Estoy en La Serena, Buenos Tardes.

August 1, 2012

I got the coach yesterday from Santiago to La Serena. This was after quite an escapade involving me leaving my hostel in a cab, realising I’d forgotten one of my bags, returning to the hostel, getting back in the cab, being dropped at the wrong bus station, and then being ripped off by the next driver to take me the rest of the way. Ugh. Then when I got there, I was walking around trying to find my bus and when I did it left without any people on board. 20 minutes later, another one turned up and we were on our way. My bad Spanish helped me find someone else who needed my bus meaning I could just follow him as the confusion continued. Once on the bus, I was amazed. Megabus and National Express should be ashamed! In Chile for about £20 you go 6 hours on what is basically a bed (like flying business class) and they play films and have food served on board! My legs didn’t know what to do with all that leg room!

When I arrived here last night, my hostel was full of British people. The first ones I’ve met (other than a posh twat working in the mining industry who had all the makings of a Bullingdon club member – he doesn’t count). I went with them to the supermarket and made a failed pasta sauce and we chatted away. They all left this morning though, so I spent the day alone walking the town. La Serena is pretty small. I saw the Archaeological Museum which was good. It was all in Spanish but I’m getting used to things being all in Spanish – my reading has improved tenfold. In the museum they have on display one of the statues from Easter Island so it was nice to get a chance to see one of them. They also have loads of mummies perfectly preserved by the desert.

I then went to the supermarket which continues to be a difficult experience. Why does every other country in the world complicate the shopping experience?! It is so much easier to just have things in a particular order (ie. the order that you might need things) and to not have to weigh some things and not weigh others. This whole weighing thing is throwing me off kilter. What should have taken me 15mins took me more like an hour.

I decided once I had some food to go eat lunch on the beach. By this time it was about 3pm so I was already pretty hungry. I believed the hostel to be near the sea. It’s not. You walk down this long dusty road, with construction sites, shack-like cafes and brand new hotels for about three miles. Everything is in a different state of ‘made-ness’. Eventually, to the sound of drilling, you arrive at the Pacific. There is a false-looking lighthouse plonked on the sand, like it should be a helter skelter. A tour bus sat behind it, while it’s passengers ran around on the beach. They were teenagers, maybe 16 or 17 years old. One found a dead gull, and lifted it off the sand by it’s beak. Boys gathered around each wanting a go to hold it, throw sand at it or try to bury it. Behind, across a section of the Ocean, what the locals call hills and what I’d call mountains rise and fall through the rain clouds, each one a different shade of grey layered atop the other. The sound of drilling echoes between the buildings and the water while the waves pull themselves off the sand and thud back into it, crisp white crests crawling over the shore.

It looks like rain.

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