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Old 04-14-2013, 09:29 PM   #71
camitzi OP
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Joined: Feb 2013
Location: Vancouver BC
Oddometer: 94
Last days in Chile and back to Peru

After Pedro de Atacama we took the Hwy 23 to the coast.

We made a stop in Calama, where Vasile got a front tire.

When we were leaving, there was a big demonstration on the highway, and the whole road leading to the city was blocked. We were happy the road going out was free.

After a couple of hours on the road the temperatures raised significantly for a short little while (30-33 C), making us take off some layers. It was so hot and dry and static. We didnít see one living soul around, not even insects.

The only moving things were the sand tornadoes everywhere.

But as soon as we got closer to the coast, the temperatures dropped again to about 17 C. And we saw this floating mist cloud over the coast line.

We got to the coast in Tocopilla, a very industrial town by the ocean. We had a good meal while debating if we should stay there for the night or not. Eventually we decided to keep going, as there was not much to do or see there, except the big ships floating on the water and all the machinery on the shore.

So we kept going up north on the cost, and we got to Iquique right after it got dark.

People play golf here too

We found a hotel and we went for a sushi dinner. We missed sushi so much! The food was alright, but they put cream cheese in all the rolls!?
The next day Vasile went and found a rear tire for my bike. As he found a rear tire for his bike too, he agreed with the owner that he would go with his bike in 20 minutes. But when he got there at 15 to 1, they told him that in 15 minutes they were starting their siesta, therefore he would have to come back at 4. In vain Vasile insisted for them just to sell him the tire and he would replace it himself, so he didnít have to go back again, no, siesta is siesta in Chile. Vasile got so pissed off, he did not go back anymore. His tire was not too bad yet, so he could still ride on it to Lima where he would find one.
Iquique is a nice city on the beach. Apparently people are attracted here by the business opportunity, as there are no taxes.

On the way out of town we saw the biggest Coca Cola sign in the world.

The next day we crossed the border into Peru and we realized how much we missed it. We decided to take a different route this time, to get to know this part of Peru as well. So we crossed the border through Arica and we continued up north on the coast, through the desert. One more time Peru surprised us in a wonderful way. We were expecting the ride to be a bit boring and hot through the desert. But this time it was not flat desert, as it was in the north, but mountain desert, with a great twisty road and a fabulous view. And the temperature was rather cool.

We stopped one night in Chala, a beautiful town on the beach, where the sunset is breathtaking.

As we were so craving some sun we decided to stop by the oasis in Huacachina again and spend a couple of lazy days by the pool and in the hammocks. But unfortunately with Peru came Montezumaís revenge again. Both Vasile and I were sick for a few days, so instead of really enjoying the days in the oasis, that became recovery time.
But for Vasile the best medicine is working on his bike. So while I was recovering at the hotel, he removed the evacuation canister on his bike, removed the catalysers from the exhaust pipes and fixed his side stand again (it was cracked again). And then he played a bit on the sand dunes to try his lighter bike.

And this is why one should not leave the roomís door open

These little creatures were extremely friendly. They were walking around tourists without a problem at all. But I still donít know how one of them ended up in our room, or how long she had been in there for. I just found her trying hard to get out of Vasile's stuff with no success.
After a couple of days of recovery time at the oasis both Vasile and I got better and we hit the road again, heading to Lima. Details in the next report.
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