Traversée Pérou/Chili...tout en couleurs

Trip Start Oct 23, 2009
Trip End Mar 17, 2010

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Flag of Chile  ,
Wednesday, January 6, 2010

For all those who don't speak French, I cry your pardon for not having updated earlier... :)

Arriving at Tacna in Peru, we head strait for the train station to grab a train to cross the border (bus is also possible but the guide book says that the train is quite ´folkloric´ - and it was). Waiting in line to buy tickets, an hour in advance, it is half an hour before departure with only 4 people left in-front of us that pushing and shoving commences for the last places (one of the officers announced only 10 spaces left.) The most wild and elbowing members of this makeshift queue were the ´´mamas´´, not hesitating to try and push in-front or ask people in-front to buy them tickets. Halfheartedly, out of elderly respect and unease at the situation we start pushing the mamas back arguing in Spanish that they have to wait there turn. Surprised by our intervention this slightly calmed their urge to push in-front of us but they still occasional passed by when we weren´t looking (and we were looking) trying to convince the few people in-front of us to purchase a ticket for them. An officer passes through the queue and grabs the passport/identity cards of ten first people in the queue - us included. This apparently guaranteed our place on the train but the mamas still tried to push in-front and when the last person in-front of us bought their ticket and our turn came to be the mamas took this opportunity to rush the ticket booth taking advantage of our foreignness but, slipping in-between two and pushed by ones behind us we managed to get our tickets!!

Getting onto the train we realise its a one carriage train (thus explaining the lack of places) and even though we had designate seats it was first come first serve.I tried to argue my case to sit next to agathe but gave up. After 5 mins the guy sitting next to agathe went out to by a bottle of water so I took his place, which made the others around laugh.They ´´introduced´´ me to a Chilean saying, which is exactly like a French one; ´´he who goes hunting loses his place´´. LoL. Dispiste all this everybody in the train was jolly and mostly smiling. A family of Chilieans including 3 chilidren was separated like me and Agathe, the mother was clearly shouting her disagreement at this. A war of words and playful insults followed this with the main theme being the Chilean and Peruvian rivalry - various wars between the two countries have marked there relationship with punctual political skirmishes (A month ago Peru bought 20 Chinese tanks wit politicians and media alike clearly indicating it was to thwart a potential Chilean aggression). All this lasted ten minutes with the family finally being reunited and after which a Peruvian lady sitting in-front of me asked us what we thought of the whole situation and that it must be weird to see it from an outsider point of view. It was a jolly 1 hour ride. Upon our arrival customs totally went through our bags but wihtin 10minutes we were out and at Arica.

Walked to a hotel foundin the guide book. They had one room left but at 40 dollars (this was a hostel) so we went to another one half the price but were full. Next one we were luck grabbed thelast room (and it was cheap - 15dollars). Walked around town had some food realised the clocks had gone forwards 2hrs (which is crazy, its as if there were 2hrs difference between Belgium and France). Went to bed early as we were knackered and to start the following day early.

Mercredi 6 Janvier 2010

Nous prenons un bus pour Tacna d´ou nous traversons la frontiere.
Arrivée Tacna apres 20h de bus a 15h.
Nous avons un train qui facilite apparement le passage douanier a 16h.
Arrivée a la gare, queue pas possible devant le guichet, ca s´excite, les mamas font du coude. IL reste pourtant des places mais on sent des tensions entre Chiliens et Peruviens.
Apres avoir renvoyé petre une mama qui voulait passer devant les deux seuls touristes de la queue, notre bras atteint le guichet et nous pouvons acheter notre ticket.
Un seul wagon en bois datant de l´avant ca continue a se prendre le chignon pour des histoires de places. Bref  traversée folklorique. Fouille des sacs a la frontiere avec un douanier loin d´etre aimable.
Nous trouvons un petit hotel a Arica.

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