In desert country

Trip Start Jan 12, 2009
Trip End Apr 02, 2009

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Flag of Chile  ,
Wednesday, March 11, 2009

After some 1670 kilometres north from Santiago, I got into San Pedro de Atacama at about 3:30 pm, after enduring yet another ride on an overnight bus (I set a personal record this time - a little over 24 hours!).  I think I had the least amount of exercise I have ever had during that 24-hour period.  Wasn't sure exactly how to get to the hostel from the bus terminal, since there were no taxis waiting and it absolutely didn't seem like any would wander by.  I decided to follow the other backpackers, and luckily I found the street my hostel was located on after only 3 blocks.  With much relief, I discovered that Hiyasmin and Kushal had already checked in (which meant that our plan to meet up in the desert was coming into fruition).  The reception lady took me to our room, and I hurriedly collapsed on the upper bunk bed, glad to be lying flat and eager for a bit of sleep.  I woke up a while later, not exactly sure how long I had napped, and my friends were in the common area, having just got back after a day of biking around the town...

Didn't do much for the remainder of the day - surfed the net a little at a small, cramped, hot internet café with a nice owner, had a glass of cold mango juice at a café next door, bought some groceries, cooked some dinner.  San Pedro de Atacama is a small little town in the middle of the desert and looks like the set of a classic Western movie - one-storey adobe buildings, dirt roads, narrow streets, scorching sun...

Tomorrow, a full day tour is in order of I don't know quite what, but it should be exciting.  As members of SAE, we got a 15% discount too which is good.  We are also still eagerly waiting for Julia and Andy, and wondering when and even where we will meet up...

On another important note, things are so much more expensive in Chile than in Perú!  I am still in shock after 3 days!  (edit:  also, it is much more difficult to do math in your head since $1 USD = 600 Chilean pesos!  On the plus side, one kinda feels richer having thousands of pesos in the wallet.)
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Where I stayed
Residencial Vilacoyo
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