When dogs gang up on cars. Seriously.

Trip Start Dec 21, 2009
Trip End Jul 17, 2010

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Flag of Chile  ,
Friday, April 9, 2010

The period around Good Friday was spent travelling up through Argentina's lake district to Bariloche, the nation’s chocolate capital. We stayed at Hostel Alaska, a little outside of town but run by a lovely couple and their menagerie of pets. It was here that we had one of those "small world" encounters where I was sitting on the balcony enjoying a beer and the sunshine when Liza, one of our neighbours from our apartment complex in Sydney appeared out of nowhere. There was a moment of, “What the hell are you doing here” as we recognised each other and gave each other a hug and exchanged stories. We travel 10,000kms, set up in some obscure hostel just to run into each other.

We went out to dinner of fondue and walked around the town, ending up in Mamushka, a popular chocolate store where we purchased some of the good stuff. They had chocolate monkeys, turtles, mobile phones, digital cameras, even koalas, kangaroos and of course, Easter Bunnies. As you’d expect on Easter weekend, the place was packed.

We packed a picnic lunch and spent the next day touring the attractions. We took a chairlift to a lookout point and saw why this is one of Argentina’s favourite holiday destinations and why it’s called their lake district. To burn off all of the chocolate calories we’d consumed the night before, we went on a 37km bike ride. The roads were great, the weather pleasant and the riding challenging in some parts.

Bariloche will always have a special place in my heart because I had the best steak of my entire life here. It’s a big call but El Boliche de Alberto currently holds the number one place. You can see by the pictures that these guys know their steak. Apart from their steak, everything there was made of leather, from the placemats, to the bread baskets. Even the menus were cowskin.

Another day and another border crossing, this time back into Chile and again we had to make sure that we didn’t have any plant material in our truck. We got to the town of Pucon and set up camp just outside the city. It was here that Nicole’s stomach took a turn for the worse and we decided that camping wasn’t really suitable. We tried it for a night but after throwing up all over a tree, proximity to a bathroom became a need fairly quickly.

The rest of the time was spent in recovery for Nic and I got a game of paintball in, our truck went up against another Dragoman truck that was in town. A word to the wise, if anyone ever suggests going paintballing at night, decline and decline swiftly. You don’t even have to be polite about it. It was singlehandedly the worst paintballing experience of my life. It consisted of one game which went back and forth for nearly 2 hours, we had goggles that were scratched to buggery and the areas that were lit up with spotlights only served to create glare when you glanced in their direction. The game was rife for cheating and the only way we won the game was to do so in a questionable manner (in other words, there was much debate over whether we cheated or not). On the plus side, I did manage to shoot a Dragoman leader off the other truck square in the top of the head. Not content with my headshot, I proceeded to pepper him in the arms and torso, shots that sent him well into submission. He was a great sport about it and ran back to his base in much pain.

We had a marathon drive from Pucon to Santiago, the capital of Chile. Unexpectedly, we didn’t see much of the aftermath from the earthquake that took place a few weeks before. There were some roadworks here and there and some serious cracks in the walls of our hotel room but overall, they seemed to have recovered quite well. Chile is supposed to be one of the wealthier countries in South America, so it stands to reason that any critical repairs were handled promptly. While our hotel room did have a few cracks, the floor our room was on seemed relatively sedate compared to some of the floors below. Upon visiting the rooms of our other truck members, we came across rooms that could only be described as creepy and weird. The lobby area of the floor had these weird small booths with curtains drawn, each room door had a window (why it was never explained to us) and the rooms themselves had a garish carpet on the walls. If you didn’t know any better, you would think that this was a Chilean whorehouse.

Santiago would be quite a pretty city if it wasn’t for the smog that hung around the city. We were told that on a good day, you could see the Andes surrounding the city. We gave it a chance and took a fanicula (trolley like thing for taking passengers up a hill) to the highest peak in the area. It ended up like one of those 3D pictures in a shopping centre where you’re supposed to let your eyes unfocus to see an elephant or something equally daft.

“Do you see the Andes?”

“Ummm, yeah I think so.....”

“Ummmm, oh yeah, I think I see it too.....”

“This sucks, let’s get out of here.”

Santiago was the end of a leg on our South American tour so we said goodbye to a few dear friends and said hello to new reinforcements. On our way back from dinner, a pack of stray dogs got fired up and started following alongside our group. We played it cautiously cool (travel insurance.....check, rabies vaccination......check, next of kin details in some computer database....check), before the pack of dogs attacked a car that had stopped at a set of traffic lights. Before you know it, three dogs accosted a tire each and started gnashing away. A few seconds later, all you could was the steady sound of pressurised air leaving tires and the ride height of the car getting lower and lower. We did feel kinda sorry for the young guy in his car. According to Juan (one of our leaders), young Theo excited the bitch and got the whole pack riled up. Theo still contends that we’re in no way shape or form responsible for the fate of that poor guy’s car.

It was a Saturday night and we could just imagine the conversation that guy was having with his mates:

“Hey Paulo, where are you man?”

“Dude, you won’t believe what just happened to me, a pack of dogs attacked my tires and now I have 3 flat tires....”

“Geez man, if you wanted to have a night with the girlfriend instead of hanging with the boys, you should have just said so, we would have understood.”

“Nah man, it’s not like that”

“Next time you want to lie, just say that one tire is flat. No one’s going to believe that all 3 went at the same time”

“There’s a bunch of gringos who can vouch for me, they’re in a bar across the road laughing at me”

“Enough! Just stop with the lying man!”

I wish I had some video footage or pictures to show you but I thought it wasn't very classy to take pictures of dogs attacking some poor fool's car.

In our next blog, we leave Santiago through the Andes on one of the best drive days ever, crossing the border again into Argentina, back to the land of steaks and ice cream.
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Soee on

How do you guys find the places with the hugest supersized food hotdogs, steaks, etc etc etc.
I'm impressed!! Keep it up!!!
(I think I'm hungry now)

Kylie on

I Can't beleive you ran into someone from your building back home...that is just totally crazy!!
Far out....the chocolate looks amazing...and my mouth is watering after I looked at that steak!!
Colin...how can it look like you've lost weight? That photo of you holding the hotdog...you look soo friggn skinny, I don't understand!!??

travellingtans on

Hey Steve! Always know you'll love the food pics....we just do our research and hunt out the top spots, and for the most part they've been pretty spot on.

Kylie...yep, the chocolate was awesome. Except we didn't eat it all in time and some melted :( And Colin so skinny?? You can talk!! I think it just looks like it because he hasn't been to the gym - so less muscles!

Thanks for keeping in touch guys - it's nice to hear from you both.

Nic xoxo

Kylie on

True, and I suppose alot of walking for you guys...so plenty of time to burn off those big burgers and juicy steaks :)

Loving al the pics

Kylie on

All...not al :)

travellingtans on

Yeah, but still feel like there is too much good food around not to try....looking forward to getting back to the gym!!! Glad you like all the pics - there's 1000's to choose from!

Kylie on

You MUST try everything! Food has got to be one of the main things to look forward to when you're overseas! :)
Yeah I can imagine...so many beautiful places, you don't want to miss anything...keep snapping away :)

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