Was silly enough to start reading a new book, which was such an easy read that I was halfway through it... at six in the morning. So was slightly not quite ready when I heard the others waking up and ready to go to breakfast the next morning. Nonetheless managed to catch them before they left, and got my belly filled. Until the bill came, thought the food in Chile was pretty good...!
Having bought a bus ticket leaving in the afternoon for San Pedro de Atacama, went for a walk through town with my friends from the salt flat tour, in the direction of the huge shopping centre we had glimpsed as our bus pulled into Calama. As is always inevitable when in a group, we moved pretty slowly, as various people popped into various shops to satisfy various demands. Nearer to the shopping centre however, our progress was slowed by the powerful wind kicking up continuous veils of sand. "Who's idea was it to go this way?" demanded Louise, as we had to walk against the wind backwards.
Craig and Dan wanted to catch a movie at the cinema - everyone had a connecting bus later in the evening. As my bus was leaving pretty shortly, I was happy enough to log online for fifteen minutes. As expected, there was an email from my bus sister Anna - a girl I had met when learning to scuba dive in Honduras, way back in February. We had arranged to meet at San Pedro, as she had ten days for some travelling, at the end of a two weeks conference in Santiago, Chile. The original plan was that we could head across the Andes together, as I preferred to spend more time on the Argentinien side, but before I left Bolivia, she thought that maybe that would be too ambitious. Never mind, we could still spend a few days together to catch up with stuff in San Pedro.
But her email didn't correspond to the name of any place I recognised - as I didn't know much about the geography of Chile. Turned out that there had been a change of plan on Wednesday (when I was halfway to San Pedro already), and she decided to go to the south of Chile, to the island of Chiloe. Thinking that since San Pedro was en-route to Argentina anyway, she didn't feel too bad that she'd left me in the desert.
I didn't know what to think upon hearing this news... because though possibe to continue onto Argentina from here, it was a lot simpler and cheaper to go directy from Bolivia. And I knew that I had limited time, and wouldn't be able to see Chile AND Argentina, but would prefer Argentina - and had gone into Chile purely to meet up with Anna, as we had shared a fun week together on the Carribean. And I had just bought a ticket to San Pedro, to meet a phantom friend... what should I do? Straight through to Argentina?? Since I was already here, decided to try to see a little of the place.
So was on the bus, going west again near the Bolivian border, passing more deserts and mountains. The scenery was spectacular, and upon arrival, found San Pedro to be a very pretty town. But oh, the prices!! My hostel, beautiful and quiet as it was, was the most expensive I have paid so far on my trip - a dorm with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities at US$10 a night. The other time was in Nicaragua, cos I had missed my boat to the Isla de Ometepe, with insufficient funds, and had to stay at a nice place which would accept travellers' cheques. But that was a double room with own bathroom - not to mention lots of dead bugs...
Anyway spent the afternoon walking around, and pondering on my options for the next few days. Tried to place a reservation on a bus to Salta, Argentina, so that I would be sure to get there, but apparently I had to return there to confirm in a couple of days... so was hoping for the best....