Travel Journal

Chilling in Chile

(Friday 9 October 2015) by Karen O'Shea
Welcome to Chile

(Or as it is pronounced here. Chilaay! B-)

Well lets start with the border crossing. It was very thorough on the Chilean side. On the Bolivian side it was so laid back we got our passports stamped for exit two days before we left..I cant work it out either. :-?

There were a lot more police and custom officers here. They went through all my bags, even though I had nothing I couldnt help but feel uneasy. In fairness the officers were very nice and helped me repack, especially when I started dropping things (me nerves me nerves 8-O

It was pretty amazing the instant changes between Bolivia and Chile. Once we came out of the desert in Bolivia and hit the border, the Chilean side was fully tarmacadamed with safety barriers and road signs!! And it was all downhill which meant . Less altitude!! :-p

We arrived in a small down called San Pedro De Atacama. De Atacama is the worlds driest desert and it hasn't rained here in over 200 years..might just repeat that no rain in over 200 years!! :-?

I just lounged around that day as we had just come from 3 days of roughing it in Bolivia. As it turned out the hotel messed up our bookings and I ended up in a lovely big room with a 50 TV. (oh this travel thing can be such a nightmare..lol)!;-)

On the downside the TV was probably bigger than the bathroom. In order to go into the bathroom it was like playing twister..! I got my knee jammed plenty times between the door and the shower door anyway what is a bruised knee when I could get to watch the rugby!!;-)

San Pedro is a pretty cool town. About 1500 inhabitants. It is like a town from a western movie. All the shop fronts are really pretty and all the signs and lampposts are carved from wood. Even the streets are just dust and dirt. They can afford to pave them but chose not to. Its really a unique place. All I wanted to do was ride into town on horseback......and guess what.....
the following day I did just that. I can say it was enjoyable for most part but my horse was a little giddy at times but eventually we bonded or he just got tired not sure which!! :-?

We also took a trip to Moon Valley which is out in the desert. Witnessed a beautiful sunset which threw amazing colours onto the Andes.
Anyway got back to watch the rugby on my massive screen which needed planning permission!:-)

We went out that Saturday night for dinner and drinks. What I learned that evening was Chile have very weird/strange drinking laws. Ok picture the scene; all 16 of our group arrive into a restaurant, order food and drinks. The waiter brings over the beers in glasses and also brings the empty bottles. I laughed at this thinking why bother as he will only have to clear more off the table. :-?:-?

As we were quenching our thirsts and feeling quite happy about our day and how much we deserved a drink, we noticed it said on the empty bottles alcohol free in Spanish!!!!! My god I thought we had been conned and the joke was on us!!! But the waiter noticed our confusion and explained they didn't serve alcohol..WINK WINK!! ;-);-) Turned out they didn't have an alcohol license, hence why they left the alcohol free bottles on the table.
By the way wine was served in a teacup with saucer and spoon........so so funny!!! ;-)

It got better; Later on we decided to pop into a bar for a drink on the way home. But we weren't served as we were standing up...........I rest my case about Chilean pub laws!!!!

I must say I really enjoyed my time here San Pedro. It was nice to have a breather after a few full days roughing it in Bolivia.
On Monday 5th October we got an overnight bus to the seaside town of la Serena. Seaside town equals sea level equals no more altitude.......whay hay!!

16 hours on the bus to get there mind you!!! Actually the bus journey was really fine, got the bus at 5 pm, looked out at the countryside and played my iPod till 10 ish. Settled down for the night round 11 ish and woke up the following morning at 8 ish when the bus assistant was handing me breakfast..Not bad eh!!:-p

The instructions in the hotel in La Sarena were as follows. if there was an earthquake....... stay in your room if it was a 6..... or head to the carpark if it was an 8. Sorry but how does one know the difference between a 6 and an 8 and what happens if its a 7????? :-?:-?We were told all this as there was a big 8.6 earthquake here 3 weeks ago.

Took a little walk around the city later in the day. I found it quite amusing, you know at home when you stop at traffic lights and someone tries to clean your windscreen or sell you a newspaper, well here you have belly dancers who just throws themselves in front of traffic when the lights are red...........so hilarious!!

Following morning 5 am. Got woken up............... by a 4.7 earthquake!! Not big but it was new to me. Everything shook including myself for about 4/5 seconds. To be honest I wasnt very frightened as they said this may happen but what was really eerie was the noise it made in the dead of night. :-(

Chile is a pretty nice country too. It is way more modern, developed and expensive then Peru or Bolivia. Its actually quite European/Western. I have only spent six days here and some of those days were travel days but Chilaaay is like the holiday within the holiday, (before I return to reality.......lol). B-)B-)

Ok..a few days later!

To sum up my whole trip I really had an amazing time. It was jam packed with adventure and new experiences. I got to see firsthand only things I have dreamt about. I got to go from the Andes to the Amazon, from Machu Picchu to the Salt flats, from the worlds highest city to the worlds driest Desert and why not throw in an earthquake while I am at it!!!! It truly had it ALL. :-):-)

You know as I write this I still cant believe it was me who did all that..

Everyone has been very nice along the way, from the locals to my fellow travelers, everyone has added to my experiences.
I would like to thank you all for popping by my blog and leaving messages. It is always nice to hear from home and you my friends. And while I am at it, am just going to give myself a wee pat on the back for getting out there and doing this. At times when I was planning, I would have a MOMENT OF PANIC every so often and question.. What the hell was I at? Thankfully the moments passed .....and well............ here I am. ;-)

So muchas gracias my amigos ..............now its time for 36 hours of travel, 4 airports, 3 time changes = 1 small pain in the rear haha :-);-)B-)

Until my next adventure Adios Amigos ...;-)
Love to you all
Little k x x B-)

  • Muchas gracias to you by Mandy
  • Bon Voyage by Gearoidin


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