And so a not so merry band of us arrived in San Pedro de Atacama - hot and tired after our 3 day off road adventure at the top of the world! When we were assailed by the hoards of accommodation touts at the door of the bus, we went easily with the first one that seemed to be offering an okay price. We were thrilled to be taken to a cosy little hostel with hammocks, decent showers, a LAUNDRY service (hurray!) and seriously comfy beds! One thing I have started to notice in what is now my 3rd month on the road is how easily pleased you become.
After a doze in the hot afternoon sun and some showers, spirits were high again. We all went for some pizza and beer and met up with a German couple who had just come from Argentina. After dinner, I really needed some ME time. Having spent about a week in the company of the same ppl, I just felt like doing some solo wandering...one of my favourite things to do when I land somewhere new.
San Pedro is a really cool, laid back place..although very tourist oriented. It also feels exteremly safe and I felt myself just relaxing after 2 and half months of really watching my own back. Stayed up quite late that night chatting to the ppl in the hostel and swopping stories. Many of them were heading the way we had just come, so we were able to help them out. Slept like a BABY for the first time in a few weeks.
The next morning some of my group went sandboarding, but myself and a Danish girl chose to go biking instead and we ended up spending a really relaxing afternoon chatting and drinking beers in a really cool restaurant. It was a good laugh, I got on really well with her and Im now going to stay with her and her boyfriend in their apartment in Santiago for a few days when I get back from Easter Island.
That night I boarded a bus for Santiago - a 24hour bus journey!! As we drove out of San Pedro into the Atacama desert the sun was setting over the mountains, and it was one of the most beautiful sights of my life. The guy who sat beside me had no English and we managed to have a conversation for 2 hours using gestures and laughing at the state of each other until I finally crashed out. The bus journey was very very long, but better than I thought it would be. We had plenty of movies and food to keep us happy. The CHilean bus services are like airplanes - the attention from the stewards is excellent and everything is very comfortable - so overall the journey was fine. We arrived in Santiago yesterday evening at 7:30 - I went straight to the local HI hostel (which I highly recommend!!). I ended up sharing a room with 2 really sound girls from England. We szpent the night in the bar chatting and we met a guy from Ireland who was great craic.
Life doesnt get much better than this.