Iquique is a big town on the coast of Northern Chile, just next to the massive Atacama desert. Although Iquique hails itself as a "beach resort town", it's more of a wannabe beach location, since it's not that warm most of the year, and since its beaches really aren't that good (well, maybe they are by Chilean standards — but not by Aussie standards!). Nice place to hang out and relax for a bit; but not much to do here.
So many farewells these days; ah, mais c'est la vie, such is the life of a traveller. This afternoon, Chris and I caught a bus north, from Iquique to Arica; while Leila and Christina, our fine, female, central European travelling companions for the past week, caught a different bus south, to Antofagasta. It's sad to see them go; although I must say, their crazy German ways (e.g. saying "Schultz" after burping — anyone who forgets to say this is liable to be slapped on the head), and their obsession with the card game Yaniv, were getting a bit much. Can't really say I'll miss Iquique, however; as we didn't really do much there, and as there ain't much there to miss, truth be told.
For the past few days, myself, Chris, Leila and Christina have been playing a card game called Yaniv quite a lot. Leila and Christina learned it from some Israelis a few months back (it's an Israeli-invented game — hence the name). It's quite a fun game, although Chris and I seem to lose at it most of the time. Great way to pass the time, and always good to learn new card games.
Iquique is a town at sea level, right on the coast of an extremely earthquake-prone area, full of beaches; so I guess it makes sense that it would be prone to tsunamis. But do they really have to be this blunt about the danger of a wave hitting the town? Makes me feel so safe and reassured, as a tourist walking through the central square, smiling in the sunshine. Anyway, at least if a tsunami does hit, I'll know which way to run. I wonder if that will make the slightest bit of difference, or if I'd still be 90% likely to die anyway?
Reasonable enough hostel, situated in the middle of things in Iquique. As with San Pedro, they have the annoying thing about paying for each night in advance; but at least here, they'll let you dump your bags in a storeroom after you've checked out. The place has a good vibe, even though I didn't particularly think the same of the city that it's in.
Myself, Chris, Leila and Christina caught a night bus last night, from San Pedro de Atacama to Iquique, which is a coastal "beach resort" city, further north and on the coast. It was two buses, actually; since we changed after one hour, at the mining town of Calama. Buses in Chile certainly are nice, compared with Bolivia: nice, comfy semi-cama (i.e. semi-bed) seats; movies (with headphones!); air-conditioning; and smooth roads all the way. In some ways — although definitely not in all ways — it's good to be back in civilisation.