I don´t actually hate taxi cab drivers. Just one. Hold on, I´ll get there.
We woke up early in the morning to catch our bus to Tacna, which offers nothing other than a really easy crossing point into Chile. The bus ride was long, but we got to watch half of Bad Boys II (before the DVD quit). We passed through miles and miles of desert, and the monotony helped me fall asleep. I was awakened when the attendant started passing around BINGO cards. Yes, BINGO. Forty-five minutes of listening to BINGO numbers being called in Spanish when you´re trying to sleep is a nightmare. A very, very, very awake nightmare. Haha.
The trick to getting from Peru to Chile is to take a cab across the border. It´s easy and costs about five bucks. As soon as we stepped off the bus, we were bombarded by cab drivers. Long story short, we chose a guy who actually had an office. It didn´t make any difference, we still were squished into a Buick with the driver and three other passengers. Jason and I couldn´t do anything but look at eachother and laugh. It definitely felt like we were being smuggled across the border. A packed Buick, racing along with nothing but desert on the horizon. But don´t worry, Mom. It was legit. The customs process was easy, and we were in Arica, Chile in about an hour.
As soon as I went to the ATM I realized that my mathematically challenged self would struggle with the currency. In Peru, it was three sols to a dollar. Easy enough. Here, it´s 671.75 pesos to a dollar. Uh oh. This issue became very apparent when I paid our cab driver from the Arica bus station to the hostel three minutes away 30 bucks. And the jerk had the audacity to give me 50 cents change. Haha. And they call themselves a Christian nation!?!? HA! Lesson learned. I was more frustrated with my own mistake than losing the 30 bucks. But still. If I ever see him again… Grrrrr…
To calm down, and to enjoy the moment, we walked along the beach. Arica has HUGE waves, and is a fun spot for surfers. Around 7:45, we decided it was time for dinner. Well, restaurants don´t even open until AT LEAST 8 in Chile. Even though it was 8:30 when we chose a place, we were some of the only people there. And yes, we spent 20,000 pesos on dinner. Living the high life. It sounds way more expensive than it is.
Because it´s on the water, Arica is known for having good sea food. I can testify that it does indeed. And Chilean wine is alright too. I guess. I mean, I don´t really know… Ha! (Okay, I do know. It´s fabulous.)
Another thing that helped erase the resentment left by the cab driver was the wonderful couple that runs the hostel we stayed at. She is French and he is Chilean–and they both are incredibly sweet. She even made me a complimentary breakfast an hour past the time the complimentary breakfast ended. Awww.
Today, we´re just hanging out, walking around. We´ll probably go to the beach, but the water is a little too CHILE chilly. I´m hilaaaaaaaaaaaarious.
Next up is San Pedro de Atacama. I´m seriously pumped.
Hope you all have a good Thanksgiving!