Monday July 1: La Serena
The day started out as one big fiasco.
Due to the problems with the toilet etc., we didn't get to bed until after midnight. Around 3am I woke up, and true to current form, I could not fall asleep again. It is almost getting to the point where it is a self-fulfilling prophesy: I worry that I won't get to sleep again, and that worry keeps me awake.
It got colder throughout the night. I'm wondering if I was a bit cool to sleep well. I decided to forego the shower that I was planning for the morning, because the place was just too cold.
I crawled out of bed and put my clothes on as quickly as possible. Downstairs breakfast was totally uninspiring. I had a handful of dry cereal and a small fruit cup. The only thing warm was some tea.
I was feeling like this place was quite a dump--between next to no heat, a lumpy mattress, and a poor breakfast. With 2 1/2 or at most 3 hours of sleep, I was not in a good frame of mind.
When we showed up outside at 8, they asked if we were on the list for the penguin tour. I said I had no idea what was going on, we just found a note saying to be there at 8 and to dress warm. (The rest of the group was meeting at 9 for a tour of the city.) Apparently they had put the note on the wrong door! She didn't know if there was room for us on the penguin tour.
At this point, I was really fed up with the state of affairs. I thought that for the money we were paying, we should have been in a nicer place than this, and with very little sleep, I felt that I had been robbed of an hour of at least lying in bed. I was also wondering how it was that some people were doing this special thing but not everyone.
I stormed off back to the room and started fiddling with the heater. A short while later Sam came in saying that they thought we might be able to be fit on the tour, but they weren't sure. In the end we went.
I found out that this was an all-day event separate from the normal tour. It was being run by a separate local company. We were driving north about two hours and then taking small boats out to some nearby islands.
It was going to cost us extra for this trip. At that point, I was sort of wishing that they hadn't screwed up the note, we hadn't gotten up an hour early, and that I could go on the city tour and then take a nap in the afternoon.
I dozed a little on the way up, but not much.
The boat scene was chaotic, with several groups, and a bunch of boats. Part of the confusion was that each boat sat no more than 12, so we were taking three separate boats.
I was wearing my vest and my heavy jacket. It was too much for standing around, but on the boat with the wind, I was toasty. We saw lots of blue footed boobies, and seals and/or sea lions. We went around one island and then landed at the second for an hour stop. Unfortunately, despite the name, we were told that we would be extremely lucky to see a penguin.
We went up to the high point to look around. There were some brave sparrows that came quite close to us. I think that perhaps people were feeding them. Afterwards, I went for a walk on the loop trail around the island. I should have gone partway and then returned. Instead I continued for the whole loop, which was a bit longer than I expected. I ended up jogging back to make it to the boat on time. I was so hot that I took off my heavy jacket and put on my lighter down.
We drove to a local restaurant for lunch. As seems typical around here, it was around 2-3pm. Afterwards we just hung around. I would have preferred heading back. There was a couple there with a slack line that was sort of interesting and some friendly cats.
A short ways back we stopped and got out to photograph some foxes.
After that, I sort of dozed off, because the next thing I knew we were in La Serena.
We went to the same place for dinner as last night. Apparently there was some sort of holiday, or perhaps it was due to the influx of eclipse tourists, but we had to fight our way past a large ground around a band playing on the (wide) sidewalk. Perhaps a mariachi band?
I got a pizza, but when it arrived, it wasn't quite what I was expecting. After I ate half of it, I realized that it wasn't what I had ordered. To make matters worse, we were eating on the patio, and the guys in the table behind me (upwind) were smoking. This concluded the fiasco nature of the day.
We got packed up and now it is time to try to sleep for a 5:15 departure tomorrow morning.