I've been traveling in South America for three weeks and nothing serious happened to me. Now when I got to the safiest country in South America everything went wrong. But let's start at the beginning.
I spent the day after returning from Machu Picchu in Cusco because the night bus to Arequipa I was going to take was departing at 8.30pm. I was just walking around the city and chilling. In the evening I saw a crowd of kinds marching with lampions (something like Peruvian version of November's march). One hour later, there was a version for adults – a serious demonstration. As far as I understood they marched for better (cheaper) water supply. I also found out new information about the Peruvian cuisine. I went to a fastfood restaurant and ordered a hot dog. Guess what I got? A burger with sliced sausage rings. Moreover, they don't serve fries aside, but inside a burger here… interesting.
The connection in Arequipa was perfect. I arrived at 6.30 and the bus to Tacna was leaving at 7. I knew we couldn't take any fresh food (vegetables, fruits) to Chile, so I had nothing. But others were forced to throw away everything far before the Chilean borders. All baggage was x-rayed and all vegetables and fruits thrown away. There were pictures on the wall explaining why. On one of them, there was an unhappy and hungry looking farmer holding oranges full of worms, the text said "Before". On the other one, there was a happy, well-fed farmer holding perfect oranges. The text said "Now".
The terminal in Tacna was pretty hectic. I, two Irish girls, and one German guy made a group and took a cab across the border. We had to fill out several forms, paid several fees, exchanged money, and we probably paid more than we should. But we got to Arica in Chile smoothly and quickly. Others were continuing to the south, but they couldn't find any bus to Santiago. Everything was bookend for next two days because of the independence day which was on Sept 17th. I stayed in Arica, found a nice hostel called Sunny Days which is run by an older man from New Zealand. I met a guy who was from Australia, but whose both parents were Czech. We talked long and then went along the beach to the centre to eat something. When we came back he had to leave to the bus station to catch a bus to Bolivia. I went to bed because I'd paid a tour for the next day and had to get up early.
They picked me up at the hostel at 8am. I took all my stuff because I wanted to get off in Putre, a mountain village in the park. We went up to 4,500, saw several beautiful lakes, fed lamas, and watched an active volcano. Among other tourists on the tour, there was a Czech lady who's been living in Chile for 13 years and she translated me all the guide said because he didn't speak English. In Putre, we had dinner. After that I was going to leave the group. We opened the trunk and my big backpack was gone. After a while, they realized they lost it on the way to Putre. The door of the trunk opened, they stopped, closed it, but didn't notice my backback'd fallen out. We returned to the place, but my backpack disappeared. It'd already been three hours since we'd left the place and someone'd just taken it. We contacted the agency and they promised to pay me a compensation. Next day they called me to come to their office. When we were in their office they called us to meet in my hostel. The Czech lady was still helping me, together with her husband and her local friend who knows the local judge and the head of the police department. The agency owners weren't accommodating any more. They said we had to wait because the cops'd told them someone'd seen my packpack and they might have it. The Czech lady, based on 13-year experience with Chileans, didn't believe them and we went to the police station. Of course, they knew nothing about the backpack and no one called them about that. So they made it up. We decided to make a presentment. While we were filing it out the owners showed up to make their own statement. They even brought up stories such as there had never been any backpack and I'd made it up. Because the Czech lady and her family was going to catch a flight to Santiango she gave me her friend's number. I was supposed to call her to cancel the presentment if they paid the money.
They showed up in my hostel at 6pm. Before that, the owners of the hostel weren't very supportive. They told me he had a little chance at the court etc. The agency people told they had already consulted it with their lawyer and he'd told them that it would take 15 days and I would have to prove that I'd really possessed the things I claimed I'd had in the backpack. They offered me $450. I wanted $600 because the loss was worth at least that, but I took it because there wasn't apparently much more to get. I had one condition though. They had to make a statement that they'd lost my baggage during transportation so that I could claim the rest of the money from my insurance company. They came three hours later, gave me $450, the statement, I gave them a statement that I was going to cancel the presentment, and it was finally over. It was a stressful day after which I ended up with a few pieces of clothes, documents, money, and a few more things. Everything else is gone and I will have to survive one more week.
The national park Lauca