On the map, the trip from Valparaiso in Chile to Arequipa in Peru doesn´t look that long. It´s only a nuckle or two up the page, only from one country to its neighbour. Perhaps I should have born the long thin nature of the first in mind or taken into the account that some of the bus drivers might see no reason to drive above thirty miles an hour. However, I did not and so I´ve just spent the last two days on a bus.
The first leg, Valpo to Iquique was the longest. It should have taken 24 hours and 15 mintues. Instead it was about 28 – I´ve come to realise that here journey times are more like pirates guidelines than anything resembling facts. But it was a good trip. I´ve not yet been converted to kindles and such things, mainly because I love the feel of a book in my hand and adore the radomness of the hostel book exchange. At first I read a book I´d brought from NZ. By a Mexican playwrite, it was about an autistic girl, raised to look after her family´s tuna farm. After that the exchange gave me a book about steroid use in American sports, particuarly baseball. Isn´t that wonderful? Two days ago I hardly knew baseball existed, now I can talk with a little authorty about Barry Bonds and how to drug yourself in an undetectable manner.
As well as books, the long journey gave plenty of time for cards and movies. We sat in the Iquique bus station from midnight to 3.30am playing swipi, a Fijian card game which I still haven´t mastered. I lost while trying to ignore being hit on by a Chilean who was so drunk and stoned that he didn´t notice my husband sitting next to me. It was never going to work out! The bus to Arica, still in Chile, gave us the Hollywood movie, Wild Hogs, dubbed. John Travolta sounds very romantic in Spanish… but then so does Tim Allan so I think it might just be the language! The film played a couple of times, so I can now talk about it almost as well as I can about steroids!
Then we crossed from Arica to Tacna in Peru before changing onto a bus to come to Arequipa, where I´ll stay this week. What did this journey bring? American music videos from the 80s, interspersed with Spanish love songs, and watching out the window as the desert slowly turned green again and the mountains in the distance began to get covered in snow.
(Disclaimer – I´m writing this on my host family´s computer. It does not like my English words and keeps changing them. I´m going to (unfairly) blame it for all my spelling mistakes!)