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Today was always going to be a driving day – 524 km. What goes up (north) must come down (south), so with ticks in just about every box on Angie’s wish list she was a happy bunny. There was just one empty box left – the rocks at Pichidangui, which Ritter called Neoporteria heaven – I guess Eriosyce heaven these days, with E. (Horridocactus) curvispina, E. (Horridocactus) chilensis ssp albidiflora and E. (Neoporteria) subgibbosa all growing on the rocks where the Ocean waves break, alongside Eulychnia castanea. And that is where Angie and her camera are right now, while I’m writing up today’s Diaries, adding to her thousands of images from here since 2003, when it was the first cactus stop on her first trip to Chile.

Bart & Marijke should note that the main access road to town is getting a new coat of asphalt, so that today a Devisio was in operation, sending all traffic along the back way, where those living along the main road park their cars and have large gardens.

We’re staying in Hotel Rosa Nautica where Cliff, Leo & Juan & I stayed in 2007 after our trip to Lake Torca in the south.

So much for where we are. The drive today was all Ruta 5, in fog or through a tunnel with the clouds touching the hills around us. Even if there had been cacti to photograph, they would have looked miserable, as would we, because with the fog, the temperature was down too.

2013-10-19 S2860

We did stop at the Lider hypermarket in La Serena, to top up on provisions and for me to see if I could get a lead to connect my iPod’s headphone socket to the auxiliary input socket of the formidable (but silent) car Hi-Fi system. Jonathan, if you read this, could you buy such a lead? (CANCEL THAT – SOLVED ON SUNDAY). The Hi-Fi also takes CDs, in case you want to bring some of those. I’ve been starved of my music for a week now! I can see a smile appear on Cliff’s face as he has suffered my personal jukebox with some 28,000 tracks more than others. There is always a groan when yet another Frank Zappa track comes on, but I also have fair selection of his Pink Floyd favourites and the whole car has in the past shaken as we spent several hours on a Beatles greatest hits session (not to forget the Electric Light Orchestra for Alain & Eunice).

Anyway, after much hand gesturing and dragging the salesman to the car radio display to show him an axillary input socket and then to an iPod to show him the socket there plus a walk past the headphones to show him the kind of plug that was needed (Lider sells everything, except the lead I need). Ironically I came across it during packing, but decided against bringing it and leaving with the other items often dragged half way round the world and never used. Typical!

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