The next morning, we both overslept, hence managed to fit in a hour of precious sleep. Simon and Francisco very graciously woke up early enough to make sure we had a cup of tea and eggs before leaving.
Instead of freshening up at Andrés' first, we went straight to the bus station to find out about my onwards passage. With this information safely obtained, we took a bus southwards to Lota - an old mining town, now in decline with the closure of the coal mine. More seasoned coal can be bought cheaper and burned for longer from Canada and Australia. No less dirtier of course.
Having already taken a tour in Potosí of a mine, and relucant to soil the last of my *clean* clothes, I opted out of the tour. Instead we took a quick walk around the city - which reminds me slightly of San José, Costa Rica, and looking in the market. Thought it might be a good time to pick up some souviner, but the quality was pretty bad.
So off to a restuarant for a dose of empanadas. The sauce wasn't quite as nice as in Tumbes, but I was happy nonetheless. Everyone else in the food hall seemed to be tucking in fried fish, with lots of lemon juice squirted over it. They had no chips though - these poor people had no idea what they were missing out on!!
Stomaches filled, we went down towards the beach - for the illegal way to enter the pretty but private garden - which admittedly, only charged US$2 as entrance fee. But our way was more fun, and dangerous. Didn't think Andrés was serious, but we walked along a concrete wall - about twenty metres above the sea, and which was in constant danger of being splashed by the waves.
At the bottom of a now disused pier, there were piles of reinforced concrete of various shapes to walk over and jumped upon. Here Andrés found a metal cable hanging down vertically, and with an engineer's caution, tested how safe it was. Satisfied, he swung on the cable, hit the concrete column on the other side, and swiftly pushed with his feet back to start. Enjoying the experience, he invited me to have a go on it with him. Unfortunately we both fell off, and I scraped my forehead on the cable, and opening up a recent wound I occured when I fell flat on my face. I had sprained my ankle, and the weight of my backpack ensured which way I would fall. But really, they were both only small cuts...!
Onwards! A little more beach, and there were some rocks stretching into the sea. Obviously wanted to walk on to them, to get a quick shower from the splashing waves in the process. Protecting my camera beneath my $10 Peruvian windbreaker, only got splashed by a few drops. Remarkable achievement!
Instead of stealing into the private garden at this point, we went further up the beach to explore a derelict ruin of an old factory near the coal mine. Though in decay, the building retained an air of splendor about it - until two idiots started some silly games kicking pieces of wood through its windows and onto the beach, or into some of its gaping holes.
To get into the park, we went again, the adventurous way, down the steep hill of the coal mine (partially on my butt - accidently of course!), and then searching for a trail leading up to the garden on the hill. Finally we found it, and emerged into the contrasting environment of neatly maintained trees, and carefully fenced off paths. Just like your average European park!!
The garden was quite pretty, with statues and fountains every now and again. Exotic trees were labelled with their names, though I was more interested in plotting how best to climb them. Didn't of course! There were even some animals, well, birds. There were pheasants (Andrés smugly saying that the males were more beautiful than the plainer females), roosters cockadoodling like it was sunrise and hens with feathers on their feet. No macaws, very good! They should be flying free as they please!
On the two bus journies back to Talcahuano, appeared to be always in the act of eating as we were about to board a bus. Hence when back in his house, his mother asked if we were hungry - we were hungry no more!
His mother was a very kindly lady, a part-time English student, who carried her studies to the table by drinking good old tea with milk, and spoke English with more of a British accent than the typically more American English of most Latinos. Though having learnt English for only three months, with three hours a week of classes, her dedication shone through with the impressive amount of grammer she has picked up. Sure puts my lack of technicality in Spanish to shame.
Had planned to watch a film in the evening, then an early night. But ended up ploughing through my digital photos, then Andrés prints and slides until the early hours of the morning. Well, we kinda watched the film.. the trailer and "the making of"..! Does that count??? :P