Finally, time to leave Iquique.
I passed the five days waiting for parts with poker, whiskey, pulling apart and giving Ghost a polish and new coat of paint, and using at every opportunity my new favorite Chilean swear word.
On a sunny afternoon, I was called to the front of the hostel where I was greeted by two Argentinians traveling with their fancy BMW touring bikes. They'd heard somehow that I was here, and in communication with a mechanic, and that they were in dire need. I explained, 'the mechanic is not open on Sundays'.
He was delighted and grateful when I came back out the with some tools and within minutes I had adjusted his very loose chain. He insisted on paying me even though I suggested he put his money back in his pocket and bring me beer instead. In the end I gave in and accepted his $6, my first payed job in South America. They returned soon and we shared a six pack of coronas and travel stories.
My good luck with Chilean mechanics continued. Various visits, advice, help, and to my amazement I was only charged for the parts which were extremely cheap. It was great that I was able to install the parts with the mechanics, meaning I learnt that little bit extra about my beautiful machine who is more like a friend than a factory produced vehicle.
Unfortunately, the people in charge of paperwork don't seem to be jumping on the 'let's help Nat have a smooth travel' bandwagon. Somewhere, somehow, something had gone wrong with the paperwork. It was out of my hands as it was a fault in the system. I showed up to the office I had been told I could pick up my official ownership document, only to find out that the previous owner was still the current owner as far as the Chilean government was concerned. I required days of help from two lawyers who I would refer to in my head as the dodgy brothers. One charming and handsome, the other his quiet sidekick and always by his side. My charming and handsome pal sorted everything out, but this process meant I had another whole week here, and the sum I had to pay to Juan Pablo (my lawyer) was a real blow to the finances.
However, it is time to leave this town reminiscent of a Sydney beach town with an added element of history, grit and seediness.
Tomorrow, I will attempt riding to Bolivia.