Jack's travelblog

San Juan – Dakar 2017 is almost here

Wednesday 11 January. It’s starting to get light. We drive along the highway between endless green fields of bushes and small trees. In the background some mountains. Occasionally a cow and a small farmhouse. Near San Juan there are wine fields. It stays green, although I expected a sandy dry surrounding. I check in in the hotel a luckily they only speak Spanish. But we manage. The tourist information in the centre is very helpful. At least one of the ladies speaks English. There should be a possibility to join a ‘tour’ to the nearby Dakar viewpoint, but the agency is closed till five. There is a lot more to see in San Juan and I get all the options. The weather is good, sunny and 40 C, so stay in the shade. My training of last year, 9 month in heat, pay off. First a small museum about famous local lady, than a gallery of pictures of the result of the big earth quake 70 years back. Luckily the streets have trees at both sides. Better. Only crossing the street is sunny. Teatro del Bicentenario is a modern architectural statement. Auditorio Juan Victoria is form the seventies. The outside not my cup of tea, but the interior is stylish seventies. The lady is so kind to unlock the door of the theatre inside. Very cool to see.

At six I try the agency, but it’s still closed. Back to tourist information and they call another one. They pick up the phone and it seems possible to join a tour. I have to go there to arrange it. Well walking a little bit more wouldn’t hurt. At the bus station I find the agency and the lady tells me that she is not sure. She has to call someone. 10 minutes ago there was the call… Yes, but… She will call my hotel and let me know. At 9 o’clock she phones and there is an option. Yes. Some Argentinian guy will pick me up at the hotel tomorrow morning and bring me to the Dakar spot. (for 1000 pesos). I leave the room to go for some diner and run into four Dutch, girlfriend, brother, father of participant of the Dakar rally. Team Scania Top Trucks is followed all the way by the family. They just arrived from La Paz and are afraid the tomorrow stage will not start. Because a lot of service trucks are still driving through the mountains. About 1100 km’s on heavy dirt road. They have a beer for the night and I go for diner. Hope tomorrow they will start and will pass the viewpoint. We shall see.

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