Arica, First Stop In Chile

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Arica From The Hill

Arica From The Hill

After La Paz and the Bolivian highlands, Arica, our first stop in Chile, was quite a shock. Imagine a city, actually more like an oasis, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the desert. Imagine, 30C all year round. Imagine quiet streets, cars that actually stop at red lights and a supermarket. We were in shock, after Bolivia.

The first thing you learn in Arica, is to take it easy. Actually, the first thing you learn is to put a lot of sunscreen. But after that, you realize that you have to do like the locals. Walk a bit in the morning, let´s say between 10 am and 12 pm. Eat. Sleep for a few hours after that: all the shops are closed after lunch, anyway. Then wake up at 5 pm, have dinner no earlier than 9 pm (restaurants not open before that) and hang out in the streets until midnight (which is only two hours after sunset after all).

We really took it easy.

One thing we really wanted to do, though, was to check out the plane tickets. Our next stop was going to be Santiago, the capital. In 2002, we took the bus there and it was a memorable ride: 32 hours non stop in the desert, one day and two nights in the bus. We did not want to do that again. But thanks to discount airlines, it was actually cheaper to fly. And faster too: only 3 hours. We booked our ticket with Sky Airline and relaxed while waiting to go South again…


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. It looks awesome. Tough life, huh? 😀
    Your photos, as always are amazing, by the way.


    P.S.: Oh I wanted to tell you that I moved my site, the old one is down 🙁 Oh well.

    Keep posting, I am enjoying it a lot!

  2. Je n’ai pas recu le couriel electronique…est-ce que c’est le meme que tu m’as envoye avant?

    I should backpack to the South during this time…the weather is not too bad these days, but who knows when the next snowstorm will arrive.

  3. What great reports from your trip – great documented with lovely pics – thanks for taking us with!

    I wish you a Happy 牛 year!


  4. @Agnes – Ah, that´s why! I couldn´t access it since you are back from India, and I wasn´t sure whether it was because of my crappy connexion or other problems on your side. Glad to see you are online again!

    @Bluefish – Oui, cést le même. Désolée si tu ne lás pas recu, les connexions sont mauvaises ici et parfois je ne peux pas envoyer ou acceder à Yahoo.

    @RennyBA – Thank you! I didn´t know you were fluent in Mandarin 🙂

    @Scarlet – Me gusta este bandera también! I´m sure you would love Chile. Relax, talkative people, who like to hang out…

    @DianeCA – I´m sure you are, but Norway is a very unique place as well. 🙂

  5. Salut Zhu,
    It sounds & looks yummy… I could use some of that easy going lifestyle at this moment.
    Les veinards !

    I don’t have to tell you to take it easy; it sounds like you are doing fine.

  6. You could update le Guide du Routard all by yourself!
    I like the way you write your journey, even if I wanted to get bored I couldn’t 🙂

  7. Hello Zhu, My Favorite peripatetic blogger,


    Its too late for me to wish you Merry Christmas or Happy New Year, so at least with this I’m right on time!

    Haven’t been blogging much lately. After my extended Christmas vacation, I had to fly back to that country I had been working in to monitor progress of the people and the installations we had set up.

    Anyway, I missed the other posts you made on this South American trip and I had to go back to all previous posts. You are enjoying yourself immensely and that sounds very good.

    I know you speak Chinese and have adapted to the culture of the country, so I know this Lunar New Year would have some significance for you. Besides, your partner is Chinese, and this is important to all of them.

    In my country, there are many large Chinese communities spread all over the territory such that celebrations are on a national scale. Some of the superstitions and rituals are also being practiced by all other races here.

    Stay well and take care. And to you and your partner: Kung Hei Fat Choy! 🙂 –Durano, done!

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