Santiago to San Pedro the 24+ hour bus trip.

Trip Start Nov 03, 2012
Trip End Dec 31, 2012

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

First experience of bus travel - if we can get a seat on the bus. Plan B - plane, Plan C - rent a car, D - ???

Well, as we had successfully arranged a bus ticket from Santiago to San Pedro via Calama, today was the day we took the long, long LONG trip from the capital, north.
Our bus left the bus station at 2pm. Our check out time was 11, so after a breakfast that did not include cheese (but did include a suspect yogurt) we packed our bags and arranged for a taxi to pick us up at 1pm from the hostel (ok, by 'we arranged' we mean we talked to the desk staff, we hacked the Spanish language, they butchered the English language and eventually we got our needs understood. She called for the taxi after which we confirmed with Leonardo (the guy who gave us a lift on Saturday) that all plans were in place.
There is a sense (at least from Alexis) that unless you feel totally assured that they know what you mean, and you know what they mean, a simple arrangement could end up with you dropped off 500kms from your intended destination at 2am by a smiling, nodding but ultimately unhelpful soul.

We went for a walk to the Museum of modern art (600 pesos per adult, approx $1.20 AUD) for an hour or so. The main front gallery has a number of neo classical style sculptures while up stairs are a number of reproductions of famous statues (including Sofocles failing to work out how to put his robe on after a hard night at the forum).
Chile is proud of its modern artists and one in particular who seems fascinated by the shape of the head. The entire basement of the modern art museum was filled with pottery sculptures of heads, open skulls, and nearly 100 watercolours and sketches on the subject.
The museum has a gift shop which, surprisingly contained little in the way of tat and mostly contained little arty interpretations of common household items... Ok. It was filled with tat.
But it was fancy tat.

We walked to Emporio La Rosa the ice ceam parlor we discovered on the walking tour on Sunday. Ordering coffee is easy (dos cafe espresso por pavor) but ice cream was a labour of love. The issue seemed to be she was asking us if we wanted one scoop, one flavor, or if only one person was having ice cream. 5 mins of wild hand movements later and we had two short blacks (must remember to ask for grande) and a glass bowl with a scoop of chocolate naranja and a scoop of duche de leche (think choc orange and Nutella).

Spent a relaxing hour in the park in front of the Ruben Dario statue, biding our time before we needed to head back to the hostel for our taxi pick up.

The 15 min private taxi from Hostel Bella to the Tur-Bus terminal cost $5000CLD ($10AUD) and it only took a few mins to work out which bus bay we needed to wait at (it was on our ticket, just took some time for the mental translation). The bus left bang on time and our seats were gadget filled and comfortable.
How happy we would be with the gadgets and comforts 20 hours or so later was anyone's guess.

We arrive at the La Serena bus terminal a little before 8pm where the few that were on our bus got of and were replaced by the many.

A second supper of ham roll and peanuts followed by men in black 3 in Spanish. More movies followed but by 9 the lights were off, blankets on, seats back and we were asleep.

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