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It was great to be in Santiago Airport again! We worked our way through the snake of people queuing for immigration, picking up our luggage and seeing Andres Gabor waiting to greet us at the exit gate. I (and many of the other European Cactus travelers) have used Andres’ company LYS Rent-a-car since 2003 (credit to Brendan Burke for recommending him after we had less success with the rental car from a different provider in 2001.)

Andres greets us and treats us to breakfast at the airport – a lot more civilized than picking up your rent-a-car at other international airports.

And so, around noon, we set off, this time without my SatNav! I had picked up the wrong one at home – the one with USA and Mexico data, rather than the South American on. So I missed the turning on Vespuchi to R5 – El Norte, but soon found a retorno to correct the matter.

From the airport, Ruta 5 – the PanAmerican Highway – runs inland heading north. Around Longotoma, some 200 km after leaving the airport, the road turns west and comes down a couple of hundred meters to the Pacific Ocean. Since 2001 it has been a tradition to burst into song as soon as we see the Ocean. First with that popular tune ‘Oh I do love to be beside the seaside’. As the waves appeared, Ian Thwaites, Al Laius, Angie and I burst into song, followed by the chorus of Cliff Richard’s hit from the 1960s ‘We’re all going on a Summer Holiday! I would have mimicked, the Hank B. Marvin guitar solo, had it not been for the fact that I was driving. *

One stop, S3797 at Los Molles, the type locality of Eulychnia castanea. Lots of new tourist development here, at the expense of the plants!

I was not feeling too well, so we went to Hotel Nautica where after five years away I was still recognised by the elderly owners. I presume that it was her daughter who was supporting them and spoke good English. While I had a cup of chicken noodle soup and a rest, Ian and Al found the rocks on the beach and the three taxa of Eriosyce that grow there: E. curvispina, E. chilensis and E. subgibbosa. The light was past its best, but we could always go back the next day!

  • As a bit of padding today, I thought I’d add the complete lyrics to ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’ so that Ian Woolnough’s party can follow the tradition. Ian and Al must have misunderstood as several days later they still burst out into song every time they see the sea!
  • Ian is considering to make this the BCSS Theme song, to be song before every UK branch meeting, or did I get that wrong!? 🙂

‘Everyone delights to spend their summer’s holiday
down beside the side of the silvery sea.
I’m no exception to the rule, in fact, if I’d my way,
I’d reside by the side of the silvery sea.

But when you’re just a common or garden-working lad like me,
a chance to see the sea is quite a novelty.
I save up all the money I can while winter’s grim and grey
Then off I run to have some fun where the balmy breezes play

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside!
I do like to be beside the sea!
Oh I do like to stroll along the Prom, Prom, Prom!
Where the brass bands play, “Tiddely-om-pom-pom!”

So just let me be beside the seaside!
I’ll be beside myself with glee
and there’s lots of girls beside,
I should like to be beside, beside the seaside,
beside the sea!

Timothy went to Blackpool for the day last Eastertide
To see what he could see by the side of the sea.
As soon as he reached the station there the first thing he espied
Was the wine lodge door stood open invitingly
Grinning to himself, he toddled inside and called out for a wine
Which grew to eight or nine, till his nose began to shine.
Said he ‘What people see in the sea, I’m sure I fail to see’
Then he caught the train back home again and to his wife said he

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside!
I do like to be beside the sea!
Oh I do like to stroll along the Prom, Prom, Prom!
Where the brass bands play, “Tiddely-om-pom-pom!”

So just let me be beside the seaside!
I’ll be beside myself with glee
and there’s lots of girls beside,
I should like to be beside, beside the seaside,
beside the sea!

William Sykes the burglar he’d been out to work one night
filled his bags with jewels, cash and plate.
Constable Brown felt quite surprised when William hove in sight.
Said he, “The hours you’re keeping are far too late.”
So he grabbed him by the collar and lodged him safe and sound in jail.
Next morning looking pale, Bill told a tearful tale.
The judge said, “For a couple of months I’m sending you away!”
Said Bill, “How kind! Well if you don’t mind, Where I spend my holiday!”

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside!
I do like to be beside the sea!
For the sun’s always shining as I make my way,
And the brass bands play, “Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay”

So just let me be beside the seaside!
I’ll be beside myself with glee
and there’s lots of girls beside,
I should like to be beside, beside the seaside,
beside the sea! ‘

It was written in 1907 by John A. Glover-Kind and made famous by music hall singer Mark Sheridan who first recorded it in 1909.

The song It was, for a long time, used as a signature tune by Reginald Dixon MBE, who was the resident organist at the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool between 1930-70. For more detailed information, not related to cacti, check out the Wikipedia entry for the song title and you’ll be amazed!

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