XXXXXV – Going to sleep and waking up to the sound of the waves in Iquique.

If one pay carefully attention, one will hear far away sounds late at night or just before dawn. All kinds of sounds: cabs honking in the streets, water dropping in the shower, police sirens, neighbour snoring (loudly), trains going by, wood stairs cracking, dogs barking, receptionist chatting on internet, men rolling the trash cans up and down the drive way, neighborhood cats fighting, pages of a book being read, planes passing by, the clock ticking, drunk students singing in the streets, car break squeaking, …

All these whistling, howling, clicking, bipping, screeching, buzzing, and many other “spooky” sounds in the night have kept me wide-eyed and sleepless. I have never been at my best in the dark of night (even more so when I am in the country, in the middle of nowhere). If I can’t see it, I don’t like it. For my defense, I happen to have a BIG imagination, which really doesn’t help!! I have a zillion of unhappy ending scripts going through my head (big bad beasts, thieves, fires,… you just name it, I have the scenario 😉 LOL).

But, there’s 1 sound that always put me at ease: the sound of water (stream, ocean, rain, waves,…). And, I believe anyone who loves the ocean, will fancy falling to sleep or waking up to the sound of the ocean’s waves -waves rolling up the beach or crashing in on the rocks all night. In my opinion, it’s the best sound ever on this planet! It’s such a soothing sound that helps me go off to dreamland 🙂

View from my bed!!

Spot for the long boards surfing competition.

And, me and my Aquarius nature were more than happy when I arrived in Iquique, Chile. It’s not only a small port city on the Pacific coast (West of San Pedro de Atacama’s desert), but also a famous surfing spot. The weekend I was there, there was a big surfing competition going on. Thus, I had the chance to see some real pro in action. Pretty impressive!!

Of course, I didn’t just went sun bathing on the beach. A year from now, I would have been the happiest girl on earth, just laying on the beach and “flipping side like a pancake” in order to get the perfect tan. But now, I feel guilty whenever I am not “doing anything”. I know I can’t be on the move every day… but I can’t seem to get myself to just relax for a whole day. So, instead of going to the beach the whole day, I just went in the mornings and walked around the city’s historical center in the afternoons.

Main sights are the 1877 Torre Reloj (clock tower), the 1890 neoclassical Teatro Municipal, the Moorish 1904 Casino Espanol (with Don Quixote paintings inside, of course!!), the 1871 Edificio de la Aduana (previous customs house turned nowadays into a small Museo Naval), the Palacio Astoreca, many lovely Georgian-style buildings, the monument built-in honor of Christophe Colomb by the Italian community of Iquique, old-style restored tram and a replica of THE famous “Esmeralda”.

Another pic of the 1877 Torre Reloj (clock tower).

The 1877 Torre Reloj (clock tower).

The 1890 neoclassical Teatro Municipal.

The Moorish 1904 Casino Espanol (with Don Quixote paintings inside, of course!!).

The 1871 Edificio de la Aduana.

Door knocker of the Moorish 1904 Casino Espanol.

Cute old red train.

The monument built-in honor of Christophe Colomb by the Italian community of Iquique.

An old-style restored tram.

The Palacio Astoreca.

Inside the Palacio Astoreca.

Beautiful glass ceiling inside the Palacio Astoreca.

…..The “Esmeralda”, a Chilean wooden corvette (boat), and its patriotic captain, Arturo Prat: the story says that a long long time ago (when Iquique was still a Peruvian port), there was a big war over the control of the Pacific ocean, between Chile and Peru.

The replica of THE famous “Esmeralda”.

The sea was a strategic access that both sides badly wanted; thus, both sides had the same idea to send in secret 2 boats to “destroy the enemy’s navy floats”. On the Chilean side, we had two old wooden ships: “Esmeralda” (Captain Prat) & “Covadonga” (Captain Condell). And, on the Peruvian side, we had two ironclad boats: “Huascar” & “Independencia” (commanded by Admiral Miguel Grau).

Statue of Capt. Arturo Prat on the main plaza.

What was bound to happen happened, and after hours of battling, the Peruvian ironclad “Huascar” sank the “Esmeralda”!

Another pic of the “Esmeralda”.

The “Esmeralda” and Capt. Prat are national prides.

Even though his ship was sinking and they were outnumbered, Captain Prat raised his sword and cried his final order: “Let’s board, boys!” The Chileans never gave up, fought till the end and screams of “Long Live Chile! Glory and Victory!” were heard till the end! Chileans may have lost this battle of Iquique, but not the war! Captain Prat’s sudden death inspired thousands of Chileans to join the army and the navy. It was a major factor that led Chile to the final victory!

Georgian-style buildings along the Baquedano street.

I loved learning about the history of Iquique’s battle, and I loved walking along the Baquedano Street,passing by these historical wooden built houses from the late 19th and 20th century! The wooden walkway, the palm trees and fountains that line the street, definitely contributed to the beauty of this street. And, my favorite building was the Astoreca Palace, a Georgian-style building built around 1904 and made out of Oregon Pine!

Baquedano street.

I imagined what life must have been back then…imagined it in my dreams… with the background sound of the ocean’s waves…

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