What a Calama-ty
Trip Start Nov 17, 2010
38Trip End Feb 27, 2011
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The bus left San Pedro de
Atacama at 8am, and 2 hours later we arrived in Calama. Much to our dismay there were no direct buses to La Paz from Calama either! We enquired about reaching La Paz, and it turned out the best way would be to get a bus to the northern tip of Chile, to a town called Arica, then
get a bus from there to La Paz. Since we already felt cheated once by the bus ticket seller in San Pedro, we were unsure, but ended up booking the first bus to Arica - 9:50pm that day.
This left us with 11 hours in a town that we hadn't planned to stop in. Wikipedia told us that there was a large copper mine in Calama... and that was about it. We left our bags at the bus company and walked to the closest supermarket, where we bought a whole BBQ chicken and some bread for lunch
fended them off.
Afterwards we walked for nearly two hours to reach a large shopping complex at the other side of town, which looked really new and some parts were still being built. On the way we walked through some fresh fruit markets, a gigantic car park for a new supermarket, and also a
large casino or hotel. Since it was Christmas it was fairly busy, but they didn't seem to go all out on Christmas decorations like back at home.
After checking out the shopping complex we walked another hour back into town, then found a net cafe where we ended up spending 5 hours uploading and backing up photos, so the day wasn't totally wasted.
One interesting thing I noticed was that at least one in four cars on the road in Calama was a red ute (pickup truck). It was really bizarre.
We eventually walked back to the bus station and waited the final hour there until our bus turned up (30 minutes late).