A Travellerspoint blog

day 53

machu picchu

We looked around for Machu Picchu tours but decided to do it without one and go with Damien, Cokie, and Jorge instead. First leg of the trip was a bus from Cusco to Urubamba which took about an hour. After checking into a hostel everyone went out to wander around the town but I opted to stay in.. great decision because when I flipped through the channels to the telly in our room the giants game was playing!! Cant believe I was able to watch all the world series games.... It was kind of depressing watching them win by myself though, especially when they showed shots of SF celebrating. And I cant believe its over now...

Anyways, the next morning we caught a mini bus (similar to what we took in cape town, huge van that packed in as many people as possible) to Ollantaytamba, where it happened to be the anniversary of the city so there were a lot of people and festivities in the plaza. We were going to hike to the next point but it had rained so the trail wasnt open? So Damien found us a ride from a guy with a truck. It was about a 3 hour drive over the mountain to St Maria. It was amazinggg. I dont even know how to put it into words. We literally went over the mountain, above the clouds, and back down into a valley. It rained, we saw snow, we were in clouds, and we saw the sun above the clouds. The landscape was beautiful, so many mountains and the road winded around all of them.

We finally got to St Maria where we found another ride to St Maria. The drive was pretty similar, winding roads around jungle-y mountains except the roads werent paved and it was a little more sketch as we were literally driving alongsides cliffs for half the time. He drove us as far as the road took us, which was to the train tracks (a lot of people just take the train to Mach but its really expensive, like 50 dollars each way so we walked it instead). It was dark at this point, and we only had one flashlight for the seven of us but it didnt matter too much because we just had to follow the tracks. It started to rain halfway through but it was a nice kind of rain, not too hard or cold. There was thunder and lightening too.

It took 3 hours to get to Aguas Calientes. Right when we got there we stopped at the first little shop and took over to make dinner (sandwiches).

Checked into a hotel and passed out with the plan to get up at 4am with the intention of trying to sneak into Machu Picchu (damien said he had done it a couple months ago). Got kind of a late start and when we got to the entrance point there were two guards that had no intention of letting us pass without tickets. So we had to walk all the way back to town (about half an hour?) and get tickets. The boys didnt have to money to buy them so it was just us that went. So much for getting an early start and beating the crowds. Rather than walking up to Mach we took a bus.

Machu PIcchu was incredible, you see pictures but the beauty of it cant because conveyed through words or photos. I honestly dont know how to describe it. Only thing that was kind of a drag was how many people were there, but we walked up one of the trails that didnt have too many people so that was nice. We spent a few hours there wandering then started the walk back down. Right when we got back into town a thunderstorm started, which rained (pun semi intended) on our plans to do the walk back to St Theresa that afternoon. We checked out the train option but opted to stay another night at the hostel and do the walk in the morning. We had the whole rest of the day to kill so we just hung out in the plaza.

Had to wake up early again the next day, but unfortunately Star was feeling miserable. Must have eaten or dranken something bad. She ended up going back on the train while the rest of us walked. It was really cool to do the walk during the day when you could actually see your surroundings after only being able to hear them. It was so beautiful, on one side there was this fat river and on the other side were massive mountains. Amazing. It took us two hours to get to the end of the tracks where we snagged a ride to St Maria. We waited a few minutes there until we hopped in another mini bus headed for straight for Cusco. Good thing the driver was literaly the slowest driver in the world. He packed soo many people in his van it could hardly make it up the mountain and around turns. When we were going quote fast, huge tour buses would pass us, really quickly too. It was annoying, I didnt even have a head rest to rest my head on :(

Finallyyyy made it back to Cusco, probably two hours after we should have to find Star going on her 7th hour chilling in bed. She was feeling better which was good because it was halloween!!! We dressed up and hung out around the hostel for a while then went out to a few different bars.

We were going to leave yesterday for Lima but that didnt happen, but we bought tickets for today so we are leaving in a few hours. Definitely gonna miss Cusco, its one of the prettiest places weve been and the hostel weve been staying at is a lot of fun. Im excited to come back!!

Posted by alexascamp 07:12 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

day 47

peru! arica to arequipa to chivay to nazca to cuzco

Its been a while!

We ended up leaving later that day for Peru. We stopped to get some ice cream before, you know to have a nice treat before departing. Unforuntately for Star it wasn´t all rainbows and butterflies, maddy closed the taxi door on her hand so her list of injuries grew (she did some sort of yoga thing the night before and both her ankles were in pain/swollen). But the ice cream was really good.

The journey to Arequipa was pretty interesting. We first took a bus across the border to Tacna, which only took about an hour. Passing the border was a lot more chill than going into Chile from Argentina. Except for the fact that I was stuck with the agent who wouldn´t stop talking to me... literally kept me there for at least five minutes after the others just to tell me not to lose the piece of paper. Then Maddy and I couldn´t find the bus and were wondering around for ten minutes. The bus driver finally found us, he was laughing and in good humor but everyone on the bus who was waiting for us was not. Oops. The rest of the way to Tacna we were entertained by a live infomercial. Some guy got on the bus and gave us a hugeee long spiel all the way to Tacna in an effort to get us to buy his products - teeth whitener and a cleansing laxative. Star got the whitener and Mich got the laxative, which is ironic because ever since then her stomach hasnt been able to deal with the food here anyways....

Took another bus from Tacna to Arequipa which we thought was only five hours, but ended up being 10 (probably could have been five hours had we not stopped for half an hour every half an hour). It was pretty miserable not knowing when we would be there. Also, the seats reclined a lot but of course the guy behind me put his bag behind my chair so i literally couldn´t recline it. Peru is 2 hours behind Chile so we arrived at 3am and caught a cab to a hostel in town called Home Sweet Home.

Woke up the next morning for breakfast (best hostel breakfast by far - a crepe, an egg, bread and tea), Maddy and Star went back to bed while Mich and I hit the town to go to the bank, exchange pesos, check the giants score, and do some other random things. Went back to the hostel to wake up the girls so we could go eat at this restaurant the hostel owner recommended. We asked for somewhere really cheap and authentic, and her suggestion wasn´t really either. Super expens compared to the street food and it was a total tourist spot so that was annoying. But the food was good and the plates were big so it served as two meals.

We wandered around the city for the rest of the afternoon, we were going to go to the musuem that was home to Juanita, the ice princess that was sacrificed, but we didn´t want to pay the entrance fee so we just looked around the entrance area and read articles about her that were posted there. We visited a few artisana craft markets and got some cool shwag. I actually just got a bracelet, but the others got some cool stuff. Ended the afternoon by going to the Wild Rover, a hostel chain that Star worked at in Bolivia. Got some drinks (actually Star and I got them for half the bar because we lost a dice game...) and made them put on the giants game which was really exciting. One of the girls behind the bar said she was a giants fan which was cool, until she thought posey was matt cain. A - clearly they are different people and B - cain wasn´t even pitching. if you are going to jump on the bandwagon at least get your facts straight. or just don´t say anything. Not that I´m still bitter or anything.

Arequipa isn´t too much of an exciting place to be a tourist so we made plans to go to a nearby canyon called cañon del colca. Next day we packed up and took a bus to Chivay, which was about 4 hours. Chivay was amazing. It was such a small little town surrounded by such huge mountains. Definitely felt far from reality. When we got there we were swarmed by people offering us their hostels. We ended up going with an older woman named Berta who was soo nice. Her hostel wasn´t though, ten minutes after putting our stuff down the power went out. Went to the plaza to find something to eat - got soup and a chicken dish for 5 soles which is 2 dollars. Wandered around for a little bit to soak up the atmosphere. Peruvians are so distinct its´crazy. Extremely short, very distinct style of dress. The women all wear traditional skirts and hats which must signify class or status.

Oh man, I wrote a lot more but it didnt save and Im really lazy to rewrite it all. To make a long couple days short... we woke up at 7am to catch the bus to Cabanaconde (our alarm didnt go off, luckily Bertas daughter woke us up), where we started the couple hour hike down to La Sangalle (the oasis). Of course right when we got there the sun started to disappear so we didnt spend too much time in the pool but it was really relaxing, it definitely felt like an oasis from reality because we were literally in a valley surrounded by huge mountains and nothing else. Pretty incredible. The hostal didnt have electricity so we basically just ate, sat in bed, and then went to sleep. Plan was to get up around 3 to start the hike up so we would avoid the sun... alarm failed to go off again but somehow we were up and out the door by 5am. Turned out to be a perfect timing because there was enough light out to see where we were going but no hot sun til the last half hour of the hike. We got to the top a lot sooner than we anticipated and it felt great to look down and see how high we climbed. We thought it was at least a couple thousand feet but turned out to be like 1500 haha

Took the bus back to Chivay, did a quick turnaround to grab our stuff, then hopped on a bus back to Arequipa before heading to Nazca. We had a few hours in ARequipa to eat (asked the taxi driver for a cheap close place and he drove us at least 10 minutes to a really touristy expensive restaurant which was annoying, so we took a taxi back to the bus terminal and ate at a chinese place around the corner). Grabbed some beers to make the bus ride more enjoyable, then just waited for departure. I think Ive mentioned the hygenic situation down here... well Star and I got ourselves in quite a sitch. The chinese food went through us pretty much immediately so we paid to use the bathroom in the terminal. After eliminating our dinner Star mentioned that her flusher didnt work.... I laughed and was glad it wasnt my toilet, until I tried flushing mine and realized mine didnt work either. Talk about embarassing, there was a line of people waiting to use our stalls, and one of them spoke english and well lets just say we got out of there asap.

Bus ride to Nazca was pretty uneventful, passed out and woke up around 5 in Nazca. Took a taxi straight to the airport to book a flight over the lines. Luckily the terminal was open but all the agencies were closed it was so early. We plopped our stuff down, cleaned ourselves as best we could (keep in mind we had been on the go since the hike up the mountain), and waited. When the agencies opened up we booked a couple tickets then were given a ride back into town to grab some breakfast.

The lines were incredible. We were in a small plane, 2 pilots, the 4 of us and another guy. It was crazy to see evidence of a culture almost 2 thousand years old. I would write so much more about it but I really dont feel like it right now sorryy

Plan was hop on a bus right after for Cuzco but the only buses were leaving at night so we had like 9 hours to kill. Our base camp was at the tour agency office we booked our flight through, the guy bought us a round of beers for Stars birthday, let us store our stuff behind his desk, and let us hang out in front of the office. We wandered around the streets, ate some food, then stumbled upon a tattoo and piercing place. Seemed only appropriate to go in considering thats usually how we kill time before busrides. There were two guys there who were both really nice, we ended up spending a couple hours there just hanging out. The owner, Oso, gave each of us a birthday present, STar and I rings that he made, and Mich and Maddy each a necklace. I already lost mine :( Spent the last hour or so before the bus ride at the local corner store drinking beer, talking to the owner and her son, and playing with his puppy. It was a really cool vibe, one that doesn{t really exist in the States which is sad. Everyone here is so friendly and easy to talk to (besides the semi language barrier), its not like at home where conversations between strangers are short/superficial/nonexistant.

Pretty long bus ride to Cuzco, left at 9 and got there around 11am (but that included a half hour stop´we had to make to clean up the puke of some guy at the front of the bus, gross - poor maddy was heading back from the bathroom when it happened so she had a front row view). The ride to Cuzco was beautiful though, winding around mountains, literally in the clouds.

Settled into a hostel then wandered around some nearby plazas. We met some local artisanas pretty quickly. Damien invited us back to his place to show us more of his work, we ended up hanging out there for a couple hours before heading back to the hostel to watch the giants game.

Next day we met up with Damien and Chokay (his roomie) and did a short hike up the mountain to some ruins. The ruins were soo cool, I cant even anticipate how amazing machu picchu will be. Once again, crazy to be in a place that clearly existed in a different time period - the most fascintating thing to me was seeing a scuplture of a puma that was half destroyed because of the Spanish. We spent an hour or so practicing juggling and learning some acrobatic stuff from Damien. He had this stretchy material that he threw over a really tall tree branch and showed us some stunts and how to climb up it, it was really cool. Walked a little further to another set of ruins called Sasquywaman or something to that effect. We successfully dodged the tourist fee (were on a roll, managed not to pay the 50 dollar fee to hike in cañon del colca). If you find yourself around some baby eucalyptis leaves you should roll them up and stick them up your nose, looks silly but feels so fresh. Went back to Damiens where they made this delicious dinner for us, then went back to the hostel for the giants game. I don{t think Damien and the others were very interested in it....

After the game we went out to this bar where Damien and his roommate where performing in "the circus". all the acts were really good, I was sitting like a foot away from the stage which was exciting but scary when they were juggling fire............ Had a pretty long night out, ended up just at Damiens drinking and laughing the night away.

Didnt do too much yesterday, just hung out around the hostel and nearby. We are staying at Kokopelli hostel and its been a lot of fun, met a lot of really cool people. Theres a TV room which weve been taking advantage of, great place to chill and... watch movies. Wasnt planning on going out last night, I was literally climbing into bed (im on the top bunk) and I managed to jam my toe. Hurt sooo bad, it started bleeding. Michelle and STar convinced me to go out after I cleaned myself up. Maddy took a little longer to convince but we finaly got her out of bed too. We went with our roommate Fabio to a bar to meet Damien and the others but they werent there so we got a drink, checked out another bar, then went back to the hostel to recollect. Stayed for a while, hanging out in the bar with some others who taught showed us this magic trick that we could not figure out. He stuffed a little hankie into his hand, it was gone, then it reappeared. Finally he showed us the fake thumb he was stuffing it into...... Very clever. Went out to this bar called the Groove which was pretty fun. We ran into Damien and Chokay and Antonio there and danced for a while. Last event of the night was a guy who had to stop kissing a girl to puke, remnants of which splattered onto STars shoes and sweater. Came back to the hostel and ended up watching a movie with some others that were still up. Movie ended at 730 which was purrrrfect because thats when breakfast started (scrambled eggs and bread), so I ate then went to bed for a few hours. Today has been pretty chill too, got some lunch with Maddy and tried to find this blackmarket where supposedly all the crafts are incredibly cheap. We didnt find it but we found these really cute little pups that were being sold. And now Im here, and sooo happy to have caught up wow. GO GIANTS two hours til game time woooooooo

Posted by alexascamp 14:17 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

day 38

iquique to pica to arica

well last year i spent my birthday in Africa, this year I spent it in Arica. Interesting huh?

There wasn´t much to do in Iquique, the guys we met from the bonfire recommended going to pica where there were hot springs. Lets just say I don´t know why they recommended it....................... we literally got there at like 10pm, set up camp, walked downtown to find a phone to call Joel and Pau, got some food on the way back, then passed out. Woke up the next morning and chilled for a bit. This woman from the camp over (whose husband was snoring like. I don´t know what he was snoring like I literally just sat here for a minute trying to think of a metaphor but I couldn´t. He was snoring reallllllly loud, like almost as loud as you dad) came over because Mich was making a bracelet and she asked if we were selling them. She ended up manipulating her way into getting a bracelet for free, telling STar that if she gave it to her we would have good luck fo rthe rest of the trip. Very sneaky.

We showered, walked into town for itnernet, bought a bus ticket for Arica, ate, then left. Really eventful tri pto Pica, great decision to go. We were planning on going to the hot springs, but we saw a picture and it looked like a resort so we decided against going (didnt want a repeat of the last unsuccessful trip to a hot spring).

Got to Arica aroundddd 9 or 10pm? The bus ride was pretty crazy, it was the curviest one we´´ve ever had and by far the craziest driver, he was whipping around those corners. Seeing all the crosses signifying people who had died along the road wasnt very comforting, but we all made it in one piece. Took a taxi to the beach, Star and Maddy styed to set up camp and Mich and I went to get food and drinks for the night.

It might have been the piscoat, but we´re getting better at camping. Haha I almost wrote scamping. Except for when maddy woke up at five in the morning, couldnt open the tent, and thought she was suffocating hahahaaaaaaaa

Next morning we were pretty far out from downtown so we were wondering how to find a taxi back but luck found us - we got a ride from a police man. Police in calama suck, police in Arica are chill.

Found a hostel, we said that if we were gonna stay in a hostel we were gonna do it right and kinda splurge but we definitely didnt. The hostel we ended up staying was only 4000 which is 8 bucks. The owners were really nice though, let us use his comp and we met a girl staying there that we ended up going to the beach with/her boy drove us which worked out well. Water was really nice, but once again that might be the piscoat talking.

Went back to the hostel for a little then went with homegirl and boy to a massive statute of jesus on a hill to watch sunset which was really pretty. Spent a while there, met 2 other dudes who were there. Right as Star and I went to talk to them they started playing Warriors which is literally my song obsession right now so I was stoked. I made them play it at least 3 more times.

We met up with Tyler later who we met in Santiago and a girl from Ireland he was working with. Rest of the night was fun, apparently.

Havent done much today, had chinese for lunch, it was delicious but i think I ate twice my weight in chicken vegetables and rice. Literally couldnt stop eating. Maddy and I met some homies outside the restaurant who showed us some california love. And now we are sitting in an internet cafe because we couldnt decide whether to stay and go to the beach or leave and go to Peru. Not sure how going to computerswill solve anything considering we are going to have to face the decision again after this. Oh well. Sorry this was a really uninteresting post, I mostly just wrote it because I have nothing else to do.

22 is old.. I feel old

Posted by alexascamp 10:39 Archived in Chile Comments (8)

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 Comments (1)

day 31

santiago to la serena to calama to san pedro

We left kinky haus (the name of joel, pepe, alex, pau, and mauricios place) on monday. It was sad leaving :( the boys were so good to us, we had been there for about two weeks and they said we´re like flatmates to them. I definitely want to make it back there on my way back down with Louie and Lauren, and really hope they can make it to California so we can show them the same hospitability.

It was about a 7 hour bus ride to La Serena, so we got there around sunset. After checking in to a few hostels that were already full we found one that had space for us but it wasn´t very nice so we moved on to another a couple blocks away which was a lot nicer. It was a family guesthouse and the family was really nice. There wasn´t much to do so we got some chinese food and then watched some TV before passing out.

Got up early on Tuesday to make the most of the day. We looked into some tours (stargazing at an observatory or going to the dama island) but none of them really seemed worth our money so we decided instead to spend the day in la serena going to the craft market and the beach and to leave that night for San Pedro, which is about a 20 hour bus ride north/more inland. The craft market was cool, the beach sucked. We took the bus to Coquimbo to go to the beach, someone recommended it and I´m not sure why because there wasn´t really a beach at all. We went up this massive cross (that had lots of statue scenes of jesus being crucified) and got a cool view of the city. The area reminded us a lot of Valpo, next to the water, lots of boats, colorful houses, and hills but it didn´t have the same charm.

There were no buses to San Pedro that night so we got one to Calama instead to save paying for a night at a hostel, with the intention of just hopping on a bus to San Pedro from there (only an hour away). Bigggg mistake. First of all the 15 or so hour bus ride was really shitty, literally. You can only go pee on the buses, and someone clearly took a dump because we were stopped for at least half an hour trying to clean out the plumbing. It was like 3 in the morning and I´m pretty sure I was the only one awake on the bus, I´m not sure how though because it smelled soooo bad. Definitely 2nd worst smell I´ve ever endured, the first was the field trip to the sewage treatment plant we went on in middle school. It probably didn´t help that I happened to be in the seat directly next to the bathroom (of course).

Anyways, we finally made it to Calama, got our tickets for San Pedro and had an hour to kill. Meals were not generous on the bus so we were hungry and looking for food. We set our stuff down at a table and Maddy and I went to go ask about a nearby restaurant. We decided to put our stuff in storage and go across the street to get some food, but when i went to get my bag it was gone. The second I realized it wasn´t there I knew it had been stolen, which was crazy because I had only left the table for literally a minute, maybe 2 tops. And michelle and star were there... but I guess some guy distracted them by asking where the internet cafe was and someone else snagged it. About 20 minutes later, just after the police arrived, this couple came running towards us asking if we had our bag stolen, because apparently the same exact thing had happened to them the day before at the same time and place. It was a couple on their honeymoon and the woman had her bag with her camera and lenses, credit cards, passports taken. Her passport had been returned but nothing else. I guess they met an English guy who was travelling alone and had the same thing happen to him the day before them at the same place. Talk about sketch. The couple was convinced the police were in on it because there was no security or any action being taken to prevent the same thing from happening again, they said they looked it up on google and the Calama bus terminal was notorious for having stuff taken.

I went with Star to the police station to file a report. All the police were douches, it was obvious they didn´t care at all about what was happening considering the fact that they were basically laughing at us. It took the guy helping us an hour to type out the report, after which we had to go to the international police station to get a replacement passport thing. The people there were also huge douches. There was a really long line, but one guy told us to wait in another area. We were ignored for like 45 minutes before star asked one of the employees about when we would get helped. He gave her some attitude and no answers so we waited a little longer. By that time Michelle and Maddy had come and found us so we were all waiting in the main office. Finally someone came to help us so Star and I went into the office, overhearing Officer Douche ask for air freshner because it smelled bad right there (where we were). He found some in the office, literally sprayed it on me and Star, then went into the main room and sprayed in on Michelle and Maddy saying how he likes to shower once a day. It was actually really funny, I was crying with laughter but he was suchhh a jerk.

So we had to decide whether or not to stay the night in Calama in hope of getting my passport back or to head to San Pedro and just take a bus back to Calama if my passport was found. Considering how shitty Calama had treated us and the fact that no one had anything nice to say about it we left for San Pedro. Got here around 10 last night and liked it immediately. Its a really small town in a desert, its not built up at all but it´s a really touristy area because there are a lot of activities to do like go see geyers, deserts, salt flats, etc. We met up with Joel, Pau, Mario, and his girlfriend, Marta and spent the night camping with them literally in the middle of nowhere. It was incredible, we spent a few hours just laying in the bed of their truck looking at all the stars, which were so bright because there was no other light to drown them out, we couldn´t even see the moon. Saw a lot of shooting stars, only other time I´ve seen a sky as beautiful was in Namibia.

After stargazing we settled in the tents for the night, Marta and Mario in their own, and the rest of us squeezed into Paus 4 person tent. It was quite the squeeze, talk about a 6 person spooning sesh. We had bundled up in soo many layers but after an hour or so it got so hot and the discomfort/lack of space forced Joel out of the tent and to the car. I think I got like 2 hours of sleep, we got up around 730 or 8 because they were leaving San Pedro to head further north. It didn´t take long to pack up and drive back into town, where we got dropped off in search of a hostel. Found a relatively cheap one and passed out for a little bit (being in a bed was really nice after 2 days of not) before waking up, finally taking a shower, and starting the day. Which brings me to where I am now, the internet cafe. 2 great pieces of news - my passport was found!!! Which means we don´t have to make the 20 plus hour bus ride back to the embassy in Santiago to get a new one, and the giants won last night!!!! So excited!!! Sad I can´t watch but fingers crossed for good news next time I find myself online. Okay I´ve been on here way too long. We´re going to spend the next few days here in San Pedro, make our way back to Calama to get my passport, then head north. Looking to invest in camping gear so we can take advantage of the beautiful landscapes here and save money on hostels.

I can´t believe it´s been a month. Budget is going pretty well, I calculated it on the bus ride to Calama and I´ve spent about 1000 dollars. We´ve been really lucky to have had homies to stay with rather than hostels (we´ve only spent 9 or 10 nights in hostels, and nearly 3 weeks with friends), and things are only going to get cheaper the further north we go, especially if we start camping.

Posted by alexascamp 08:55 Archived in Chile Comments (1)

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