The bus ride went surprisingly well, even in a semi-cama. Finding our hostel, now that was a different story. We arrived in San Pedro de Atacama at around 3:30, unsure as to whether or not the owner of our hostel would be picking us up. When it appeared that we were on our own we headed out down the dusty roads. This tiny town (about 3,000 people) didn't seem to have any maps. Not to mention, our hostel didn't have one online and it was non existent in our book. But... Eric and I have been finding hostels for a while now, so we think “No problem!'
Problem. All that we know is that it is a 10 minute walk out of town. And we're in the desert, with our backpacks on. We ask multiple people for directions, getting the following responses: “Take a left, go two streets and turn left,” “I've never heard of that street in my life” “Right, I think you need to go right,” “I don't know, let me ask others. Nope, they don't know either.” We finally found the one information center in the town... closed. This continued for a little longer (read: forever), before we finally found a taxi and had him take us the 100 meters to our hostel. Guess we're were almost there.
San Pedro de Atacama is exactly how you would imagine an old west town to be. Most of the buildings are made of adobe, there is dust everywhere and a seemingly endless supply of sunshine in an amazingly blue sky. Eric and I both love it! And our hostel is no different; talk about character. We're staying in a six bed dorm, which seems to have been built recently and is really nice. The room is separate from the rest of the rooms, and there is a giant patio in the middle. The patio is full of cats, kittens, dirt, dogs, cacti, dirt, hammocks and a little more dirt. Eric and I both agree that this is the best one yet.
On our first day here we mostly just explored the town and ate some amazing lunch at this little shack of a restaurant. We made reservations for some upcoming tours, spent some time laying in the sun and relaxed – nothing too exciting. The next day we rented bikes and headed out to see the Atacamian ruins that are just outside of town. Had we known we were in for a hike, we may have skipped the flip flops. The ride itself wasn't so bad and the amazing views made the strenuous hike worth while. The rest of the day was again spent relaxing, including a nice dinner out and preparation for the excitement of sandboarding.
Sandboarding is hard.
This is what Eric told me when I said I wanted to do it. I would say that sandboarding is a lot like snowboarding. And like snowboarding, I am just not that good at it. Probably the worst part for me was that the more you fall, the more wax comes of your board and the slower you go. Sounds fine at first, until you're halfway down the dune trying to get the board to move - unsuccessfully. I'm still not sure the twenty minutes up the 70 meter dune is quite worth it (at least after the first 10 times), but it was a hell of a time.
Sandboarding is hard. Eric was right.
So now we are preparing for our three day tour to Uyuni, Bolivia. We are both incredibly excited about the largest salt flat in the world, the geysers, the hotel made of salt, the dangerous four wheel driving (which we're told will certainly scare us, especially me) and the 15,000ft above sea level – should be interesting.
Eric is getting excited as seeing Stephanie gets closer and closer. I'm getting nervous now that I'm realizing that all this travel only has one effect on me – all I want to do is travel more!