My first border crossing!
15.05.2012 - 17.05.2012 25 °C
We had our bus booked to collect us just outside Purmamarca´s village at 9am, which really meant 10.30am, I was really getting used to the timings of South Aerica, or should I say the very slow timimg of South America!
From here we drove through the last of Arentina´s north/western landscapes towards the border of Chile. I cant describe it any other way than it looked like the landscape you would expect from Mars. Beautifully smooth sand dunes, mountains in red/orange colourings, dusty road paths and bright blue skies, with no clouds in sight. It was like this for at least 5 hours.
The border crossing was painless, although a bit long winded, but here i got my 2nd stamp in the passport from South America. Yay!!
I got a bit overwhelmed as the enormity of what I have been doing up until now had finally sunk in. Although I iss ho, family and friends massively, i realised then that if i was back home I would never get the opportunity to see or do what i have been and will de doing. It was a good feeling.
Once we left the Chilean Immigration it was a 5 minute journey to San Pedro de Atacama town. We were now in the desert. Blazing sunshine, sandy roads, a real chilled out atmosphere. the way I would describe this town would be a ski resort but instaed of snow, replace it with sand.
A big group of us fro the coach ended up going to the same hostel, which was ok on first impressions, altough we later found that it was a bit like a kids camp, where lights had to be turned off at 10pm and no alcohol was allowed on the premises. This we found was quite common in the whole town of San Pedro.
Its a great little touristy town where most peoples purpose is to go from here and cross the border into Bolivia by taking a 3 day tour to Uyuni, Bolivia, where you drive across the amazing Salt Flats. We booked with a tour operator Cordeillia, who were a bit pricey but very impressive and we had been reccommended them from a number of people. We had heard some horror stories about the cheaper operators and wanted to know we were safe.
So the town is made up of lots of tour operators, selling this tour, as well as star gazing trips, sand boarding etc... There are lots of resturants/bars, but you can only have an alcoholic beverage if you are eating and the night life dies down around 1 am, unless you are invited to a "secret party" (although its not so sectret as everyone knows about them).
Apart from chilling in the sun in the days and freezing our butts off at night, the only other thng i participated in, was the star gazing, which through the freezing temperatures, i really enjoued. You could see one "arm" of the Milky Way which was a amazing, the Southern Cross, the blazing orange of Mars and the rings around Saturn. As we were in the desert this was the perfect place to look at the stars, as it was so clear and no other light polution.
I really liked san pedro for its chilled out atmosphere, but for me this was only a stopping point for my next adventure towards Bolivia...