Entry #8

Sean’s first poem of the trip:

Today I fart without fear.
For yesterday I was afraid
more than gas would appear.

Thank the Lord for Cipro (cirofloxin)!!

I left Bolivia for San Pedro, Chile on Thursday and upon arrival B-lined it for the Valley of the Moon for sunset.

Now San Pedro is a tourist town and reminds me a lot of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s small with a lot of bohemian people wandering around, with funky restraints and art stores selling hippie clothing. After returning from the sunset over the Valley of the Moon I thought it would be nice to have a real dinner, steak and a salad, at a hip and trendy restaurant...money would be no worry. (To give you and idea of how expensive the place was my hotel cost $8 and the meal was $20...translated to Boston prices that would be $150 steak and salad.)

It’s a general traveling rule of thumb that somewhere around 75% of people that get food poisoning get ill from lettuce that has been washed in contaminated water.
But this place was super swanky and packed to the gills with locals and tourists, and the whole town had a touch of the first world, so surely this place was clean and safe for a salad, right? I must have been delusional from the desert heat.

Long story short, by the end of dinner my body had told me I had enough. In the early morning, I was awoken by blood curdling screams coming from my intestines. By mid-day, I had used all the baby wipes I had packed for my entire trip. In the afternoon, I crawled to the internet cafe to look on the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) website to see how to treat amoebas and parasites of the intestines. Shortly after that, I stumbled in a haze to the local hardware store-(that is where they sell drugs in Chile)- and for $4 I bought Cipro- (the same stuff you take when you have Anthrax). 36 hours later I am glad to say I can fart without fear.

Currently, I am in Calama, Chile where the only thing to see is a large open pit copper mine...one of the largest in the world. Since today is the last of the three days celebrating Chile’s independence, everything is closed. Unfortunately, I was sick through most of the festivities, and I was only able to crawl to the front door of my hostel to catch the tail end of the two parades that went past, so I can’t say I really took part in the festivities. The most excitement I had was watching 2 Chilean moives in the court yard of the hostel, one which seemed pretty good but I didn't understand because it was in Spanish. It was a really nice Hostel near the bus station. Across the open lot where they had the festivities for the weekend. ( Note: If you are traveling to San pedro make sure you bring an Visa and MasterCard , because the ATM only takes one and there is only one ATM in town. I saw numerous travelers who had to ask(AKA beg) for $2 for the bus from people who earn about $2 a day so they could get to the next city that had an ATM. I was amazed to see the poor people actually helping out the rich traveler kid who was ungrateful or unaware of how much of a sacrifice these people were making to help them out. They were just excited to get on the bus to the next ATM)

I had some "typical Chilean" food last night as I was feeling better, but I don’t know what it was (a pastry of some sort), but in San Pedro, a tourist town, they just tell everyone everything is "typical Chilean" so that you’ll buy it and eat it without question.

Off to Santiago for a day. . .and then to Rio!


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