After 4 days in a Jeep shoulder-to-shoulder with a large German family (emphasis on large) cruising through southeast Bolivia, we are badly craving some luxury and that is nothing short of what we get. A 17 hour bus ride from San Pedro de Atacama later, we arrive in La Serena and head off in search of some accommodation.
The options appear to all be shockingly overpriced so we throw budgeting to the wind and book out a full apartment right on the beach for the next couple days. Luckily, Lider (Chilean Walmart, basically heaven on earth) is never far away and we stock up on food, which somehow means that we buy enough to feed a family of 6 for the week. It just seems necessary.
To add to the luxurious living, we stock up on a variety of spirits and spend the next few days gorging ourselves on Western cooking while also enjoying the fruits of Bolivia. The cherry on top is the Cuban cigar I have also stashed away (less illegally than other items I stashed) and we delight in playing poker (our version, because neither of us really remembers how to play) on the beach while smoking this fat cigar.
We buy a kite and fly it all over the beach, probably a little too energetically to fly under anyone’s radar. It seems to attract all the children in the near vicinity and I excitedly chatter to them in Spanish, eager to finally have someone at my own fluency level that won’t criticise my verb conjugation. Even the children seem apprehensive about how fast I’m talking, and their parents will probably give them an hour long lecture on talking to strangers over the dinner table tonight.
Our last night, we really do a number on ourselves to finish off the last of the fun items in the condo before travelling onward. We have been downing cocktails all day and the night creeps up incredibly quick, with us power-walking laps up and down the boardwalk talking to anyone who will listen. A British expat selling telescopes manages to sucker us in and we are fully ready to toss down $500 plus shipping expenses for a telescope right then and there. At the time, it seemed completely logical, but looking back I am so thankful we left our wallets at home. We probably terrified this poor man, I doubt he’d ever seen anyone so excited about telescopes. And he probably never will.