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Published: February 3rd 2010
Arica and Iquique, Chile
Arica, Chile is located just where South America turns inward, or east, before going more or less straight down to Cape Horn. It is here that in 1874 a huge Tsunami hit the city and destroyed many buildings including massive damage to their cathedral. Not many years after that, Chile was engaged in its only war. As I understand the story, Peru had a pact or some agreement with Bolivia to help protect it from attack. Bolivia wanted access to the ocean because it is a land locked country. Peru was willing to sell coast land to Bolivia, but Chile wanted no part of this agreement, and went to war with Bolivia and, in turn, Peru, over this land. Chile won, and Peru lost some land while Bolivia remains land locked. It is here that Arica lies.
Our tour took us into the desert where we saw geoglyphs on the hillsides where they have remained for over 600 years, some many more hundreds of years. The newer ones, 500 years or less, show llamas with four legs, but the older ones portray llamas in profile with two legs. Because it rarely rains here, the geoglyphs
have remained almost intact. Only one picture turned out because we were looking right into the sun at some. They are made of stone, and also, the land is scraped to give the picture different colors.
After returning to Arica we stopped in the main square which is very clean compared to places in Peru. I would say the people are a bit better off here than in either Ecuador or Peru. Even the poor sections are cleaner without garbage piled up and graffiti all over. As a tourist, I felt much safer here, too. We walked around a handicraft market and saw the cathedral in its restored condition. A most pleasant day.
In late afternoon we sailed toward Iquique (pronounced I- key- kay). This town is in the desert and is the driest place on earth, according to the guides. It is drier than the Sahara. Because of that, it is very brown and dusty. Again, all the growing areas are irrigated with water from the Andes - under ground wells because there are no rivers. We didn’t take a tour because there really wasn’t much to see. We took the shuttle bus - they always have
a shuttle bus running into the towns - to the main square. The weather was delightful and the square a nice place to walk around. A craft market was set up along one street, selling lots of tourist items from sweaters to wooden spoons. We resisted, however.
On returning to the ship we decided to sit on our balcony and read. While we were out there, Bruce spotted a seal swimming toward the ship. He got some pictures that I will try to upload for all to see. I imagine this won’t be the last one we’ll see.
Today we are at sea headed to another small coastal town. There is a bit of a swell in the ocean today, so we move rather tentatively around the ship, Bruce more steadily than I. Tonight we are going to eat in the Pinnacle Grill, the cover charge dining room, with the people we met at the dinner in Lima. They eat second seating, and we first, so we thought this would be a nice solution. We’ll see if it is any better. I’m glad we will have a chance to get to know them better.
And so it
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