It’s not easy to go north from Santiago. Our plane made a stop in Antofagasta, and a longer one in Iquique. That’s a town mostly known for its 142-hectare duty free shop. The airport boasts five gates and a very desolate location (I took the picture just outside the departure door). As apparently always in South America, formalities are perfunctory.
We are now in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia, on the other side of the Andes. Bolivia is clearly much poorer than the places we had seen before. Prices are much lower too. The central plaza is nice enough but two blocks away it’s all a little decrepit, and most restaurants are gaudy fast food joints with loud music and clowns.
The airport shuttle looked exactly like it should when I travel: a rattling minibus with foldable seats and a door that gave up closing decades ago. Disappointingly, I couldn’t see the street through the floor, and the seat-to-passenger ratio was way below 2. Need to work on this.