DAY SIXTEEN CONTINUED.................

We are welcomed by young cheerleaders sporting corporate logos,handing out Coca Cola and Pisco.There are throngs of reporters from all over Chile. We watch ourselves on TV that night.

By night: Wild discotecas con chicas bonitas y bebidas fuertes.As the country looks so prosperous compared to the other countries we have driven through, I am prepared to give a lecture to some student types who come to me with woeful tales concerning the evils of General Pinochet. I ask them if they have ever been to Tacna, Peru only 17 miles to the north. They say they haven't. I tell them to visit there sometime and see where leftist political policy has led them.

    The Caribineros de Chile search our bags,
    stamp our passports and escort us to our hotel.

    We're in Arica - driest spot on Earth. In 400 years there has been no measurable rainfall. This is due to the icy Humboldt current (a cold swim in the 55 degree water attested to that) and the nearby Andes blocking out any interior continental moisture.