Tomé to Cobquecura


sand biking
boat full of bikers
Los Tres
Standing on the furthest point of the spit of sand that pushed out in a bay, I turned to Christian.
"Impossible," I said. We looked at the river, more of a lagoon really, with crashing waves about 30m wide. And, having a track record with rivers, I knew it was out of the question.

The most dissappointing aspect of this was that we (myself and 3 Chilean hardnut cycletourists) had spent a good 2 hours riding our bikes through cow fields, carrying them over fences, and pushing them through loose sand. And now it looked as if we would have to repeat the journey in reverse.

I should have known not to trust these guys as the previous night their "tent" had turned out to be little more that a few bits of tree and some transparent plastic sheets. They did have a guitar, a drum and some shakers. So we built a fire and had a sing-song.

But then we'd continued on our way and realised that the bridge was a 20km detour inland. Nevermind, I thought. But these guys were built of stuborn stuff. When we reached some little yellow fishing boats we considered stealling one, but decided against it.

After pushing the bikes back, tediously, through the sand we found a group of fishermen at the boats. We asked for a lift and they agreed. It took for people to load my bike aboard and then I jumped on and off we went. Two eager Chilean lads did the rowing. Hard work I imagine.

On the other side of the river I hopped off and they went and set their nets before picking up the Chileans. After another 40mins of pushing through san we reached the pitiful excuse for a road. The coastscape here is incredible with amazing little sany coves. The downside is that between each smugglers bay is bookended by a crazy steep descent and crazy steep climb.

We reached Cobquecura and plonked ourselves down in the Plaza de Armas. There were some table-football tables so we had a game or two. Then we saw a poster for a band called "Los Tres", that the Chileans told me were fantastic, playing that night. So we found someone's backyard to camp in. At first 1000 pesos but then the owner liked us so let us stay for free. There were a bunch of kids camping there drinking wine and coke ("jote") and playing loud reggaeton from an SUV that I blocked in with my tent.

Los Tres were interesting. Think Dad Rock: Rolling Stones leaning towards Status Quo with a bit of Chilean folk thrown in for good measure. But the crowd was awesome. They knew, and sang, every word to every song, danced, jumped around, shouted, screamed and this made the atmosphere electric. It was a big gig for a small town and everyone was there from 1o year olds to grandmothers, and they all seemed to be having a whale of a time. It cost 1000 pesos for a ticket but my Chilean friends negociated it down to 800, about 1 pound. Then we went back to the campsite to whip up a bbq and cook some longanisa (sausages) and make sandwiches with them choripan.

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