A Travellerspoint blog


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)

day 27


Last time I checked in we were locked in the house. We're no longer trapped but we are still in the house, its so cold! ! The plan was to go camping in cajon del maipo yesterday and leave Santiago today for la Serena, a beach town north of here, but neither of those things happened. Camping didn't happen because it was pouring all day yesterday (of course....), and there aren't many buses going today/they are cheaper tomorrow so we are just going to chill here for another night. Its 3pm, maddy is still in bed, Mich is trying to do yoga, and star and I are lounging on the couches. My toes are freezing, but otherwise I'm a pretty comfy couch potato right now. I think the plan for the day is order sushi and watch breaking bad. The first few days we were in Santiago I was really restless and wanted to take advantage of being here and actually do things, and I still do but its fun to just hang out with the guys.

Yesterday alex took us to the rock climbing gym he works at which was really fun, we definitely all feel it today though. We stopped afterward at a pizza/beer place and got delicious, what do you know, pizza and beer. Then we came home and watched the giants!!! Sucks they lost but it was awesome to watch, its been so long. It was fun explaining it to pepe and alex although I'm not sure how much they actually liked it.... I told pepe there was another game today and thrilled wouldn't be how i would describe his reaction haha the game ended around 130am but we stayed up but for a couple more hours just hanging out. We had a YouTube sesh, if you are bored/looking for a laugh look up remi guillard, I think that's his name.... so ridiculous and so funny.

So that was yesterday, Saturday. On Friday maddy got a tattoo! It looks really good, but as with stars I'm going to make you wait for a picture. Alex stayed wwith her for the duration and star Mich and I went to a craft market for a few hours and all walked away with some cool new stuff. Stopped to get a churripan on the way back (for the second time in less than 24 hours.... I think Mich are star are churripaned out, but Im definite)ly not, in fact I could defiitely go for one right meow). We made cookies for the house again and had a chill night around the yellow table with alex pepe and some of their friends. Michelle went out later with them but maddy star and I opted for sleep.

After we were freed on Thursday we went over to sofi (friend from coho) and Aaron's apartment to hang out. Got some Chinese food from across the street and picked up some beer (its pretty cool you can bring back the bottles and get some money back or a discount on a new bottle), and played some good old American drinking games before meeting up with pepe and a friend at a bar. Finished the night with a delicious churripan.

Well my toes are still freezing but Maddys kind of sitting on them so hopefully they will thaw.

Thanks for reading another super exciting entry! ¡¡¡vamos madbum/gigantes!!!!!!!!

PS we are all sick

Posted by alexascamp 10:45 Archived in Chile Comments (2)

day 24

Back in Santiago

Well we're back. We were going to stay in valpo til today but there wasn't too much to do and we figured it wasn't worth it to spend money on another night sober came back to Santiago last night. Valpo was really nice though, Monday was cold but Tuesday and Wednesday were beautiful.

On Tuesday Michelle and I went for a run to check out some other hostels. We found one that was cheaper and closer to things so we relocated. We were literally the only ones who were at the other one, which was nice because we we had the place to ourselves but we were ready to move on. The new one had a German and a group of 4 American dudes who just got out of law school. After we checked in too the new hostel we walked to the beach and spent a couple hours there. On our way back we were discussing dinner options when we passes by a pretty crowded restaurant that had really cheap completos. We figured we couldn't go wrong by stopping there but oh boy we went wrong..... lets just say we swore off completos halfway through the meal.

Went out that night with the American guys to this random 80s bar which was very interesting... maddy and I went back to the hostel pretty soon after getting tthere.

We successfully managed to get an early start yesterday. At least Michelle maddy and I did, star got up for the breakfast then went back to bed while we went with the German to Pablo nerudas house to look at the view that inspired him. We didn't go inside because there was an hour wait (whattt?) But we were able to go onto the balcony and see a really pretty view of valpo. We went back to the hostel to get star then we took a 20 minute busride to vina del Mar which is like valpo but mmore bougie. It was a perfect day on the beach.

Made our way back to the hostel where our freshly laundered clothes were waiting for us. I've never been so excited to have clean clothes. We packed up and headed back to Santiago. On the bus ride we realized we probably shod have told the guys we were coming a day early but it was too late. Luckily they were home and soo excited to see us. Joel and pau had left for a month and mauricio was in vina so it was just alex and pepe at the house. We chilled for a bit, drank some piscolas, skyped with emily, then headed out to a club that was two stories packed with foreigners and locals looking for foreigners.

I woke up before everyone else this morning and decided to go on a run. Put on my running gear and wrote a note saying where I had gone only to discover that I wasn't actually going anywhere because the door was llocked. Never have I ever encountered a door in which you need a key to open it from the inside... until today. So instead of going on a run I sat. Thankfully there was one last beer to make me happy. I broke the news to the others when they woke up and we spent a few minutes scrounging for a spare key /attempting to devise an escape route but were unsuccessful. Considering all the bottom story windows are barred, our only opting IA to climb/jump out of the second story but then we would be locked out..... its quite a situation. We've accepted the ffact that we just hhave to wait til alex or pepe comes home. Hopefully pepe has a shorter workday than alex who told us last night that he has a 13 hour day and wont be home til 10pm...... this is such a cruel joke, we've spent so many days not leaving this house til like 5 or 6, and now that we actually want to leave and do something we can't. Honestly all we want are churripans. Is that sso much to ask for?on that note, food is limited. We already ate the last two slices of pizza from last night and I had the last beer. I feel like I'm in an alternate version of lord of the flies. I think I hear someone making food though.... so I'm gonna go check it out.

Last thing. Maddy got sick a week ago and has been coughing and blowing her nose all over the place. We've all kinda felt the sickness coming the past couple days but this morning it really hit Mich and star, they are very bitter towards maddy. Ive got a sniffly nose and a scratchy throat but its not too bad which is good because its survival of the fittest on the island (in the house), hopefully I'm not speaking to soon but seeing as how this day is going I probably am.

Posted by alexascamp 11:00 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

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