Our last day in San Pedro de Atacama was spent chilling and lurking around town. We leeched some Wi-fi from a restaurant we ate at earlier but they must have seen us sitting outside and changed their password. The hostel we stayed at didn’t want us leaving our bags by them and said we should take them to the bus station.
San Pedro’s bus station is a bit of a hippy haven. (So Marc fitted right in with his beard!). We met a small, friendly guy with dreadlocks who said he is a yoga professor and allowed us to leave our big backpacks in the shop he works in. He asked where we are from and I told him that we are from South Africa. I’m not sure if he heard me correctly or if he wanted to change the subject, but he responded by saying:”Aah, I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand.”
Holly, Ian, Marc and I travelled with TurBus from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama which was a pleasant one and a half hours drive. They played random cartoon snippets with Spanish music and the silliest but funniest song we saw is “Pio Pio!” The song is stuck in all of our heads! Here’s the You Tube clip if you want to watch it. (But you have to be in the right mood to appreciate it.) Cute Pio Pio Song
Calama was just a brief stop-over. From there we took an overnight bus with Pullman Company to Caldera. The bus was clean and they provided blankets and pillows. We almost got off the bus an hour before Caldera because at a stop Holly asked the guy working on the bus “Is this Caldera?” And he responded with: “Si, si.” Luckily the bus started driving again before we got off.
We arrived in Caldera on a Sunday morning so there was not much happening around town. The small harbour was decorated with colourful, little boats. There were the usual random dogs roaming around. We trekked with our backpacks to our hotel, Hotel Mirador, while it was drizzling lightly. We bought supplies at the local grocery store to have a braai that evening. It was quite nice to shop for and prepare our own food again for a change. The “braai-broodjies” were as usual really, really lekker!
Today Marc and I got a lift to Bahia Ingles which is a pretty beach close by. We strolled around the bay and ate ceviche and seafood empanadas before walking the 7 km back to Caldera. Tonight we are taking an overnight bus with Pullman Company again. Our next stop is Santiago, Chile’s capital city.