Chilling in Chili

Trip Start Oct 20, 2008
Trip End Feb 08, 2009

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Flag of Chile  ,
Thursday, November 20, 2008

Second half of third day of excursion

After getting into the bus to take us to the border town of San Pedro de Atacama we directly notice the difference between the two countries: from a desert with now roads but just a set of anarchic tracks we get onto a beautifully asphalted road with big signs, security barriers, and security stops for trucks very 200m. The border is at around 4000m altitude with the road going strait down to San Pedro (2800m). Once we get to San Pedro we had to deal with the Chilien border authorities which I think are as bad as the old USSR border checks. For the first time we had to open all our bag (not just us but everyone) btu everything went ok (we got rid of the last of our coca by giving it to the driver).

Once we arrived in San Pedro the dutch people we were travelling with gave teh money we had lent them and swe had lunch together at a restaurant, it is at this point that we woke up to a crashing reality: we are no longer in Bolivia or Perou and Chili is very expensive (5 to 10 times more than in Bolivia). After having paid our bill of 50 euros (10 euros per person) we decided that we were going to have to reduce our standard of living. lol.  In comparaison a very nice meal in Bolivia cost 1-2euros per person.

The town is very touristic and as we walked around we saw loads of travel agents proposign sand boarding, After discusion we decided taht we were goign to Sandboard and then leave for Santiago or Valaparaiso in the evening. We went sandboarding  - it was really good fun. First few tiems we were carefull - didn't put to much wax on the board, took slow boards, and went on small dunes but it didnt take long fro me and oli to go down the biggest dunes with as much wax as was possible on the board. I did a nice wipe out trying to jump, as did Oli. lol but no major bruises on injuries to declare.

When we came back Xavi decided that he was going to try to work here and as such we decided to stay a night or two to see how it went. Found a cheap dormitory in a camping (cheap on these standards but still 11 euros per person compared to the 4 euros for a private room with bathroom in bolivia).

Guys sleeping at the campsite stold us they were planning on going to the valley fo the moon in the night by bike (20 km) to check out the stars then the sunrise, after much hesitation (because we had been up since 4am Chili time) we went to rent the bikes at 9pm thinking that at least if we had the bikes we could go.

Oli and I were very tired but layed low for the evening to save energy and finally followed the guys out at 2h30. After getting lost a few times we managed to get tot eh valley at around 4am. Beautiful canyon ranging from 50cm - 2m wide  and 10-50m high. The rock is a mixture of Salt, clay, and other which means you actually sink into the grond a bit when you walk but the rock is hard, so quite weird. Walked around in caves, canyons, and ontop of the caves/canyons. Very very nice and unique. After have laid at teh bottom of a cave/canyon watching teh sky we all climbed a nearby moutain to watch the sunrise. 

Left at 8 am, got back at 9am, had breakfeast and collapsed in bed after over 30hrs which saw us, admiring geysers, swimming in thermal waters, crossing the desert, crossing the boarder, sandboarding, biking, walking/hiking. Once again a very plentiful day !!!
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Where I stayed
Sol Naciente - Camping
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