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San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama = July 5, 13:15

Buenos dias! Here we are in San Pedro de Atacama.  We are checked into a nice little hostel called Eden Atacama for 1700 B/night.  It is a pretty basic room, with a shared washroom.  Here was our first experience with the “put used toilet paper in waste bin not in the toilet.”  It’s not as disgusting as I thought, but is still pretty bad.  Still a step up from the Vietnamese squat toilets.

As for San Pedro, the first thing you realize is how small the town is.  It was a 5 min walk across town to get from the bus terminal to our hostel.  We didn’t really know what to expect from a town of just under 5,000 inhabitants.  The sad part is tourism’s trail here takes away from the authentic feel of the town.  Prices are really high here, almost double.  It still is a nice relaxed place.  Walking through the streets reminds me of the Mexican-town feel of movies like Desperado, and The Mexican.

The temperature drop when the sun sets.  It is literally freezing.  The town’s nightlife revolves around café bonfires.  We were off on our timing eating wise with the 24 bus ride.  We were starving, so pretty much went out to eat at 16:00.  We found that lots of restaurants here have good wifi.  Figure out that, High speed internet in the middle of the desert? Technology eh?  I had a nice San Pedro style chicken, while Paul had steak with salad.  After dinner we literally ran back to our hostel to bundle up with hoodies. It was ridiculous how fast the temperature plummeted.

So after we were ready for the night, we headed off to have some drinks around a bonfire.  Nothing was really bumping yet, so we just opted to go to an empty fire café and relax and warm up.  We each had a red wine, and I tried Coca tea (made with Coca leaves – the base for Cocaine).  It was really good tea.  Just as we were finishing up our three Irish friends found us.  Shane, Ciara, and Sinead are on a 7 week trip somewhat similar to ours.  So we paid or bill and headed out.

We went to the towns bumpin’ spot: the Adobe.  All nightlife revolves around Cafes.  It is illegal to sell alchohol straight to customers without food here, hence Bars are really cafes here.  It was an excellent atmosphere.  Some native’s were playing music, there was a bonfire in the plaza.  So we opted to drink here for the night… Soon enough it filled up with locals.  We enjoyed Mojito’s, Cervesa’s (Crystal) and some more red wine.  Once the alcohol got flowing we were invited to party with the locals.  We had a bunch of friends by the end of the night.  One persistent one was a chef named Pablo.  I once made the mistake of calling him Pedro (Vote for Pedro?).  Abruptly he yelled “Pablo, not Pedro Amigo!!!”  Then I yelled “Pablo Escobar?” hahahha, good times.  So once the party started dying down a group of lesbians and Pedro were trying to get us to go to a house party with them, but we wanted a little more relaxed atmosphere, so Ciara managed to head out and buy us a fat bottle of red wine, and the 5 of us headed back and started our own campfire in our hostel where we sipped red wine.

We packed it up around 02:00.  We slept in this morning and caught some rays in hammocks.  Now were at a restaurant enjoying lunch.  We’re pretty much just guessing things to order, and it’s worked out great thus far.  I’m sticking to local specialties, currently eating a Atacama-style sandwich.  We are going on a tour of the salt lakes in 1 hr time with Ciara, Shane, and Sinead.  I am excited to go for a swim today.  Apparently the lakes are freezing at the surface, then 3 feet down it’s warm. The problem being salt content prevents one from diving down.  It should be relaxing.

Until then,

Aidios Amigos!

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