Arriving back at Santa Marta Hostal in Arequipa was like coming back home. We had a such a nice time here in January, it was an easy decision to return to such a nice city and visit all the friendly folks at the hostel. They must of read our Tripadvisor review as we got an upgrade to a nice big room including a TV ! Seeing as we are on the cruisy part of our holiday we treated ourselves to the number one restaurant in town and it did not disappoint. We may of looked like ‘dorks’ sitting at our table wearing paper bibs, but the sizzling meats on the volcanic stone slabs, do give off a little splatter. We thought this was such an interesting meal the way it is served and the lamb, alpaca, beef and pork all went down nicely with a Peruvian wine followed by some indulgeous desserts. (We won’t discuss the bill !)
The markets in Arequipa are really amazing and we criss crossed all of them several times in search of a few special items to take back home. As we were only 24 days away from finishing this was an opportunity to pick up some items at cheap Peruvian prices and we did not have to cart them too far ‘home’ from here.
Gus took the opportunity to get one of his boots resoled and like a lot of towns in South America, you just head to the district or street that sells that item. Yes, all the boot makers are in one block, they all do the same or sell the same things and all at the same prices, just like the fruit aisle at the markets.
One block from our hostel was all the Optical dispensers, 4 whole blocks of them in one place… a little weird business practice but very convenient for consumers. You should of seen the shoe market, a must-see womans destination !
From Arequipa we did our last stint in Peru to the Chilean border, another long stretch of generally flat desert sand but with some twisty bits thrown in so not as boring as expected. Again we played cameraman on the dead pan straights and met some American bikers intransit to Ushuaia (southern tip of South America) where we had been several months ago. Despite riding go fast BMW 1200’s we still managed to beat two of them to the border post (?), they were using paper maps, we were using a GPS.
Once again the border crossing proved difficult and Gus and I not seeing eye to eye on the difficulty presented to us by the authorities. I thought exiting Peru would be a breeze, but another piece of stupid paperwork appeared this time and once again the Chilean customs made us remove all our bags for x-raying. We lost two hours of time today due to timezone differences and Chile Daylight Savings time so we rocked into nearby Arica a little later than expected but still in daylight. Just crossing into Chile was a stark reminder of the differences in these two countries, we were definitely back in a first world country…
With sunrise 2 hours later than yesterday, I did not want to get out of bed the next morning, despite Gus already being half packed and keen to move. Daylight savings always stuffs my body clock, but a two hour time difference killed me this morning and I elected to stay another day in Arica – just as well as Gus was still feeling a bit off from his food poisoning a week or so ago and his crash parts still ached a bit. Although we have only ridden one day after staying 3 days in Arequipa, we both felt stuffed ?