A Travellerspoint blog

day 35

san pedro to iquique

ugh I hate starting my blog entries because I always forget where I left off....

I think the last thing I wrote about was that we camped with Joel and Pau. So that morning we checked in at a hostel, a lot of them were full but we found one that was a hostel slash restaurant. It was funny too, the two women that owned it (I´m pretty sure they were sisters) were total opposites, one was not very nice, really abrupt and not too helpful and the other was soo nice she kept calling us loves.

Anyways, the first day in San Pedro was basically a business day, we figured out what we wanted to do the next few days over lunch and then Maddy and I took a bus back to Calama to get my passport while Mich and Star went around to the different tour agencies to find the best deals. It was cool to do the bus ride to Calama during the day because the landscape was pretty, nothing tooooo interesting just a lot of desert and nothing but nice to look at regardless and realize how in the middle of nowhere we actually were.

Calama sucked, as expected. The douche cop was at there again and unsurprisingly made fun of us for not understanding Spanish even though we could understand what he was saying..... anyways. Passport back was all that mattered, although it took a few minutes for them to find it, which was very reassuring and totally restored my confidence in them. I got back my yellow fever vaccination certificate and the paper that showed proof of entry to Chile but nothing else. I was hoping for my journal at least... but at least I have everything necessary to keep travelling. But that is also sketch and definitely makes me feel like the po are in on it. Its happened 3 days in a row, who knows how many more times, at the same place and they don´t put a security guard there or look at the video camera that was pointed directly at where my bag was to find the guy. Whatever. Sketch is all there is to say.

We were hoping that it would be a quick turn around, get the passport and get back to San Pedro asap but we had to wait like an hour or two for the next bus to come, so that was cool. I got some candy to pass the time so I was stoked until I realized it had peanuts in it...

Got back to San Pedo around 1030 to Michelle who was worried and Star who tried to tell us she was worried but was really just sleeping, so Maddy of her. Had leftovers from lunch then took advantage of the bed we had for the night and passed out.

Woke up, showered (Star and I were the only ones that enjoyed a nice warm shower, Mich and Maddy didn´t realize that they could have warm water if they turned the knob in the other direction), packed up, ate a delicious meal at the hostel, stored our stuff, then headed into town to try and find camping equipment. We found a tent for relatively cheap (you get what you pay for, one of the rods is already broken) and got a sleeping bag to unzip and share between the four of us.

Later that afternoon we got a tour to Laguna Cejar, Dos Ojos (i think thats what it was called), and another place that I actually forget the name of. Laguna Cejar was this pool of water in the middle of the desert that had so much salt you literally floated it was sooo cool. Dos Ojos was about a twenty minute drive further and it was two deeper pools of water that were a lot colder. Mich and I jumped in, we were warned that it was really cold but it wasn´t too bad. The last place we went to was beautiful, we just hung out there watched the sunset and drank some piscolas (we went back for thirds, I think the tour guide was sick of us). On the tour we met a girl named Simone who actually was in the same room we stayed at in Iguazu which was crazy.

We met up with her later that night for dinner and drinks. It was a really fun night. San Pedro is cool because it´s so small you literally run into everyone you meet and everyone is so friendly and welcoming. The place we went to for dinner had live music then we migrated to a restaurant a block over for drinks were we ran into a homie we met at the bus station and some others that Michelle and I talked to on the tour. We tried to go to a party afterwards but it got broken up by the time we got there. Funny actually because on the walk there Michelle and I hoppped in the back of the police truck, so we got a ride to the party from the police who were there to break it up. Michelle went home but Star Maddy and I went with some of the locals to a bonfire. Long night but a lot of fun.

The next day I was awake and no one else was making any movement to get up so I went into town to get eggs to make breakfast and stuff for sandwiches for later. We rented bikes to go to Valle de la Luna and let me tell you it was quite the struggle. Biking in the desert after a long night is not ideal. It was cool though, we saw three things - caves (which we could walk in, parts of it were literally pitch black), a dune (cool but no where near as impressive as those in Namibia) and this massive rock that looked like an ampatheatre. It took us at least two hours to get to the point where we turned around, and (thankfully) only half an hour to bike back because it was mostly down hill. We were some of the only people on bikes, most people did driving tours.

Got back into town, exhausted with very sore asses (the seats were insanely uncomfortable). Returned the bikes and got some delicious ice cream, wandered around a little bit then went back to our campsite to shower and rest. Maddy and I got hungry later so we went to the restuarant we went to the first night and for drinks the second night, Quitar, to eat. We ran into a friend we met at the bonfire who suggested that we go out. Maddy was already in a food coma and Michelle and Star were halfway passed out so I went out on my own. Didn´t end up finding him where he said he would be but I ran into some other locals we were with the night before so I had a beer with them and a couple from Chile who were extremely nice.

Next morning we packed up our stuff, made breakfast and sandwiches for the day then went to the bus station to check out times for Iquique. We were potentially going to go to Valle de la Muerte to sandboard but we decided to catch the next bus which was in an hour. The bus had a stopover in Calama........... we huddled ourselves in a corner and were sketched out by everyone that approached us, including the woman who just wanted to know where we got our food.

8 hours later, 10pm we were in Iquique which was a hugeeee city compared to San Pedro - tall, commercial buildings, nice hotels, casinos, cement roads, the works. We walked to the beach and set up camp. I was exciting much colder weather considering we were by the water but it was actually realllly nice out and the water wasnt even too cold. We bought some beers and chilled for a bit before joining forces with some guys who had a bonfire.

Had a relatively good night sleep, the sand was a lot more comfortable than the ground we had been sleeping on the previous nights. Woke up at like 11 this morning to a lot of people body boarding and enjoying the holiday (dia de la raza). Just as we were starting to pack up some police informed us that we weren´t allowed to camp, great timing guys (no sarcasm).

First thing first we went on a hunt to find somewhere to store our stuff which didn´t take long at all, literally the first store we went into to ask let us keep our stuff there. So we grabbed our toothbrushes and started searching for a place to eat which proved to be difficult. I don´t know why or how we also make bad decisions about restuarants, but we did yet again. It was like a 20 minute walk and one of the only places open. I don´t know why but we got three seafood dishes which were all really unappetizing.... the rice was good though. Ended up paying 10 bucks each which was really unfortunate, but we got to brush our teeth and use the bathroom. Being down here you definitely have to plan things out that you wouldn´t normally even thinka bout at home. Like water, it´s never free and a lot of the time you can´t drink the tap water so you have to buy a bottle and ration it out. Going to the bathroom, toilet paper is rarely provided in the bathrooms, a lot of times you have to pay to use the bathroom slash for toilet paper so we´ve gotten in the habit of taking all the napkins provided for us at restaurants and taking some TP from the bathrooms. What else. Oh showers... never know when the next (warm) shower is, especially now that we are starting to camp.

About to go pick our stuff up from storage and then..... I don´t know. Heading up to Arica probably tomorrow which is about four or five hours north on the border of Chile and Peru. Gonna spend a night or two there then crossover to Peru. I´m excited!!

Posted by alexascamp 10:37 Archived in Chile

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what a brilliant blog! Made it feel like I was there with you. You need to become a bilingual journalist!
Do you still have camera, or was that stolen? How cool to hop on the cop wagon! I suppose cops in South America are the same as in Davis....they see you as privileged kids and want to knock you down a peg or too, it's human nature. I suspect you will not be relocating to Calama. Not sure if James Garratt is on your reader list, it would be fun for him to read your blogs and think back 3 years. Spoke with Mikey, he wants us to join them in Florida for Xmas. He sounds great, busy but happy.
Laura's birthday yesterday. What will you do for your 22nd? That's 2 straight years you've been away for birthday, god knows where you will be in October 2013!!

Yes, creature comforts, water and toilet paper! How is your cough, getting better? I am finally fit again, what, 5+ weeks after Cha infected me? The fence is finished, I painted it over the weekend, it looks super. Done lots of chores, including painting the shed door! Very fancy, I think I will charge for using the shed from now. Bummer Game 1, sent you a separate note just before I saw your blog, Mad was off, need to win game 2, the Cardinals are a very good side (they won the world series in 2012, first time in 50 years the last 2 world champs have met in post-season).

Not much else to report. Weather glorious, meant to be in the 90s in Davis this week. Does Davis and Emily seem a long time ago? You all sound like you get along well...cool that Maddie and you went alone for your passport, I doubt you would have felt comfy language-wise doing that a month ago??
Makes me proud to think what a traveler you have become, you have traveled more than 95% of the world's population, to Europe, Africa and S. America. Curious what direction this will all push you in, as far as WORK goes!! Thanks for in my opinion the best blog yet. Say hi to the girls. Do you hear from Lauren or the boys at all? luwamh

by Phil Garratt

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