Beach, Siesta, Internet, n' Shopping Malls

Trip Start Oct 10, 2001
Trip End Feb 19, 2002

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Flag of Chile  ,
Saturday, February 2, 2002

Although the city of Arica is closer to Peru and Bolivia than the capital city of Santiago de Chile, it is unquestionably more modern than any city we have came upon. The streets were well paved and broad, cars followed traffic rules, the red roofed houses, all enclosed with fences, are influenced by real estate prices, and the residents seemed less dangerous but also lacked the openness. We felt safe here, no worries, always sunny weather, no homeless kids begging us to buy handicrafts, but the differences were little hard to get accustom to at first. The Chilean Spanish, as Juliette noted, was more complicated and fast-spoken compared to other Central and South American countries, it was difficult to understand and communicate with the locals. This was probably due to the high literacy and education of the people here, or perhaps, it's because temperature is so hot during the day that everyone speak faster to avoid standing under the sun too long.

When we walked into a shopping mall, the air conditioning was super comfortable that we didn't want to leave. Until, at around 1pm that every shop closed for the "siesta" for 3 hours. It is too hot to conduct business during mid-afternoon, even the cafes were closed. We had nowhere to go, so we walked around the empty city center, its streets, the parks, the pedestrian mall; it was as if we were the only survivors left after a biological warfare because we acquired immunity. Finally, we found an internet cafe to check the news of Argentina and possibly booking a hotel in Rio during Carnival week (no luck), and most importantly we had to get out of the sun that was burning my scalp like a boiled lobster.

So after booking our bus ticket to Santiago, we relaxed on the beautiful beach again. This will be our last time swimming in the Pacific on this trip, so we thoroughly enjoyed it until sunset. Our bus leaves at midnight, an unwelcoming 30+ hours bus to Santiago awaits us.
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