Stress, relaxation and celebration
Trip Start Aug 11, 2010
77Trip End May 21, 2011
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Once in the terminal, we had different people approaching us trying to sell us tickets for something. One guy offered us the best price for a colectivo and actually had the Chilean immigration forms so we went with him but it was stressful as he wasn't very helpful and was difficult to communicate with when it seemed to suit him
Despite the fact it was over, we still felt a bit anxious about the shared cab ride ahead- this was not something we were used to. Luckily, the taxi driver was friendly which put us at ease and one of the ladies there was helpful. The taxi driver played some loud classical music which made it all a bit surreal. As we were about to pass through Chilean immigration one of the women in our taxi asked us to hold her bag and take it through for her. A big no no. We just pretended that we did not understand her…..
It was a relief to finally arrive in Arica but we decided to head out straight away and get a bus to Iquique so that we did not have to do any travel the next day. We went on a nice bus with the company Tur Bus
It was nice to wake up the next day in a new place, in a new country, and to not have to travel anywhere. After a good breakfast of bread and caramel spread, and changing from a twin room to a lovely double with balcony, we went out and explored. Iquique is somewhere that is easy to like as it has all the things that you expect from a city but is still quite unique as it also has a long stretch of beach, which is heavily pounded by the pacific, and is overlooked by the slopes of mountainous sand dunes. It was a great place for us to relax. We especially liked the main street that ran through the town and into the central plaza because of its wooded pavements, tram lines, the peeling beauty of the wooden-faced buildings, reminiscent of ‘wild-west’ films, and street sculptures made from salt and stone.
We were in Iquique when the Chilean miners were rescued from their 70 days of turmoil. As we walked back to the hostel at night all the drivers began tooting their horns and shouting out of the windows in celebration as the news spread that the last man had been pulled out. As we stepped inside our hostel, everyone was focused on the news as the Chilean Prime Minister greeted the final rescued miner. It was an emotional time for many and we were pleased to share this moment with them.