(Written in my journal, hence the present tense.)
So here we are, on another 20 some hour bus ride (having just come off an overnight bus from Mendoza) to transport us from Santiago up to Iquique. No, you´re not reading an old journal entry, we are back in Chile. Not part of the original plan, but travel, as we are learning, is not always condusive to planning.
We were supposed to be in Salta in the north of Argentina right now. We booked our bus the day after arriving in Mendoza – all was well. We knew from our trusty Lonely Planet that busses from Salta to Chile (the route back up to Lima) ran only on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday and we intended to leave Tuesday so we had enough time to make it back to Peru for our flight home that coming Saturday. (I know, home already… booo!) After chatting with other travellers in Mendoza, we learned that these busses, because they are so few and far between, book up quickly and should be booked a week in advance to ensure space. And so, we spent the new few days in Mendoza attempting to call and book these over the phone, which for some unknown reason, proved to be IMPOSSIBLE. We ended up changing our tickets to Santiago to head back up the way we came.
In the process of making said changes with Latin American bus companions, we lost a pretty chunk of change. However, inspired by the friendly and beautiful local Mendocinas, we attempted to seek out a silver lining. We emailed our Canadian friends that we had met in Cusco – Blain and Graeme aka “The Jabrones” – because we remembered that their loose travel itinerary (if they were still following it) would put them somewhere in the north of Chile and we now had a few extra days to spend somewhere. We heard back from them right away to find that they would be in Iquique the days we were passing through. We decided to make that our next top and get in a bit more sun and waves before heading home to the snow. So, things are looking up for our last week in South America, although we are devastated it´s our last.