...Well it's been a long time since our last blog on our amazing three day tour through the Salar in the south of Bolivia. But there's a reason why its been so long! We had to out fox family in New Zealand who were trying to guess when we'd be arriving home. So to put them off our trail, we told some porkies, including that we were going to stay longer than planned in Argentian, Brazil and Chile. So when we acutally only stayed one night in San Pedro, Chile we obviously couldn't write a blog saying so. And then what eventuated to conceal our true whereabouts and proximity to home was something of a blog drought!
So now that we are home and have surprised all those in the dark (complete with various expressions and shreks of surprise) we are able to continue entertaining you with the remainder of our travel stories. To pick up where we left off....
....It's an hour's drive downhill to San Pedro and we lose all the altitude we have gained since Uyuni and some.
On the outskirts of San Pedro we stop for Chilean immigration formalities which see us getting our stamp for the length of our stay and then having to put all our gear through an x-ray machine for a MAF-like inspection. We throw our bags back onto the bus through a window, clamber back on and drive a short distance to the town centre where we are dropped off. Touts descend on us immediately. We take their pamphlets but refuse to commit to anything.
We head off with Amy and Dave in search of a hostel. The first one is well out of our budgets. The second one we try is cheaper but still expensive (6000 pesos per person for a quad room!) but we swallow it, deciding that we can always move somewhere cheaper if we're going to be here more than one night. We are all anxious to find out what day buses leave for Salta, Argentina, so as soon as we have our room to dump our gear in we head back out to a bus office we passed on our way into town.
At the Andesmar office we find that there is a bus tomorrow mid morning. With the price of accommodation unexpectedly high in San Pedro, we are all keen to get somewhere that is somewhat cheaper, so jump at the chance of leaving the next day. We reserve four seats on the bus and head off in search of an ATM to get a hold of some Chilean pesos. Eventually we track down a Visa ATM that is in service and withdraw 150,000 pesos. Which actually is b***** all once things like a room costs 12,000 and bus seats costs 23,800 each.
With this sorted, we head back to the hostel for much needed showers. We've been traipsing around San Pedro, in the desert heat in all our layers of thermals and jackets from the cold altitude of the Salar! Finally we are ready to find some lunch around 3pm. We read menu after menu, exclaiming over the prices of Chile. Eventually we settle for a set menu lunch for 5000 pesos and dine on a green salad (it's great to have some greens!), steak with potatoes followed by crepes with a raspberry sauce, all washed down with a glass of red wine.
After some thinking we decide not to do a tour to the Lunar Valley as we'd previously thought we would. We've seen some photos at tour agencies around town and the scenery looks rather similar to Huacachina in Peru and the Salar landscapes. We sort some accommodation for Salta. Amy and Dave head off for a star gazing tour and Ryan and I head out for some dinner. There's a power cut during dinner, but luckily our food is cooked already so we are able to eat, by candlelight!