Monday, 30 July 2012

Day Three: Operation food by Lisa Hinton.

The day got off to a good start today as the corridor rang out with cries of lost baggage arrival. This meant clean unborrowed pants for many. After yet another breakfast of two stale white rolls and apple jam (we think) the money changers were visited. This is an interesting venture for which it seems like the sight of the British clutching dollars lowers the exchange rate in a blink of an eye. Then began the major, and somewhat comical excursion of the day - the food team descent upon the supermarket. This was a complex logistical procedure, involving much planning, purchasing and charm. Feeding 32 hungry people for ten days with no fresh fruit and veg due to storage time and legalities of Bolivian borders is no mean feat. The local supermarket did not know what had hit it when six expedition members ransacked it's shelves. Then the money arrived. All 2 million Chilean pesos concealed in a coat pocket. With nine trolleys of dried, dehydrated, packaged, long life food to get through the tills, we were not the Chilean's favourite people, especially as it was peak lunch hour. We then had the epic challenge of how to get all this food back to the hotel, a good ten minute walk away. This was done the sensible way - simply wedge ones trolley into the escalator, proceed out of the store and wheel them down a bustling high street back to the hotel under the escort of three shop assistants. Once back the arduous task of divvying up the goods into 32 Corona boxed rations in the hotel lobby began, Operation Christmas Child style. Highlights of this included Russ opening a 1kg bag of hot chocolate over his shirt, shorts, feet and floor and the discovery that we had enough smash to feed 320 people!!! And so with our rations ready and bags packed we say goodbye to Arica tomorrow and head up to the dizzying heights of Putre at 3500m...

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