Tax free and fancy free

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Apr 03, 2011

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Flag of Chile  , Tarapacá,
Thursday, December 9, 2010

When we arrived in Iquique we were pleasantly surprised to find that our hostel was right next to the beach. We all went to the mall to try and find our bargains only to find that nothing was really that cheap. Yea there was no tax on anything, however the prices were very high, especially iPods. I ended up only buying a Phillips MP3 player and a Sony camera for 49,000 pesos and 129,000 pesos respectively.

We went to the beach -  The weather was really hot and although the sea was still cold it wasn't freezing like Santiago. The evenings were spent playing drinking games with the Americans and Australians where we played Ring of Fire with red wine.

Walking through the city itself we found ourselves in dangerous and run down neighbourhoods, we found this out by a shopkeeper telling us about that fact that this wasn't really a good neighbourhood for gringos.

It was a nice little find with the beach far outdoing the bargains that we went there for.

Our next stop was to the salt flats of Bolivia, however there was no direct bus from Iquique to Uyuni (the north part of the Salt Flats) so we had to get to San Pedro (south part of the salt flats in Chile). To do this we got a bus to Calama where I managed to fall asleep at about half 1, got woken up at half 2 to get off the bus in the freezing cold for a bag search, then delayed for another 2 hours for something or other, then got into Calama for about 7ish. The bus didn't stop at any bus station so we had to walk around to find a bus depot (shut) and wait in a nearby cafe. we got the 2 hr bus to san Pedro which crossed amazing desert into the Oasis of San Pedro.

San Pedro is an awesome little find, there arn't any bars, but plenty of restaurant, a central plaza with wifi and amazing scenery all around. You can do 1 day salt, geiser, star and sunset tours, however we decided that we would see this on the 3 day  Salt tour into Bolivia. Leaving at 8am tomorrow - should be cool!!!
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