Warmth at last
Trip Start Sep 28, 2011
332Trip End Ongoing
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The decent into Chile is remarkable, and we're dropping feet all the time. My ears are popping constantly, and a glance out the window displays more sprawling desolate landscape. We're heading down into San Pedro de Atacama, which is a small dusty town bordering the driest desert on earth. With the decent comes a little heat, and when we pull into the Chilean side customs office, many passengers are happy to have shed a few layers. It really is incredible the difference a few miles can make in environment and weather.
Apart from America, this will be the first time I've had my bags scanned as I enter a new country. I'm a little apprehensive someone has managed to stash something in there as I fire the luggage through the X-ray machine. To be honest even if there was some contraband shoved in my Sporran, the woman wouldn't have noticed it anyway, as she's too busy gassing to her colleague and paying little attention to the screen. On the bus into town, I overhear a young lady behind me embarrassed following the discovery of a sex toy. Whether it was a real incident or a joke I know not, but I can imagine the hysterics customs officials must erupt in if such a thing were to occur. To be honest I hope it does, as it must seriously brighten their day. Just so long as it doesn't happen to me, which of course is only a matter of time. I'm guess when I'm leaving Bangkok.
A short time later and we've found a pleasant hostel a few hundred yards stroll out of town. San Pedro is a charming little place, with sandy streets and a laid back vibe. There is still a lot to do here, with treks into the Atacama desert, sand boarding and stargazing all on the agenda. With the imminent approach of the European Championships however, Paddy and myself are content to take it easy, particularly after the crammed cold jeep experience of the past four days. It's heaven to have access to a hot shower and a warm bed, and for the first time in nearly a week I'm not wearing all my clothes under the duvet. Especially after we've hit the town and become nicely toasted with Mojitos.