Cycling Chile/Argentina '04 | Puerto Natales Index Day 5 Day 7
      Day 6: Puerto Natales Got Bike Shop?

We got up at 9AM. Both of us were not feeling very well, Brian especially. Jefe didn't expect us to be up that early and rushed out of his room to prepare breakfast for us. Chilean breakfasts typically are nothing special, but we liked his blueberry jam - dark and thick like a tar but very tasty.

We hit the streets around 11AM and nothing seemed to be open. We walked over to a pharmacy and saw a couple of people inside behind the locked security gate. When we finally caught their attention, one of them motioned to us it'd be opening soon. So, we went on to an internet café to gather more information about the border crossing to Villa O'Higgins. We explained the situation to the store manager and asked her to call for us. We knew it would be helpul having someone fluent speak to the boat operator, but nobody was there. She was told to call back in the afternoon.

The pharmacy was still not open when we returned, so we went to find a new bike pump. We got directions from everyone to everywhere but we found nothing. The only thing we found was how to become an expert in asking for a pump - or 'bombin' in Spanish. We thought we finally had it when we stopped a cyclist on the street and he redirected us 4 blocks in another direction. Again...there was no bike shop. For the next 2 hours, we were moved like chess pieces across the grids of downtown Natales while a taxi driver, a school boy, a woman from an outdoor clothing shop, two more cyclists and a group of carabineros (police) gave us different directions.

Finally, we found the only bike shop by pure luck. The shop owner was very helpful and gave us a lot of information about the road to Torres del Paine and El Calafate. We got a hand pump for 3850 peso (1 dollar = 550 peso on street vs. 620 in a bank). On our way out, we ran into a German cyclist named Chris. He was working his way to Calafate and the first cyclist we met going our direction (north). We made plans to meet again and talk tomorrow. He had spent 8 days in Paine and nearly as many in Natales. We weren't sure if we were going to ride or take a bus there.

Back at the hotel, we took a much needed nap. By the time we got up, it was already dark. We took another walk out on the street and this time, the pharmacy was open! Not sure what kind of hours they were keeping, but it seemed like we had a better chance of finding anything open at 8PM than 10AM. Inside, Brian stocked up on tissues and cold medicine he had been desperately seeking all day.