La Serena is a beach resort town with miles of beautiful beach and lots and lots of tourist apartments.
We bounced into town assuming that a perfect apartment would fall into our laps. We rented a hotel, got on the internet and started looking. We learned several things quite quickly.
1. February is prime vacation month in Chile. The tourist apartments are full.
2. Few tourist apartments have the internet.
3. Tourist apartments in a beautiful resort town are quite expensive.
4. The section of town with the expensive, non-internet tourist apartments is not close to the section of town with supermarkets.
It was like showing up in Daytona Beach, Florida during spring break and trying to rent a cheap apartment.
Worse of all, our hotel only had instant coffee!!! Since we were spending all our money on the hotel, we couldn’t even go out for real coffee.
Between freaking out about how much money we were spending in hotels, choking down instant coffee, and searching for apartments, we barely even glanced at the beach.
We knew we had to do something drastic. So, we went to McDonalds.This was the first McDonalds we’ve been to on the entire trip, not because we’re only eating local food, more because McDonalds was weirdly expensive in Argentina.
That Big Mac and fries did wonders to reset my travel barometer. A little culinary visit to the USA and I was ready. Not only was it delicous, it left me a little sick and ready to get back to really “being” in Chile.
After that magical trip to McDonalds things really did start to fall into place. Jeff found one last Via packet (Starbucks “ready brew” coffee) hidden in his suitcase.
We found an apartment that was almost affordable, we rented a car, bought groceries, and most importantly, bought a French press.
And then we finally noticed the beach. It’s funny how easy we get caught up in the details and “problems” of traveling. When I emailed my friend Dan complaining about the high cost of apartments here I said, “The problem, is we’re in a Chilean beach resort.” His reply was “I wouldn’t define being in a Chilean beach resort as a problem.” And he was right. It’s so easy to get bogged down on what isgoing wrong we look right past what’s going right.