The first signs of Christmas appeared in Arica, Chile seeming somewhat out of place amidst the palm trees and happy vultures. The plan was, when ariving in Arica, get hotel room, leave stuff there, have glorious glorious showers, bus to Nazca that night. That plan became: do all of the above except skip Nazca and spend two days in our seaside luxury overlooking THE PACIFIC OCEAN. That´s right folks, for $18 per night we lived it up with hot water, clean sheets and a patio view of the beach.
The town itself was reasonably hip as well. The biggest shocker had to be, after 3 months without the western capitalism snuggling up with me at night, the giant yellow arches in the shopping district. So like good westerners we went…you know, just to test if it was the same. One, no it isn´t. It is really fancy with western music blaring outside, IKEA chairs and a Chef´s menu (please, next time you´re in McD´s ask to meet the ‘chef’ and the 16 year old with zits will be happy to spit in your burger). Being not all that hungry I just ate a few fries but Kate polished off some burger meal and we went off in search of a sea museum. I believe we have a new guinness record because in no more than 15 minutes Kate was huddled on the ground trying to contain her aforementioned lunch when we located the museum just in time and desperately begged for sanctuary in the washroom before touring. You don´t need the details but let´s just say she won´t be going to that fastfood chain again soon.
Back on the shore away from the unsettling elves in department stores and misplaced holiday tunes we disturbed hoards of sea life to satisfy our curiosity. Vultures watched us from the palm trees, pelicans fled as I sneakily tried to get a better look and crabs shuddered back into the sand. We turned over rocks for hours finding anenomes, sea urchins, snails and so many fun creatures. From the dock I could watch the red-topped jellyfish float to their doom on the shore. I fulfilled my dream of walking along the shore as tide was going out and finding ‘treasures’ left behind by the sea. A few little crabby friends included.
Sadly the adventure had to end and we parted ways in Arequipa where I met a few friends (one german girl and two dudes from the US), stayed in a hostal that was once an old colonial home. We went out for Alpaca steak (yes, even I had to try it just once). My thoughts: wow, this is really good. This tastes very similar to what I remember steak tasting like. Oh no, do I LIKE STEAK?