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Where the Desert meets the Sea

Arica, Chile

After a 10 hour overnight bus ride through the desert (probably didn´t miss much) we arrived in Arica near the Peruvian border.

After a moment of panic thinking that we had lost eachother in the public toilets, we caught our first taxi of the trip into the centre of the city and sat in a park looking for a hotel to book in to. After we had sorted that out and had a shower (we were still in the clothes we put on at 3:30am the day before) we decided to discover the coast by foot.

Arica is a strange town. We are at the same latitude as Cairns but instead of Rainforest meeting the sea, there is just sandy desert and big mountains with no vegitation. There is a massive bluff right next to the city which is where Chile defeated Peru in the Pacific war. Quite an interesting museum and a very impressive sight looming over the city.

We have just been chilling out for two days in the tropical beach climate. Andy made friends with a waiter who, when we stopped back into the restaurant for a coffee this morning was so happy to see us again, he shook our hands and gave us free biscuits. And finally after about 30 attempts at ordering a decent coffee we finally got it right. Chileans have their coffee black and when you ask for it ´with milk´(con leche) they make it with hot milk, instant coffee and no water.

We have also discovered that Chileans eat big. We have no idea how there are so many good looking Chilean women wandering around because they eat such big meals! All bread, rice and fried stuff. Our lunch today consisted of:

Bread with salsa,
A bowl of mixed vegetable soup,
A main of chicken, a cup of rice, and salad, followed by
Dessert of cake or some other sweet,
A half litre each of freshly made juice

All this for approximately $4.00 Australian each. The food here is not spicy or adventurous, really just a lot of BBQ chicken, fried eggs, hot dogs and steak. The people watching has been great in this city with guitar players and singers roaming up and down the local restaurants (Cath´s dad would love it, they are very talented musicians) and people playing dominoes in the street. Andy has really loved this town as it certainly isn´t set up for western tourists like San Pedro was.

We´ll upload some photos later, we didn´t bring our cables for the camera and only popped in to check email while we´re waiting for the post office to open up after its 3 hour lunch break (this is normal). We´ve noticed some of our pictures are coming up wrong or have been lost by the site so we´ll try and fix that when we can.

Tomorrow we are off on another bus adventure crossing into Peru and up to Arequipa. Its been great to spend two days doing very little and taking the city in after being toured out in San Pedro.

Talk to you from Peru,
Cath & Andy.

permalink written by  Cath & Andy on April 11, 2007 from Arica, Chile
from the travel blog: A journey to the alter and South America
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Join us on our journey to our wedding and our 2-month South American honeymoon. We will be married on 31 March 2007, in Narooma Australia and are honeymooning through Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina in April and May 2007.

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