Sunday, 29 July 2012
Day 2: 'Testing Times' by Richard Allan
The conclusion to our 12,000km journey was a successful one. Following earlier baggage related mishaps we arrived with the remainder of our kit, sweeping low from the ocean over our desert landing. After meeting with Victor, from the tour company,(who did actually exist - that's a tenner you owe me Simon) we drove the short distance to Chile's northernmost town, Arica. Arica itself has the air of a frontier town. We were deposited at our Hotel and after a brief freshening up break it was time for a briefing to bring the whole group up to speed on the research and how it was to be carried out. This being successfully achieved we were free to head into town to sample the local cuisine. This included, among other things, "chicken to the olive" and large sections of a cow's lower intestinal tract, preserved with original contents. The more intelligent of our colleagues then headed back to the Hotel for a well needed sleep. Sadly intelligence is not something that medical students have in abundance and the decision was taken by a smaller group of us to throw ourselves into the local culture, in particular the Latin night life. A few pisco sours brings us to the next morning. With only a mere suggestion of sluggishness on part of a few the team mobilised well and set about turning the hotel into a sea level lab. Although not directly involved in the days testing myself I observed a great deal of hardwork on behalf of many members of the team, allowing a great deal of top quality data to be collected. Tomorrow, work will continue apace, with those not running stations or subjected to tests going in search of some R & R in the city.