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March 2016

Chile

A quick but much needed weekend of adventure!

I’ve been debating my feelings between solo and none solo travel for a while now, and this weekend only verified the different aspects I was realizing I liked/ disliked about each.

15 days ago when I arrived in Peru and was suppose to be given a 90 day tourist visa, I was given 20 days. So to re-set my visa I needed to make a trip to Chile. I am currently in Arequipa taking a TEFL course and when I was asking my professor about the crossing process a class mate decided he’d join me, Jon. Jon has never traveled before nor does he speak any Spanish. He quit his job in LA as a lifeguard and film editor only about 1.5 months ago and decided to make a change in his life.

Departure: Leaving a city at 10pm and arriving to a new one at 4am is always much better with a travel buddy. As mentioned before Jon doesn’t know any Spanish and this is really his first time traveling so even though I was still organizing everything etc. I just felt calmer walking around the streets with someone else.

We caught a shared Taxi around 5am and headed across the boarder with ease and arrived in Arica, Chile around 8am. Now before we left I thought Jon had downloaded the google map of Arica so we could get to our hostel, that wasn’t the case. I was too tired to even try and ask for directions as Chileans talk faster, with an accent, and use way more slang terms then other Spanish speaking countries. My map read skills came in handy tho and figured out we were only a 15 minute walk away from the hostel we wanted to stay at.

Hostel: I had looked up Sunny Days Hostel literally 12 hours before we arrived and online said they had 5 open beds. However, upon arrival the very kind Kiwi owner, Ross, told us he was full. Luckily his neighbor Yoyo, who was the definition of a surfer dude, had some spare beds he usually let his surfer buddies sleep in. Ross invited us back over for breakfast since it was only about 8:45 am.

Breakfast was a full buffet, fruits, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, tea and coffee, juice, and of course bread and jam. Yoyo came over to the hostel and invited Jon to go surfing  so he headed off and I would have the day to myself. I headed towards the city but in search of the beach. I checked out the fisherman’s wharf but then headed to the water where I really wanted to be. After living in San Diego for about 4 years going more than a couple weeks with out sun makes me a little crazy, and it had been about 7 months since I had had a good beach day.

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The Beach: There is something about sitting on the beach, anywhere that is amazing. But sitting on the beach in Chile. I had never thought about saying that sentence before. So when it flooded into my brain I experienced the most wonderful calm. I was laying on the beach in Chile, and nothing else mattered. What other amazing experiences have I not even thought of yet?

After laying out for almost 2 hours I decided to head back to the hostel, but on the way I saw this adorable little Tiki Hut and decided I was thirty, then I realized I was hungry too! The Mango smooth I had was the best I have ever had. It was literally just fresh mango and water, it tasted completely natural (as it was) but still delicious! I also decided to get a little burrito and whatever scause they had on it was absolutely delicious!

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Once back at the hostel I hung around and just chatted with other travelers, all of which were backpacking up from the south of chile and half of which were actually heading to Arequipa the next morning like us. Talking to them about their travel stories in South America only made me more excited for my trip in August! I headed up to Ell Morro de Arica (Main pic) for the sunset and boy was it gorgeous!

As much as I love new experiences, especially with locals, I am no fun to be around if I don’t get enough sleep. After only getting 4hours of sleep the prior night, I really needed sleep that night. My host at the surf house was having a party (really just a kickback) that night so I stopped by for a while but it turned out the Hostel actually did have some open beds so I grabbed one of those. Jon stayed at the surf house and said they were all up until about 4 am playing music so I definitely wouldn’t have gotten any sleep if I had stayed.

The next day was mostly spent on the road. We got up and ate some breakfast, headed to the taxi station, crossed the boarder, grabbed a bus and spent most of our afternoon on the bus!

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That ONE American Traveler.

You know THAT one.

That one who only wants to party.

That one who didn’t bother to learn any of the local language.

That one who expects to use his/ her charm to get help from other travelers.

That one who doesn’t care to respect cultural norms.

That one who’s traveling on Mommy and Daddy’s money.

That one who simply isn’t respectful of other travelers or locals.

That one who gets their shit stolen cause they left their stuff laying out or were drunk.

That one who gives a bad name for all American Travelers.

You know, THAT one.

First Wash out of a Bucket

No I am not in the middle of a jungle where there is no running water. I am in Arequipa, Peru where they had a rain storm last week that damaged the water pipes and have been out of water for 5 days now.

Arriving to my home stay in Arequipa turned out to be a little more of an adventure then I anticipated. The flight from Lima to Arequipa is about 1 hour and 20 minutes. We had been in the air for about an hour when they announced we needed to turn around due to bad weather, back to Lima we went! 30 minutes after disembarking and being told we wouldn’t be able to fly out until 5:30am and would all have to sleep in the airport they decided the weather was cleared up enough.

I arrived in Arequipa around midnight and one of the coordinators from my TEFL school came to pick me up with her nanny from about 25 years ago. About 15 minutes after driving we suddenly got out, I hadn’t been paying attention to the conversation going on in the taxi but apparently the Nanny had been concerned of the route the taxi driver was taking us.  We then spent the next 15 minutes on the side of the road trying to hail a taxi, me thinking it was just another adventure and the coordinator freaking out. But luckily an elderly gentleman stopped to pick us up and I arrived in one piece to my home stay.

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The next morning I was able to meet my host mom, her husband, daughter (who left the next morning for Lima), her son (still lives at home but I haven’t seen him since ha) and the son’s girlfriend. All of which were extremely friendly, welcoming, and willing to put up with my broken Spanish! After lunch with everyone my host mom, her daughter, and I headed to the city center. We needed to take a 10 minute mini bus, there is a driver and someone standing in the door who takes you .80 Peruvian sol (about 25 cents) when you disembark. The whole thing is quite entertaining. There are also Alpaca’s in the park across the street from my TEFL school.

There’s a quote from Pirates of the Caribbean about “The Code is more what you call guidelines, than actual rules…” And this is how Peruvian drivers, especially taxi drivers, feel about the lines on the road, they’re just guidelines. Any time I am in a taxi I keep thinking we’re going to get hit because the drivers is in two lanes or on the wrong side of the road! Later on when I visited the market again there was a woman modeling in front of the fruits, not exactly sure why…..

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Eventually I needed to shower, but the water still wasn’t running through the pipes. SO my host mom filled a bucket with about 1/3 water, then boiled a giant pot of water to add to create nice lukewarm water. It really made me assess just how much water is wasted when showering, even a quick one. I only needed a bucket to wash my body and hair, the same amount of water would probably be used in about 30 seconds of showering.

Overall I mainly spent my first couple days in Arequipa getting to know my host family and preparing for my TEFL course to start!

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