing that there’s 15 more to go. But, lo, is that a pick up truck in the horizon?! The first car we had seen since leaving the main road yesterday, could we be so lucky?

It turned out to be a group of Atacameñans, the indigenous people of San Pedro, and in my very broken spanish I managed to ask if they would mind turning around and giving us a lift a few kilometers (I pulled the number 5 out of my ass) until we could get cell signal and call for help (the word “barro”, spanish for mud, was very useful here). They were incredibly kind to oblige, and sure enough, after about 5 kilometers (I know!) on road that was in much worse condition than I remembered last night, we had signal. We called Nico at the office in San Pedro and his reply when I explained that we were stuck in mud, and we needed towing back to town because of a burned clutch, was along the line of “oh, FUCK!”, very reassuring, let me tell you.

But it didn’t take more than about 20 minutes before Esteban, the other Wicked employee in San Pedro showed up in a tiny Subaru Jimny, with a tow bar sticking out the side window (with it’s 1.2 meters it was too long to fit inside the car). I was mildly skeptical, but Esteban simply smiled and nodded, and seemed completely confident that this little car would definitely save the day. And it did! It took some digging, tugging, pushing, and more digging, but finally Ramone was loose! Then commenced the some 30 km towing of shame back to “the Wicked house”, which I guess is just the house were Esteban lives.

Of course, it was a Saturday, and a new clutch disc had to be ordered, so all we could do was scrap all our plans and settle in for the weekend in San Pedro. Not exactly as planned… (but when is it ever?) Still, pretty nice to have stable sand beneath our wheels, even if they aren’t moving for the foreseeable future.

stuck in the Atacaman desert

help has arrived

tow of shame, back to San Pedro