Desert, buses, earthquakes and sleep deprivation
It seems like some time ago that we left Valparaiso and her higgledy-piggledy delights behind us. The early departure from our hostel got us onto our bus to Santiago with time to spare, and after a short (2 hours counts as short) journey we were in the Chilean capital. Then, within an hour, we were on the road again for the longest bus journey either of us has ever contemplated. The 28-hour trip would take us north into the Atacama desert, and through many fly-blown towns to Arica, the border town and apparently surf-mecca just 20km South of the Peruvian border.
The bus journey itself was tough – it soon became evident that the aircon was not working, and we were sitting right at the back of the bus (seats which had previously proved very successful for us), above the engine. It got warm. The aircon came on briefly, breathing a few whisps of cool air into the bus, which did not reach us, then stopped, never to start again. The next 20 hours were spent in battle with other occupants of the bus to open windows (tended to overcome their keepy-openy latches and rattle themselves closed) and the skylight, which provided a nice cool (dust-laden) draught, but was ;