Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.
Today we’re still in South America and we’ll take a look at the yummy things in Chile.
I spent a short time in Chile. In fact, I made the decision to go to Chile less than 24 hours before the flight. Initially I had planned to visit Ecuador but there were flight complications so I ended up buying a US$400 ticket to Chile.
The only reason why I was in Chile was to hang around for sometime before heading to Peru where I would be spending a month with a 30-day visa.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have reached the last South American country of this trip (unless some millionaire decides to whisk me off to Bolivia/ Ecuador/ French Guiana/ Colombia.) I am now in Peru, the land of Machu Picchu and cerviche.
Before we all head out for a Pisco Sour, let me recount my 11-hour journey from my hostel in Arica, Chile to my homestay house in Arequipa, Peru. This trip involved a lot of deserts and not so much desserts.
My Arequipa language school advised me to reach Arequipa between 5pm and 8pm. I did a bit of calculations on a paper napkin and concluded that leaving the hostel at 11am should be OK.
What I didn’t realize was that the distance between Arica and Tacna was really really far. It took about 1 hour 30 minutes for me to get there from Arica’s terminal.
I took one of the shared taxis (collectivo) to Tacna. The front seat was modified to fit two slim people and the driver. However, my big butt ended p in the front seat with a slim Peruvian girl while the back seat held three other people.
From Arica to Peru’s border, the taxi played greatest hits from Backstreet Boys. I sang along softly to songs such as “I want it that way”, “Larger than life”, “Show me the meaning of being lonely” while I watched the desert fly by.
In the desert, the sun seemed to shine extra strongly. I had my sunglasses on but the rest of my face was still affected by the rays.
After a long while, we finally reached Chile’s border. Everyone got out the car and showed themselves to the custom officer.
Then we got on the car and drove about 2km to Peru’s side of the border. Here, we took our bags out (I had 4!) and went through customs and X-ray machines.
I was given 30 days in Peru which is just right since I’m leaving on August 4.
Then we got on the car again and drove for a long long long time before we reached Tacna. I dragged all my belongings with me and changed my Chilean pesos into Peruvian soles. My 20,000 pesos turned into a 100 soles note and a few coins which depressed me a little.
I dragged everything to the national terminal just outside of the international terminal. I found the booth for Flores and bought a 25 soles (S$12.50) bus ticket to Arequipa. Everything was just too easy.
After I finished buying the ticket, I was approached by 3 Peruvian girls, who asked if they could interview me for a school project.
At first I was worried that they were a pickpocket gang. Then I remembered that I can’t even reach my important stuff so how could they?
One of the girls pointed a phone camera at me as I sat through several Spanish questions about how I find Peru, where I was heading to, what we language we speak in Malaysia and what sort of dance we do.
In the end, I was asked to say a few words in my language. I did a very awkward Chinese monologue about how I just reached Peru and Thank You Very Much.
This was all very strange.
I eventually got on my bus and sat there for the next 6 hours or so. I napped a lot as it was too hot to admire the scenery. I did take some photos for you.
The sun set completely at about 6pm. While the bus wound through the curvy mountain road, I saw stars for maybe the first time in South America. I couldn’t tell if they were satellites or stars but the sky was beautiful.
The bus reached Arequiapa at about 7:15pm. I followed the school’s instructions and waited for a cab to drive into the terminal compound instead of catching one outside.
I was ushered into a car with three other ladies who were squashed in the backseat. I believe I was charged the Foreigner price so I could sit comfortably in front.
When we reached the home stay place, te cab waited for me while I rang the bell. The host mother came out and I grabbed my bags.
So I’ll be staying with Srna G and her two late-teens for the week. Stay tuned for more home stay fun!
I usually pride myself in being one of the first few people who wake up earliest for breakfast. It’s some stupid thing I think of to feel superior over others who drink themselves silly the night before.
However, at Arica Surfhouse where I was staying, I was the last to wake up at 8:30am. There were 11 other beds in my room but I the only one in the room when I woke up.
Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
I guess I have to explain a little about this hostel. It’s called Arica Surfhouse and surfing is one of its selling points. There are surfboards everywhere and people just look tanned and happy. Oh, at 6:30pm, there is a free yoga session (tips happily accepted).
Oh, a guy with a beard was doing yoga when I left the room for lunch.
I guess all signs point to a health hostel and not a party hostel which totally fits me. Plus, the Brazilian receptionist looks like a cute non-Hulk Edward Norton but is unfortunately sexist (the things you learn by being at the wrong place at the right time.
Anyway, I decided to extend one night’s stay here in Arica because sitting on a bus for several hours to Arequipa kind of scares me now.
What do I do with an extra day in Chile? Nothing, like in Kandy and Athens.
Still, I don’t want to leave Arica and tell everyone that I didn’t take a look at the town so I went out around noon for lunch and some photos.
Views of Arica
After being in the big Europe-like cities of Buenos Aires and Santiago, I felt that I finally had a real taste of South America. Well, at least small town South America.
Buildings here don’t go too high up. Buildings are painted in bright colors but they are all in harmony with their neighbors.
Christopher Columbus Square
I decided to tick one thing off my Things to See in Arica. I checked my location on Google Map and walked down San Marco street to the San Marcos de Arica Cathedral. This church was commissioned to Gustave Eiffel, not that I could tell.
I debated whether I should check out the beach which was about 5 minutes away. I decided not to because I don’t care much for the beach, even if there are seals.
After the walk, I headed back to the hostel for a good nap. Now it’s about 7pm and it’s pitch black. I should go out and find food but I’ll take my time.
For me, while sitting on the bus for 23 hours is torturous, it is not as torturous as forking out a large chunk of the remaining of my savings. That was how I found myself on seat 20 on a semi-cama bus.
I broke down the journey into two: Santiago to La Serena and La Serena to Arica. Somehow, 23 hours of journey felt better than 30 hours straight on the bus.
I decided not to do a post similar to 31 hours of travelling because I get motion sickness when I try to read or write on a vehicle with wheels. I wish I didn’t have this problem since I would be able to read a lot more books when travelling.
I was seated next to a Chilean guy with large arms. I still had the aisle to put the rest of my arm and my feet so it wasn’t that bad.
On the bus, I managed to watch A Good Day to Die Hard and Hitchcock in Spanish. The first film didn’t require much listening skills since it’s all about blowing things up. Thankfully I’ve watched Hitchcock on the plane before.
Tur-Bus has a built in warning system that rings whenever the bus goes more than 100km/hour. There is a beeeeeep and the bus would slow down a little.
The bus was had air conditioning, which was great since I believe we passed through many places where the temperature was really cold. At one point, we were driving among the fog/clouds on a windy mountain road.
When we stopped at terminals to pick up people, I would go off the bus to breathe some of the cold fresh air. Ventilation on the bus wasn’t fantastic.
Food on a 23-hour bus ride
Some snacks and breakfast was included in my bus ride. However, the food provided was not enough to satisfy even a sedentary adult.
I had 6 green apples from Santiago and munched on them when I felt a bit of motion sickness. The sweet juicy apples helped keep things from coming up my throat.
Arriving in Arica
I figured out we were in Arica when everybody got off the bus. I only had 10,000 notes and 60 cents with me so I broke my note by topping up 1,000 peso on my phone.
Armed with a few 1,000 pesos, I followed the directions from the hostel and went to the opposite side of the road. Bus #8 came, I got on, asking in terrible Spanish if the bus went to the road I was going to. It did.
Using Google Maps [Tip! Save a spot on your app and the map for the area will still be there when you need it.], I found my hostel. I checked in, took a shower, tried to blog, napped and woke up for dinner. I had to walk to the main street for some local fast food but my belly thanked me for putting something–anything!–in it.
I’m now finishing up this post in my 12-bed (beds, not bunk beds, thankfully) in Arica Surfhouse. There’s no heating here but the temperature feels like a nice 17 degrees.