The Dakar Rally VIP Tour 2013

Dakar Rally Tour Guide

Dakar Rally VIP Tour: Hello from the Atacama Desert in Chile!

When I was a little girl, there were two things I loved watching on TV together with my Dad – a.k.a. Super Fanatic.

Formula 1 & The Dakar Rally.

A few years ago [2008], I accidentally ended up in a little Portuguese-Chinese state called Macau.
In a spontaneous act very much resembling: “Oops! I took a ferry from Hong Kong… Where am I?”, I ended up walking straight into Macau’s Formula 1 GrandPrix… Obviously being a total case of Accidentally Awesome.
[I quickly learned that Macau is bustling with life almost 24/7 as it happens to hosts all (or most of?) China’s casinos. Yep, you heard that right! As opposed to its communist Big Brother, gambling is actually legal there.]

Believe it or not, accidentally awesome things like that tend to happen when you travel. Quite often in fact!
Who would have thought, however, that only 4 years later I would be traveling to Chile to not only see The Dakar Rally from up close, but to work as a tour guide on a VIP “Follow The Dakar Rally” Tour for a Dutch event company called HVProductions?! Well, definitely not me. I can tell you that much.

I still have a hard time believing it sometimes, but it did happen. It was real. And I can tell you that the whole Dakar experience was Absolutely Amazing, Beyond Beautiful, Crazy Cool… and just Incredibly Incredible!!! (Ha! You thought I’d go on from A to Z, right?)

So… thank you Henk Verhoeven! Wondering why this trip was Unbelievably Unreal?

Shh… I’ll let you in on it…

Dakar Rally in Atacama Desert

The Dakar Rally 2013 took place in the heart of the Atacama Desert in Chile!

To the Dutch Desert Camp

Turn left to visit the Dutch VIP Night Camp… That’s right. In the middle of the desert!

That’s right. The Dakar Rally 2013 took place in the heart of the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Let me try to start at the beginning of the story and guide you through the first 4 days of what might be my most amazing tour guiding experience to date.

Wed. Jan. 16, 2013 – Santiago de Chile
While Henk, Pauline, and I are waiting in Santiago de Chile for our guests from the Netherlands to arrive, we got some bad news: Half of the group of VIP guests had missed their connecting flight at Guarulhos airport and had to stay for the night in São Paulo.

A good start is half the work, right? Uh-huh, yes…

I must have had that exact thought when I suggested to take the ones that did make it to the hotel in time on a 4-hour City Tour around Santiago de Chile. Always look on the bright side of life. Time to seize the day!

Click here to take a digital tour on the MGM Language and Leisure Facebook Page

City Tour Santiago de Chile

What better place to start showing off Santiago than Cerro Santa Lucía? Welcome to Chile everyone!

Thu. Jan. 17, 2013 – Copiapó, Chile

Good morning everyone! Our group is finally complete, so let The Dakar Rally adventure begin!

Again, we had a great start. After “only” an hour and a half of delay on the flight from Santiago to Copiapó, we get the exciting news that instead of eight, there are only five 4×4 trucks waiting for us at the airport. How convenient. Not!

Admittedly, it took us a while, but the situation was eventually solved and we still managed to set up the Dutch Support Camp that same afternoon. It really was quite a crazy sight, so try your best to imagine this. A row of tents with tables and seats in the middle of the Atacama Desert to offer ice-cold drinks (!) and hot food to our VIP guests, press photographers, and even Dakar Rally competitors!

A true desert oasis.
Having a hard time picturing it? I thought you might. I think I’d better just show you our spectacular settlement. ;)

Dutch Desert Camp Copiapó

Dutch Desert Camp in Copiapó: A true desert oasis.

Hiking to the Dutch Desert Camp

Photographer Gerlinde Schrijver hiking her way back up to the Dutch Desert Camp

Down @ the Desert

A nice little shady area down @ the Desert “Road”…

Eat Dust, Dutchies!

“Eat dust, Dutchies!”

Jan Bastiaan Nijen Twilhaar (179) says hi...

Jan Bastiaan Nijen Twilhaar (179) stops to say hi…

... and bye!

… and bye. Off he goes again!

Diego Martínez Dimetry (287) Dakar Rally 2013

Diego Martínez Dimetry (287) needs water for his quad. Here you go!

Sunset coming soon...

Sunset is coming soon…?

5-minutes of relaxation

5-minutes of relaxation in the desert sun

Say cheese!

Thank you HV for providing us with such comfort and this amazing “first-row” view! Hurrah!

Needless to say, the whole group – including the crew – had a great time down there in the desert. The view on the race was beyond incredible.

Not only were we able to see every single driver speeding by, our guests also had exclusive access to their own little desert toilet!
[Have you ever tried transporting a Dixie toilet through the desert on the back of what turned out to only be a 2x4 vehicle? Well, I can tell you that it was quite the adventure. I think I best spare you the details... ;-) ]

Anyway, back to the race. We watched, danced, jumped, and cheered for hundreds of contestants, until the last ray of daylight had disappeared. Came nightfall, we had no other choice but to ‘move the party’ to the Dutch Desert Night Camp. Another sight for sore eyes!

Time for dinner, a visit to the Dakar Bivouac or… Off to bed? Your choice!

Dinner @ Dutch Desert Night Camp

Dinner @ Dutch Desert Night Camp

Fri. Jan. 18, 2013 – La Serena

Great Combo: White wine, Austral and Pisco Sour!

Great Combo: White wine, Austral and Pisco Sour!

Clearly, “off to bed” wasn’t the most popular choice among our Dutch VIPs last night. I swear I had no other choice but to stay up with our guests and drink a Pisco Sour… or two. Or three. Or… who’s counting?

In short, little miss MGM went off to bed at 4.30am… only to listen to the bikes, quads, cars and trucks warm up their engines on the road right next to the camp. Filled with excitement, wondering how everyone around me could actually be asleep, I dedided 5.30am was a great time to get up. Let’s admire the sunrise!

Around 8am, everyone had enjoyed breakfast and was ready to live their own little Dakar 4×4 experience through the Atacama Desert Dunes! Well then… Have fun & See you @ La Serena Airport!

Atacama Desert Sunrise

Atacama Desert Sunrise

Here comes the Sun!

Here comes the Sun!

Copiapó Dakar Desert Bivouac

Copiapó Dakar Desert Bivouac

Sat. Jan. 19, 2013 – Limache 

After getting hardly any sleep at the Desert Camp, and driving all day off-road to get to la Serena, you would think that the group was tired and off to bed as soon as we got back to Santiago.

La BarbaRoja Santiago

Wrong! In fact, they seemed to be thinking quite the opposite.

Off we went to check out Santiago’s nightlife as an alternative to sleeping. We didn’t get back to the hotel until 4am? Cheers!

Nevertheless, the alarm clock went off at 7am…

Good morning!

Logically, some of our guests had a bit of a hard time staying awake on the bus. I, on the other hand, found myself surprisingly full of energy for another day of exciting Dakar Rally surprises.

We were off to Limache to see all the Dakar bikes, quads, cars, ánd trucks drive right by the super special VIP hideout of HV Productions! :D

Check out more photos on the MGM Language & Leisure Facebook page.

DAKAR VIP Tour by HV Productions

DAKAR VIP Tour by HV Productions

Excited Chileans Dakar Rally 2013

Excited and proud Chileans approached us to ask about The Dakar Rally

MGM Language and Leisure - Dakar Rally VIP Tour Guide

Standing in the Atacama Desert as a VIP Tour Guide for The Dakar Rally: I still cannot believe this has truly happened!

Got tired reading this just-a-tiny-little-bit-long blogpost? My apologies!

You know, being me… even if I let the photos speak for me, there’s still too much to say!

Coming up soon: photos and anecdotes on the Dakar Finish Stage & the Dutch Dakar Closing Party @ the city center of Santiago de Chile! 

Marc van der Aa Dakar Rally 2013

Press photographer Marc van der Aa “shooting” away…

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