Cycling Chile/Argentina '04 | Torres del Paine Index Day 9 Day 11
      Day 10: Camp Pehoe, Torres del Paine We are taking water !

We woke up to a completely different world from yesterday as if an evil spell cast upon us had been cleared. It was brilliantly sunny with no wind at all. Across our campsite next to Lake Pehoe, silky white clouds gently caressed the picture-perfect Cuernos del Paine (Horns of Paine).

To us, it was a well-deserved rest day. There was nobody else at the campsite. Outside the small kiosk where the camp host stayed, the price board caught my attention. The first line was camping, one price; the second line, camping + 10 tacos, another price. They have tacos?! Before the trip, I imagined there would be a lot of Mexican food in Chile and even convinced Brian not to eat any months before we came here so he would not be bored with it. But we haven't seen any Mexican food, not even a simple chips and salsa. So what are the odds of finding some tacos at a small campground in a national park? Well, not very good. The camp host looked puzzled as we asked him if we could buy some tacos for lunch later - he had onions cooking on the stove and it smelt quite mouth-watering. But he had no tacos for us, only cookies and biscuits and some beverages. He also told us the name of the burrs (cadillo) Brian fell on the day before.

We took a hot shower (yes, they do have hot water!) after a big breakfast and then sat around our campsite watching birds flying over for some morning pickings. A bold one even learned to take nuts from our hand.

And we had other visitors as well - cats. One caught me totally by surprise when I was climbing into the tent; it was sitting on my sleeping bag and staring right at me! Out relaxing by the picnic table, Brian heard me scream and thought I stepped on a cobra. So later, whenever we saw a cat trying to sneak in, we sprayed it with our water bottles. They learned pretty fast this was simply saber rattling and we were harmless.

The rest of the day, Brian tuned-up to his bike and tried to fix my trip computer. It had been behaving strangely since we started in Natales -- showing nothing between 25KM and 33KM/hour.

Our dinner was quite a feast - sandwich with fresh tomato and avocado, pasta with cheese, and warm milk with cookies for dessert. It was pay-off time for carrying that ridiculous load across the "land of the Milodon".

I fell asleep to a beautiful starry night only to be pushed awake by Brian a couple of hours later. It was starry night no more. Instead, pouring rain for the past 2 hours had started to soak into our tent, an old warrior of many of our cuspy trips. With me barely, or rather, struggling not to be, awake, Brian single-handedly took on the mission of stopping our boat from sinking. He stuffed everything into dry bags, taped up small leaks on the tent wall, and even ran out into the rain to add a tarp to cover our tent. (Okay, Brian, it was a lot more dramatic than this.)

With everything going on like a fire-drill and water dripping on my face, I couldn't sleep anymore. The tent was drenched. Could all this be from making fun of the Milodon and spraying the cats?

Finally, after we had finished doing everything we could short of abandoning ship, the rain stopped, as if playing a big joke on us. We fell back asleep exhausted but comfortable. In fact, we were so comfortable that we totally ignored our plan for the next day.

Index Day 9 Day 11