Our second night in Chile was spent on a too warm bus, watching horror movies in Spanish.
But at least it had arrived on time, unlike the one that the guy we got chatting to in station was supposed to be getting. He had already been waiting an hour and had to catch another bus in Arica to get to where he was going, so was getting quite anxious. Once we got on the bus pretty much everyone who wasn’t a local (they seemed happy with the heat) took off as many layers as they could, and once the movies were over, settled into a restless sleep until our arrival in Arica. We leave the bus station and walk down the dark streets until we find Sunny Days Hostel, which will be our home for the next two days. Continue reading
You have not known hell until you have spent an afternoon walking miles around San Pedro with all your bags, looking for your non-existent hostel.
The bus ride to town had been filled with exciting paperwork, thrilling border checks, and pointless bag searches. A few new stamps in our passports and we were finally in Chile, having only said goodbye to our friends in Bolivia about an hour ago. It was like a whole new world. Continue reading
I do not appreciate the ridiculously early wake up call.
4:30am is a very cruel time of day, especially after being out so late last night. I dress, and we all stumble shivering into the hallway/dining room for breakfast. Zoe is feeling much better, so we eat, drink a shitload of hot tea to warm up, and climb into the truck for our final day in Bolivia. Continue reading
Red lakes with islands of snowy borax, multicolored mountains, pools of flamingos, and a landscape straight from Mars. Welcome to the Altiplano.
We were up at 6:30, and into the truck after breakfast. Lots of driving today, we are told, so I crank up the classic rock, and off we go. We stop in a little village on the way for some snacks, and then go on to some train tracks in the middle of nowhere to take some photos. Eventually we reach our first main stop for the day, an area of desert that looks like it comes from another planet. Continue reading
We are the last truck out, and the sky is carpeted by blood red clouds. A breathtaking end to a very long day.
First thing off the bus it was absolutely freezing. Crystal clear blue skys, with a pink sunrise fading to nothing, and us lot standing around, teeth chattering. We warm up by a gas heater in the tour guides office, and after a couple of hours our truck finally turns up and we meet our guide. We have two trucks, so two guides, as there are so many of us. Which worked out well in the end because we had more room (and didn’t get stuck in the truck with the foursome of annoying American students), and our guide and driver were really great. Continue reading
Cycling Death Road is balls-to-the-floor brilliant!
Our guy, Alejandro, picks the four of us up from our hostel at 7:15 am. We thought this was the standard time to leave to go to Death Road but we found out later that Alejandro likes to leave early to avoid all the other bikes and traffic. The guy is a genius, we were the first ones there and we had it all to ourselves! Continue reading
There is nothing sexier than a Cholita with a baby under one arm and a sack of potatoes under the other.
Breakfast was really good. We had ordered it the night before, and were apparently the only ones who had done so as the señora had toasted an entire loaf of bread for us. I almost got RSI from spreading butter on so many slices. Our hostel, Arthys guesthouse, is really nice, in spite of the military grade front door. A relative den of tranquility compared to the city outside, it is split over 3 or 4 floors (hard to say exactly as they have that half a floor thing going on), and we were on the top floor, which meant we got out of breath just going up to our room. Still we were right next to the sun room with amazing views over that part of the city, so that made up for it somewhat. Continue reading