Iquique

Today I made my way south to Iquique which exports more fishmeal than any other port in the world. It actually reminds me of San Francisco, not because of the fishy goings on, but because of the low wooden buildings and old saloons with swing doors and balconies. The old buildings are fairly decrepit and their best days are clearly behind them. Those were when sailors would saddle up at the bar after a long journey at sea. A few cold beers before thinking of female company. I'm sure not too much has changed.
Of course, when I saw Hostal San Francisco I knew I had to stay there. Unfortunately the only thing going for it is the name. The smell from the bathroom is incredible. I know already I won't be showering there tomorrow. I'd come out smelling worse than when I go in. Ch$6,000 a night. Everything costs thousands here. One €uro is over 700 Pesos, so it's not the place to come if you're not good at maths.

But I'm here for El Gigante De Atacama. He's waiting for me 87km away. Unfortunately there are no buses there, a tour there includes some other shite I don't want to see for Ch$18,000, and a taxi would cost an outrageous Ch$35,000.
So I'm gonna have to get a bus to Huara, 15km away and walk the rest. Through the desert. The driest desert on the planet. I'm hopeful that some passing farmer (in the desert?) will offer me a lift in his tractor, or that a donkey looking for something to do will wander by. Fingers crossed!

For Iquique and the pictures I took on the way, see: http://picasaweb.google.com/faheyc/IquiqueAndTheRoadToIt#

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