Days 8 – 10

Covering 3 days, I’ll keep this post as short as I can. Also, sorry for the shortage of pictures, haven’t been feeling well enough to bother. I promise to make up for it going forwards haha
Day 8:
In Arica on the border of Chile and Peru, I was recommended by my mechanic to get my bike checked out before making the cross. I searched around the industrial areas and found tons of car workshops but nothing for a mechanic. As I slowly rolled along the roads looking around, this one guy must have noticed my confusion and came over to ask if I needed help. I told him what I was looking for and being a motorcycle owner himself, he got in his car and told me to follow him to his own mechanic. I got there fairly quickly and told an employee what I needed. He said he could help, but not until Monday (It was Saturday) since the shop was about to close. If I went over the border, the clock was rolled two hours back and the same shop owned another location in Tacna, Peru. He gave me the address and sent me off.
When I get to the border, I struggled to get all the necessary paperwork filled out. There were about 4 different offices I needed to talk to on both sides of the border and things got confusing fast. By the time I made it to the last office on the Chilean side, maybe an hour later, I was being told I couldn’t cross. When handing them my paperwork I had given them my RUT which had expired just weeks ago. I was told I needed a valid document and that I would have to wait till Monday for the government offices to open. I went back into town and decided to splurge on a nice hotel in the city to cheer myself up. I got a nice steak dinner and went to the casino that night, killing time in style.
Day 9:
I had posted my experience at the border on an online motorcycling forum, Horizons Unlimited, and got several responses being told that others never had that trouble. They told me to only use my passport and not hand the office my RUT, however they had only tried this going into Argentina and Bolivia; Peru was notoriously difficult. I had researched getting a new valid RUT but the process seemed complicated and unlikely to be quick. My plan was to go try at the Bolivian border, about 3 hours away. Before heading off, I made an impulsive decision to try for Peru again. If they didn’t let me in, I could at least ask what they thought my chances were for Bolivia.
When I arrived, there was an entirely new shift working so I decided to play dumb and go through the same process. This time, I would only use my passport and hope they wouldn’t ask for the RUT. By some miracle they didn’t and I was on my way to Peru. Easily more excited than a kid on christmas morning, I went straight for Tacna. Unfortunately it was now Sunday and everything was closed. My next big city was two days away in Arequipa so I decided I would try there.
I headed for the slightly longer coastal route north and quickly discovered how different Peru was from Chile. The roads were narrow, shoulders and guardrails nearly absent, and the road was etched out of the side of cliffs. Peering down over the road was a long drop into the frigid ocean waters, so I made sure (like always) to keep my eyes on the road ahead. About 2 km ahead of me was a semi truck which had passed by me while I stopped to take pictures, when I had caught up to it, it had clearly been in a bad accident. Tires were blown out, the back portion smashed up, it was a miracle it didn’t fall off into the ocean. Cars were backed up as another truck attempted to tow the wreckage out of the way. I watched for a bit before realizing my motorcycle was more than small enough to circumnavigate the accident.
Up ahead It was cold and foggy; you could see green vegetation were the clouds touched the mountains, yet everything immediately below completely dry and dusty. Rivers carved out canyons leading into the ocean, at one point along the way I saw a large marsh along the bank. Completely out of character for the area, it was an oasis bordering the beach. Hundreds of sheep, goats, cattle, and other livestock roamed freely, swimming from island to island.
Less than 100 miles from the border, the landscape was changing drastically. I eventually made it to a town called Cocachacra near the ocean. One of the larger rivers flowed through here and there was hundreds of acres of farmland alongside it. As the workers were slashing and burning, entire fields were lit on fire, enormous ominous clouds of smoke pluming above. The entire city smelled like a campfire that wouldn’t stop blowing in your face. I wanted to get gas to make it to Arequipa, but only cash was accepted and I only had cards. Banks were closed and the ATMs refused to work for me. I ended up getting a hotel (far enough from the burning fields) and slept there. Without money, the hotel owner bought me dinner and put it on the hotel tab which I would pay the next day after going to a bank. A classic Peruvian chicken meal, it tasted delicious. Unfortunately, it gave me food poisoning and I spent the entire night shaking and throwing up what little food I had in me.
Day 10:
The next day I still felt awful, unable to keep much of anything down. I ate some fruit at the market, got cash from the bank, paid my hotel bill and made myself drive to Arequipa. It was a miserable drive and as soon as I found a hotel I went to my room and watched netflix, nibbling on pizza, and sleeping until the following morning. Feeling somewhat better, it’s time to find out how to spend day 11.

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