San Pedro De Atacama: Money and Sand

Posted on June 8, 2011

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Having successfully fooled an English couple into thinking that a few days in my company wouldn´t be too bad, I found a quiet and decent hostel in San Pedro shortly after arriving in Chile. After a decent salmon lunch, noticeably much more expensive than in Bolivia (a feeling that was to become familiar), the next day´s activities were sorted and the wine drinking could begin. This proved more problematic than expected, as the town has introduced a bizarre rule that no bar may serve solely alcohol, meaning that with every drink the place in question must provide some form of edibles, be it peanuts or a full salad.

This did not negate the need for dinner, and after deciding I was a little to masculine for stargazing in the desert night (a decision mi amigos later made me regret), I stocked up on a fantasic goat´s cheese sandwich, bought some cheap wine and spent a night at the hostel watching dubbed movies. This made the next morning unpleasant, as I hired bikes with the still unaware English couple and cycled into the Valle de la Luna. Obviously, being English tourists, this did not prove as easy as expected, and we got lost several times. Despite the fact that I was sweating like a pig, the scenery was enjoyable and we discovered some interesting caves to meander through. My timing was off, however, and I had to leave them to peddle insanely back to town for a pre-arranged sandboarding trip.

I had sandboarded previously in Huacachina in Peru, but this time I had a proper lesson and was thus able to negotiate the dune in true style, rather than lying down on the board, pushing myself off and hoping for the best. The only downside was that, unlike in Huacachina, there was no sand-buggy to pick you up and return you to the top of the dune. You had to walk.

Considering myself suitably exercised, I returned to town in time to sample a beer at a local bar, before returning to the hostel to cook  a meal that could barely be called edible, drink gallons of cheap wine and retire to bed as a bumbling mess. San Pedro had been good to me, plus I had obtained one of the passport stamps that were rapidly becoming an obsession, but I had already decided against returning to Chile given the excessive cost everything involved.

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Posted in: Experience, Travel