January 22, 2012
The second trip into Chile was amazing. I went from Arequipa to Tacna to meet with my customs guy. I had forgotten how unbelievable that ride down is. It is all desert, but the stark, desolate, lifeless beauty is incredible. And I don’t want to forget all the twistys as well. Seriously, someone needs to get down here on a bike and join up.
I learned I have to go back to Chile one more time. I can either store my bike in Customs ($300) for up to one year, ship it home, or nationalize it ($2000). If I nationalize it I can leave it here forever and eventually sell it. I have a few weeks to decide.
The border crossing was a piece of cake and I wanted to stay a night in Chile this time and check it out. I found a fun, party type backpackers hostel and pulled in. I immediately met a ton of really cool people. We all traded our travel stories for awhile, then the Finnish couple and I headed to the supermarket to get stuff to grill.
I fired up the grill, it had been since June. I loved it!!! An interesting Dutch kid was celebrating his 19th birthday that night so we decided to party it up. So it was me, the Finnish couple, 3 Japanese guys, two other Dutch girls, a French girl, an Australian guy, 2 British guys, and 3 Chileans sitting around having a few drinks and playing games. I ended up pulling out the guitar, and of course I sang “One Semester of Spanish Love Song” to one of the Chileans. It was a lot of fun.
It got me thinking about me skipping the ride home. I would have had a LOT of nights like that. There are just so many interesting people traveling, and they all have these cool stories about themselves and their adventures. But it is always just that one or two nights. I value relationships more and even though I had a great time, I am glad I have made much stronger connections in Ollanta.
The next day I checked out Arica. There was a random bike race there which reminded me of Burgos when Jeff and I were there. The plaza was amazing, way nicer than the ones in Peru. Then I drove up to the outlook for a view of the city and the ocean. Once again, I was so sad that I wasn’t able to share that moment with anyone. It was so beautiful. I did have a nice chat with a Chilean man, however. The bike is always a big hit.
The border went alright, and I decided to just go to Tacna to sleep. I was very tired and needed a little down time.