Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, December 15, 2008

After Arequipa we had to make our way to Chile. We couldn't just take a bus across, which is what we were hoping for, but we could take a bus to the Peruvian boarder city of Tacna. We got into Tacna about 10:30pm and had just missed our last chance to get across the boarder that night. You have to hire a collectivo (group taxi) to take you. It's about an hour long trip. They stopped taking people at 10pm - so we stayed in Tacna for the night. We did have to check out a couple hostels before making our decision as the first one did not seem very safe. We found a decent place called Lido Hospedaje and stayed there for the night.

The next day we were basically having to wing it and hopefully make it across the boarder in time to get another bus to the beach town of Iquique, Chile. So, we got up and had a great breakfast at a diner next door (we got egg, ham and cheese) all on the same sandwich!!! - instead of our usual bread and water. We got a ride to the international bus station (there are very few buses and is mainly a taxi station) where we were immediately bombarded with taxi drivers. Even as we turned the corner to get in the parking lot a guy started running next to our taxi until we stopped and he tried to get our bags out of the trunk. So we stood there, each with 7 to 10 men around us talking to us in Spanish, trying to sell us on using their collectivo to cross the border. I don't know how we decided on someone but we got a good deal.

Brian and I rode in the front seat with the driver, who was a really great guy and who played Dito and various 80's music for us on his CD player. An older woman and her two children were in the back seat. The collectivo was an old Grand Marquis with an automatic transmission converted to manual (aka pretty sweet ride - Dad, please start looking for one of these for Brian). We drove for about 20 minutes in the middle of the desert and pulled up to the boarder crossing. We had to get out of the car with just some of our bags (that a guard picked out) and go through security. Once back in the car we drove half a mile and had to get out of the car again and this time with ALL of our bags. The first crossing was leaving Peru and the next was entering Chile. It would be a lot easier if these two stations happened to be in the same building! But it was funny. No wonder it takes over an hour and no wonder the taxi driver was trying to tell me to not worry about my seat belt for the 1/2 mile ride.
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