Sunday, June 27, 2010

The opera, a Chilean ghost town, and a South American land speed record by bus

I spent four plus hours in the nosebleed section of the San Francisco Opera yesterday watching Faust's Sell Your Soul to the Devil.  Inevitably, after waking up halfway through Act I, I began daydreaming.

With the Gold Rush, San Francisco became a rich and vibrant city.  Eventually, a grand opera house was constructed with donations from the local railroad, mining, and shipping barons.

In California, gold was king.  In Chile, it's copper and nitrates.  There is a former nitrate boom town called Humberstone.  It's a ghost town now and I want to visit it.  I especially want to see its abandoned theater, which may very well have hosted many long, convoluted operas.

Humberstone theater

Later this year, I am going to set a record.  Notice I did not say "break" a record, as I don't think anyone has ever tried setting such a record.  The thing about setting a record is that you can take as long as you want, as you'll be the first to set it.

The record will be to travel from Arica, Chile along the border with Peru down to Ushuaia, Argentina by bus.  The legs should take this long:
Arica to Santiago: 30 hours
Santiago to Puerto Montt: 12 hours
Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas: 30 hours
Punta Arena to Ushuaia: 12 hours
Total time on bus: 84

I hope to do this in less than a week.  I will be making a few quick side trips, one being to Humberstone near Iquique.


Alan said...

sounds epic. I wish I had the time and money for such unconventional and exotic adventures.

good luck.

Maxichamp said...

@Alan. This was probably before you discovered my blog, but my goal is to travel by bus from the Arctic Ocean in Alaska all the way down to the tip of South America.

I have traveled between SF and San Diego many times.

Here is me traveling from Oakland to the Arctic Circle by bus:

Here is me traveling from San Diego to Guatemala by bus:

Alan said...


My wife is Mexican (well, first generation) and wants to take me to Yucatan and D.F.

What was the trip like? How did you like Guatemala?

What did you do when you reached the arctic circle?

Maxichamp said...

The trips were back and butt breaking. These were marathon trips. But I got to see a lot of sketchy bus stations from the Yukon down to Chiapas. Met a lot of people on the way that I would not have otherwise met.

Guatemala outside of Guatemala City was cool. Guatemala City is very sketchy and parts are quite dangerous.

Once I reached the Arctic Circle, I had a picture taken at the sign and I hightailed it back to Fairbanks. It's the same road as the one featured in Ice Road Truckers- the Dalton Highway.