South America | Peru | Southern Peru | Arequipa | Tacna – Tacna – getting my visa renewal
i’ve been in peru for almost 90 days and it’s time to renew my tourist visa.
i decided to go to chile as i’ve been told that that’s the easiest. and also because my friend hugo is from tacna. and tacna is close to arica, the first city you come to in chile.
we went together. hugo and i. got on a bus that left lima at 6pm on a friday night. arrived in tacna at 11am saturday morning. the trip went smoothly, i’d been preparing myself mentally a whole week in advance for this 17-hour bus journey. it wasn’t really necessary. we went in a nice bus, paid 70 soles, nicer then any bus i’ve ever seen in my home country. well.. maybe not the best two countries to compare; there’s not much luxury to be seen in norway, it’s not in our culture. here in peru it’s either really comfortable or really uncomfortable. and i mean really, really – there’s not much in between.
we stayed at his parents’ house in tacna. one of his brothers and his two sisters live there with their spouses and children. his parents live out on the country side in a little house without electricity or running water, almost an hour away by car, where they grow ecological olives.
we played monpoly and ludo with the kids. went to the beach one evening. talked and relaxed.
early on tuesday the 18th we went to arica, to get my passport stamped. hugo, his brother and i. went in one of those collectivo taxis for 7 soles. the ones where you just hand over your passport and he’ll take you all the way to arica. the taxi drivers are all liers, saying that the taxi is almost full, come with me and we can leave right away. bloody liers. well it wasn’t that bad, we waited 20 minutes to find two more to fill up the car. it was worse on the way back – we waited for over an hour, which put us in a bad mood..
but everything else went quickly, getting the stamps, crossing the boarders. there were no waiting lines.
one strange thing: a difference between chile and peru is that there is no trash floating along the roads in chile.
arica was nice. very sunny and hot. didn’t spend much time there, two/three hours. we went down to the ocean, watched the waves. too much time was spent waiting at the bus terminal.
inicially we planned to get on a bus back to lima that same afternoon. hugo wasn’t permitted more time off from work.
but as it turned out there was a bus strike.
and we were stuck in tacna until friday 21st.
every day we went down to the bus terminal to see if there were buses leaving towards lima. no such luck. so the days were filled with waiting and calling bus companies and packing and unpacking our backpacks. it was frustrating because nobody knew anything about what was happening. some people said this, others something else.
in the end we decided to leave anyway, make a big detour, and hope to find a bus to lima from some other town. which isn’t that obvious as the strike was in moquegua. peru is such a centeralised country; there are no paved roads going north out of tacna then the one that was blocked.
we took a bus to ilave (close to puno) friday evening. the bus was supposed to leave at 4pm, but it leaft at 6:30pm. normaly the ticket costs 15 soles, but they charged us 25. and i heard the woman charge 30 soles from some other guy a bit later…
i was very annoyed.
it took 12 1/2 hours to get to ilave on the dirt roads going up into the mountains. and then another hour in collectivo to get to puno in combi (the collective transport you find here) in the morning.
it was cold at night, and i was glad i had bought a parkas at a flea market in tacna. there was no toilet on the bus. and there were more people in the bus then there were seats, they were standing/sitting around, shifting to and fro. a young boy came on and told stories and jokes. he made me laugh and i bought some of the lemon flavoured candy he was selling.
so now i’ve seen the titicaca lake.
lago titicaca: titi para perú y caca para bolivia.
from there we found a bus to arequipa.
and from there we managed to get to lima (!)
5 hours to arequipa for 15 soles, and then 15 hours to lima for 35 soles.
cheap buses. without a toilet. with children. but luckily no animals. it wasn’t too bad. i slept fairly well on the bus to lima. and as we drove down from the mountains to arequipa i was looking out the window.
arequipa was really nice. beautiful. i got a really good impression after the 5 hours we spent there.
i am so glad i didn’t travel alone. hugo was good company. i got to see how his family live, and i also saw more of peru. more then i had planned on seeing.
this is the way i like to travel. without feeling like a tourist.
what’s more: in chile i blended in perfectly. i didn’t even look like a foreigner.