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Arica, Chile Trip Journal

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Chris' (Previous) Daily Journal

January 31, 2010 Arica, Chile

We arrived into port around 7am and began disembarking shortly afterwards.

Several announcements were made in advance of disembarking, that absolutely no fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy or any other fresh food items were to be taken ashore. Chilean customs personnel were onboard checking each person’s bag. Well, of course, several people were found with food in their bags. I wonder...are there any Americans on board?

There was a shuttle from the ship into Arica, dropping passengers off at the port entrance. From there, it was an easy walking distance to downtown.

Arica was part of Peru until 1880 when it was captured by Chilean forces during the War of the Pacific. It’s an important port for Chilean ore exporting. It’s also a major center for rail transportation with Bolivia.

Because today is Sunday, quite a few places were not open and there were not a lot of people around.

Fortunately, one of the main attractions, an historic church was open. Architect Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, even before he designed the famous Paris landmark, created the plans for the Iglesia San Marcos de Arica (or San Marcos Church). Built completely of iron in Paris, France, it was then shipped to Ilo, Peru, before later being moved to Arica. The local Customs Building was also created by Eiffe, then shipped across the ocean. According to a sign on the building, that journey took five months.



El Morro de Arica

A path from the main square, Plaza Colon, leads up to El Morro de Arica – a bit of a climb. However, the view was fabulous overseeing the city and Pacific Ocean. This is the highest hill in the city and a local taxi driver will charge you $10 for the short trip to the top, but only $5 for the return. I guess for another $10 people would decide to walk back down, so they offer a discount of sorts. John took a taxi both ways, but then he's always been a big spender.

The Museo Arqueologico de San Miguel de Azapa (Archaeological Museum) is located nine miles outside of Arica in the very dry Andean desert. Some of its exhibits date back 10,000 years. The biggest draw are the Chinchorro mummies from the high Andes. At this time, only a handful of the small mummies are on display, while a new museum is being constructed.

John wanted to get some Chilean Pesos because we have many more stops in Chile, so he went to four ATM machines. Zero Pesos. No luck. He was very perplexed, but since it was Sunday, it wasn’t like we needed them for anything. We’ll try again tomorrow in Iquique.

It was a short day, since there weren’t a lot of things open, but it was still interesting.

Tomorrow, we are in Iquique, Chile.

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