At last I had reached Chile, and the end of the Peruvian desert. Only to find (actually no surprise) that now I was REALLY starting the vast Atacama desert of Chile.
Sand and wind were to be my constant companions for at least a couple of weeks more!
On occasion I did get the company of a friendly ¨dust devil¨. Other than that, the only things in this part of the desert are open-pit mines... mostly copper.
This part of Chile does not attract many tourists. Can you imagine why? I spent a few days in Arica, mostly doing errands, then headed to Iquique to visit some people I had met in Peru and then head down the coast. Iquique is surprising... it´s literally at the end of the road in the desert, but is actually quite pretty. It was built for mining, and there are many old 1800´s buildings still standing.
The coast is pretty, in a very rugged sort of way, with the desert leading right down to the water.
Also at this point my helmet busted. I was upset because it is so comfortable, but what can you do? I gave it to my friend´s son Noah, who immediately decided that he wants to be a motorcycle rider when he grows up. I understand that he now sleeps in it! Noah, we´ll look for you in the next Dakar race.
Leaving Iquique I headed down the coast, and then across a few hundred more miles of desert to San Pedro de Atacama. Even though it was more sand, some of the colors coming into San Pedro at sunset were spectacular.