dirty, tired and cold ain’t half bad

we’ve been bopping around the lakes district a bit for the past few days, and although i’m sure it’s as beautiful as reputed to be, we’ve come to the conclusion that you can really only appreciate it fully if a) you have your own transportation b) you have the cash for the cool (but expensive) tours, like volcano climbing or trekking patagonia or c) it’s warm enough to camp. unfortunately none of these are applicable, so although it’s been enjoyable enough, we’ve been a bit underwhelmed. which is why, in a fit of madness, we’ve decided to untertake 35 hours of bus journey in the next two days. this evening we hop back to santiago (15 hours), arriving early tomorrow morning. not so bad. but then at 3 that afternoon, we jump back on a bus to san pedro de atacama (20 hours) to get up to the desert region in the north.

madness, i tell you. i’m sure there will be an interesting post to follow.

a few notable milestones:

1. both j and i have now visited all continents except antarctica
2. we’ve hit the quintuple-fecta, having travelled by planes, trains, automobiles, buses, and boats.


people have asked me if this trip has made j’s and my relationship stronger, or if it has tested it to the limit. i’ve thought about that question a lot, and the truth is, i don’t think it’s been good *or* bad for it. there have been fluctuations, just like back at home – times when we’re totally on the same wavelength, or just sharing a moment. and times when we snipe and gripe like characters out of dr. seuss. there were about two straight weeks of hell at the end of fiji/beginning of nz when it seemed all we did was argue. but overall, it’s only reinforced what i already knew: j’s the one for me. i never get sick of being around him (all those of you who’ve seen “high fidelity” are excused to go retch). i never get bored with him. he can always make me laugh, and always sucker me into a debate. and most importantly, he keeps me balanced and sane. whenever i’m in danger of losing it, he reaches out and reels me back in. my even keel.

lord knows what he sees in me. but i’m more convinced than ever that i’m pretty damn lucky.


people have asked me if i’m ready to come home. and (in spite of what i said last night when i was storming around the freezing hospedaje bitching about being cold) the answer is unreservedly “no”.

i’m tired of wearing the same clothes. i’m tired of packing up every few days. i’m tired of cold showers. i’m tired of working out budgets in kip/renminbe/pesos. travelling (for those of you who’ve said you were jealous) is not all sunshine and roses. i’m not a huge fan of the lonely planet books, but they hit the nail on the head:

“the road means getting up at the crack of dawn to catch a bus… maniacally trying to guess which of the towns you keep passing through is the one you intended to visit…blissful relief when you finally arrive and find your pack still on the roof… begging children, the arduous haul to the hotel, a screaming bladder and the excitement of a new town all catapulting your mind from one emotional extreme to the next. the hotel manager says the showers are hot, but the water hitting the skin is as cold as the bottom of lake titicaca. there’s no seat on the toilet (at least the bowels are behaving)…ok, food. leave the pack in the corner, get out the map, locate the market… you get lost, your mood turns sour as your blood-sugar crashes… try to haggle but have no clue what the fruit seller is saying. you finally hand over the cash – did i just get ripped off? – and walk out to find a good place to eat. is this easy?”

still and all: at the end of the day, i’d rather be dirty, tired and cold in the middle of nowhere, than warm, clean and bored in london… because i’d be wishing i was anywhere else.

i’ll try to keep that in mind for hour 27 of the marathon bus journey. meanwhile, here’s a few of our southern pics.

see you on the other side…

One Response to “dirty, tired and cold ain’t half bad”

  1. daddio
    August 28th, 2006 03:15

    thats my girl!

    leaving for greece next week. found a lovely island called sifnos (see matt barrett’s online descriptions/pics. the mediterrian in sept…can’t wait.

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