Hi I am going to London in three days and am totally unprepared. So instead of doing any of the things I need to do, let me tell you what not to do when going from Peru to Chile.
Actually, that’s a melodramatic lie; it was fine. But a headache.
SO, to get from Peru to Chile — at least, to get from Arequipa, Peru to Iquique, Chile — you take a bus from Arequipa to Tacna, near the border, and then you find a collectivo to cross the border down to Arica in Chile, and then another bus to Iquique. It’s like … maybe ten hours total, broken up with transfers and the hour-ish long collectivo and border crossing, really not bad.
Unless your suitcase is left at the Peru/Chile border. Which, as you may have inferred already, mine was.
Maybe because a lot of the Tacna/Arica traffic is just regular local Chileans stocking up in cheaper Peru, and here’s my dumb ass with pink hair and a wheezing cough and broken Spanish. It was not a fun pit in my stomach realizing my suitcase was not in fact in the collectivo.
But on the other hand: in the end? Not a big deal. I managed to eke out something like uh, necesito mi maleta, pero no es aqui? puedes ayudarme? and after some back and forths, I was put back on the collectivo and back to the border — who as soon as I walked up, a couple lovely ladies were like ah si, aqui, aqui! and I had my suitcase back with zero problems and headed back to Arica.
Not how I wanted to spend those two hours instead of getting to my hostel in Arica, but honestly? It was two hours. Big fuckin’ deal.
Winter is obviously not the ideal time to hang out in a beach town, but it was still cool. There were tons of people (well… some, anyway) decked out in wetsuits and diving around in the shallows, which I’m still not sure what they were looking for, and a fair few intrepid surfers.
I think this was the first time I’d been on the ocean since I left Florida, and even though it’s the wrong ocean, on the wrong side of a continent — it smelled kind of like home.
And man, there is something so viscerally strange and awesome — in the literal sense — in gazing out over the Pacific Ocean, and then pivoting and the fucking Andes are just, like, right there.
Southern California was weird enough, with its ocean and its cliffs, but like. The Andes. Right the fuck there, juxtaposed with palm trees. I miss those mountains in a way I can’t describe.