Sunday, February 22, 2009

Looking a gift-chair-lift in the mouth

Unsurprisingly after my carnivorous exertions of the previous night (okay, and the wine) I didnĀ“t make it up for breakfast on Sunday either, appearing from my cocoon around 2 in the afternoon. At this point, I met one of the new arrivals at the hostel, an Irishman (not exactly a surprise - due to the owners and word-of-mouth I reckon at least 40% of the guests at Pudu were probably Irish) known variously as Jay, JP or Joseph Patrick, with whom I elected to get some exercise that afternoon by heading out west of town and climbing Cerro Campanario.

This latter was a fairly surprising choice given that (a) I was still metabolising about half a cow and 3 fields' worth of grapes, (b) I'm lazy and (c) there was a chairlift. Well, we both had a fit of the bravado and uttered something along the lines of "Hah, chairlift, who needs one of those?" and set off up the hill/mountain. About 5 minutes into the climb, I started to regret this decision. About 20 minutes in, I was cursing with what little spare breath I had. By just over 30 minutes, I staggered up to the cafe and viewpoint at the top of the hill, doing my famous impression of an asthmatic camel, and vowing that I would not be so stupid in future as to look a gift-chair-lift in the mouth. However, my good spirits returned fairly quickly, helped by the combination of clear mountain air, wonderful views, and a large slice of chocolate cake from the cafe.

Continuing our theme of foolhardiness, we decided not to pay for the chairlift down either, and instead scrambled back down, which was probably a bit dumb of me considering my occasional knee issues, but luckily we made it without any mishap, and got back on the bus into town. I stayed on when JP hopped off, heading over to the Terminal to sort out my ticket into Chile, as most of the cheaper companies (i.e. the Chilean ones) did not do internet or phone bookings. Luckily, one of the companies still had a ticket office open at 8pm on a Sunday (not the most sensible of times to go searching for a ticket, in restrospect) so I was able to sort that out and head back to the hostel, where I ate the remainder of my pasta bolognese from Friday night and had a quiet couple more beers. That evening I actually went out to explore town a bit more, but again, Sunday night wasn't really the best time to do this, so ended up spending much of the time in a little place called the South Bar, drinking more microbrew beer and arguing football with a couple of Brasilian lads and 3 Argentine girls from the hostel where I was gratified that, for once, my loud assertions that Maradona couldn't be the world's best player because he was a dirty little cheat and a coke fiend found a willing audience in the Brasilians...