shapeofthings: (Default)
It´s my second day back in Santiago. Tomorrow I catch the plane back to Syndey.

My holidays have felt over since I flew out of Cusco, Peru. I think I left my heart in the Peruvian Andes. I left Kat there too.

Santiago is a big, dirty city with no natural beauty to speak of. Luckily I made friends with two Dutch girls at the hostel and today we went adventuring out together. First of all we tried to go to the famous Musuem of Pre-Columbian Art only to discover it was closed. After that we walked to Cerro San Christobel and took the furnicular up to the top to take in the view just to find the smog was so bad you could only see for a couple of city blocks. Ah, Santiago...

I loved Peru. The people, the cities, the mountains, the language. In Peru I can hold a conversation with most anyone I meet. Here in Chile they don´t speak Spanish, per se, but their own derivative of Castillian and I struggle with it. I can catch the gist of things but can´t really converse. Peru and its people now hold a special place in my heart and I find myself thinking about going back, perhaps looking for work there for a year or two. Who knows, eh? If I could, I´d jump a plane back to Cusco right now.

Tonight I pack my bags for the 2nd last time. I have 1 night in Sydney then on Friday I´m home, no matter how unreal that feels right now.

At night I dream of the Andes.
shapeofthings: (Default)
Hola desde Arica!

Hello from Arica! It´s a city in northern Chile where the desert meets the sea. Apparently the surf is good here, but I´m spoilt where I grew up and Australian beaches are prettier.

We´re spènding the night in a back-packers hostel before crossing the border into Peru in the morning. It´s a good crowd here: only one American, a German girl, two Brazillian guys and 3 Swiss. I´d forgotten how much fun it is to have a conversation jumping languages yet everyone remaining on the same page. It´s been 16 years snce my life looked anything like this. Way too long!

The Atacama Desert was amazing, though me managed to time our visit to coincide with the busiest weekend of the year, so everything was more expensive than anticipated, the sites were crowded and we didn´t get to do all the tours we wanted. We still had a brilliant time though! The desert is beautiful.

We took an overnight bus from San Pedro de Atacama to here, arriving at 6 am (10 hour trip). Considering we only got 3 hours´sleep the night before (due to taking a late night star tour and an early morning trip to the geysers - all we could book in for) we´re doing well. The cheap but good Chilean wine is helping!

So tomorrow we cross the border and head to Arequipa to get our altitude legs back and see the condors out at Colca Canyon (since we missed the flamingos in Atacama), then we´re off to Cusco & Machu Picchu. I´m looking forward to getting back up to altitude! It´s the coming down again that´s the problem: turns out that a little remaining swelling in the knee I hurt when I fell down the stairs a few weeks ago becomes a whole lot of very painful swelling when you drop from 3000m to sea level. Note to self: pack more pain killers and anti-inflammatories into my day pack!

All goes well. I´m pretty much over my nasty dose of bronchitis, and giving Kat my last packet of anti-biotics when she started coughing has prevented her from catching the death lurgy. My Spanish is improving and I´m really enjoying chatting in another language. It´s amazing what the memory drags up. I´ve forgotten so much after 16 years but am remebering way more than I expected.

So tomorrow: Peru. Chile is a fairly westernised culture, so the move to a less developed country will be interesting, and I suspect a little challenging. The language is supposed to be easier though! The Chileans speak like they´ve got marbles in their mouth and I find a strong accent hard to follow. The slang is quite different to my Costa Rican Spanish too, but we´re getting by. My brain is enjoying the work-out.

Bueno, me voy. Hasta cuando mis amigos.

shapeofthings: (Default)
Pisco sour is surprisingly lethal.

Fun discovery #1283

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Jul. 11th, 2012 08:27 am
shapeofthings: (Default)
We're in Valparaiso, Chile. I'm typing on my phone via the hostel wifi. jetlag is easing, death lurgy is staging a very slow retreat though I may have passed it onto Kat. :(

Santiago was smelly and dirty and confronting. Happier to be put of there today. Think i'll be happier still once we get out into the countryside in a few days time.

Almost noone speaks English. My shitty Spanish is getting quite a work out! Still, we're getting by. I've managed to find food I can eat, catch trains and buses and generally make myself mostly understood. Amazing.


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