Flooded in San Pedro de Atacama (the desert!)

We survived our 2 nights in Calama or ’Calamity’ as our friends named it after losing an iPhone. We actually stayed in the same apartment but were super careful not to leave anything. It seems that forgetting an item in a hotel room is like leaving a tip for the cleaners. Only a few days ago Mo left a fleece and socks in Hotel Magia in Uyuni, we went back to ask and were told to return in an hour. Only later we discovered the fleece had several ‘personal’ items in the pockets as it had no doubt been keeping someone else warm! Still, good outcome as we’d had a dispute about the already expensive bill which they’d tried to double! The socks were ’thrown away’, we returned the favour with their ‘pawn’ on a USB drive. (post script – missing socks found in Mo’s dirty washing bag!).

For a booming mining town the Calama centre is pretty strange. More

Back to Chile after 21 years

4th February 2013. Our bus from Uyuni in Bolivia to Calama in Chile leaves at 4am so we are up at 3am to get out of ‘El Salvador’, our less than salubrious hostal. My suggestion of just going for a late dinner and and crashing on a park bench hadn’t been met by much (any) enthusiasm and our 3 bed, £9.50 room with rather basic facilities was a bit of a climb down from the 4* Salt Hotel the day before. I am quietly satisfied that BZL share beds and sleep on the floor with few complaints, better to view a comfy bed as a luxury to be appreciated rather than an entitlement that the loss of ruins your day.

The Bolivian Chilean border

The Bolivian Chilean border

We are out the door at 3.29am to cross the road to the bus office, very glad that another gap year lesson of not unpacking everything each time you stop seems to be hitting home. ’Lazy Lara’ yet again refuses to carry her rucksack, no excuse as it only weighs 2.5kg, kind Dad having swapped her clothes for the kids life jackets. 2 years ago she carried a far heavier one in Cambodia like a trooper. I think the problem is a combination of being the youngest and a touch spoiled plus her force of nature personality that means she generally gets her own way and pushes the boundaries. Maybe I am a bit cynical (moi?) but I think she has worked out that ’Mummy, I’m tired’ is a great way of getting your bag, and often Lara, carried! One to work on.

The 12ish hour journey with Trans Azul has cost us 750 Bolivianos or £14/head (interestingly the ticket says 700BS so the lady in the bus office has made a quick 50BS, about half a day’s salary, I bet she loves this job!).


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