6 Feb 2012, La Paz, Bolivia to Puno, Peru
Bus picked me up from the hotel in La Paz at 0740, big with lots of legroom and only half full, all the tourist traffic is in the other direction, took about an hour to get out of the city, drizzled all the way to Taquina where we crossed over the lake on the ferry, then Copacabana where we had to change busses to a Peruvian bus about an hours wait for the bus to arrive from Puno, next stop the border with Peru, stamp, stamp, they don’t even look at your face, sun came out as we entered Peru and it warmed up, freezing before that, arrived in Puno at 1700.
7 Feb 2012, Puno, Peru to Arica, Chile
Altitude is still affecting me, headaches, breathlessness, weird. As I was checking out the guy at reception told me about a shortcut to Mosquegua, it shows as half dirt road on the map but he said he had driven it 2 months ago and it was a new paved road, this cuts the time and distance almost in half, thank you Sir, it means I can cross the border into Chile today, left at 0700 and got a taxi to show me through the town onto this road as it is not the main highway, one of the hotel staff came with the taxi to make sure I got out ok, the road is the Transoceania Sur 34B, on the way out of town there were drifts of ice on the road and surroundings looked like snow, brilliant road most of it around 4500m cold hands freezing but unbelievable views, no traffic, no villages and no speed bumps some potholes and landslides and one toll plaza which was fenced off and traffic had to go through a muddy diversion with water flowing across nasty, I rode around the fence and through the plaza instead hahaha, camera battery went flat due to the cold and came good as I descended to Mosquegua arrived there at 1100, a classic ride, arrived at the border at 1320.
Peru first handed in the TVIP and Immigration exit form, filled in a form for the bike in quadruplicate gave one copy to immigration and then rode to the Chile side filled in an Immigration form and a Customs form stood in the queue and one of the Peru bike copies went to the immigration girl and she stamped one and gave it back to me, then I had to put my knapsack through the x-ray, then a customs guy and Agriculture guy looked in my panniers and each stamped the bike form and told me to go at 1420, rode past a checkpoint no one visible, guy must have been asleep and about 5k’s down the road got stopped and turned back, the checkpoint guy awake now said I need 4 stamps not three so went back and asked and was directed to another booth where they looked at the bikes Title and gave me another form and stamped the other form so it now had 4 stamps back to the check point and the guy took the form with the stamps off me and I was free to go, BUREAUCRACY, still only 1440, 1.5 hours not bad.
The time is now 1640 Chilean time 2 hours difference, crazy got to Arica in 30min, amazing, traffic staying in their lanes and even giving way to pedestrians and letting other cars from side streets into the traffic, started looking for a hotel, a normal one which would cost around $50 anywhere else was $100+ here, I managed to find something a little cheaper then I went looking for an ATM most were being serviced but with the help of a bank person I found one and the ATM fee was $6.50 and I thought Peru was expensive at $4 but at least you can withdraw $400, next strange thing the electric plugs here are round like in Asia instead of flat like the other American countries and gas is now dispensed in litres instead of US gallons.
Chile is the most developed country so far which means I dont have to worry about the little things, even the tap water in Santiago is drinkable, I boil it first because this place has a kettle and a laundromat.