Although there are so many things I would like to visit in Bolivia (and it is ridiculously cheap), I thought long and hard about it and decided I would much rather go there with a friend. So if anyone ever wants to visit Bolivia, let me know! Instead, I headed down to Chile and I am now in the Atacama Desert. When I say desert, I mean desert.
To catch you up on my whereabouts, yesterday I spent the day in Arica, Chile, and a friend of the owner of the hostel I was staying at showed me all around town for free. He bought me bus tickets, bought me a shirt, bought me a ticket to the mummy museum, showed me around downtown, took me to the beach and took me to a great gelato place. WOW. The beach was beautiful at sunset, especially good with my ice cream.
Cabanaconde, a small village that is right on the edge of the Colca Canyon was incredible. There were donkeys, sheep, dogs and cows meandering the streets, I think I only saw 2 cars. One day I hiked all the way to the bottom of the canyon to a small oasis and back up to the top. In all seriousness, that trek might have been the hardest thing my body has ever attempted to do. The sun was scorching, the altitude was getting to me so badly a few times I sat down and I saw nothing but blackness and the hike back was rock steps the entire way. For awhile there I contemplated my ability of making it back up to the village.
Finally, my bus from Cusco to Arequipa, a 10 or so overnight bus, was absolutely freezing. I suppose it was just getting me ready for Patagonia, but really, the windows were iced over, so I used a card to scrape off a little so I was able to see out.