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Arrival in Chile, san pedro de atacames

CHILE | Thursday, 25 May 2006 | Views [1097]

Arrive in San Pedro, not really having any  idea what to expect. It´s def not bolivia, or peru. but upon first encounter feels more like santa fe, 20 years ago, or tulluide co back in it´s early years ¨(i would guess). it´s dusty, mud brick walls, meager street signs, and a few many roads lined with hostals, cafes and tourist shops and agencies...., but it´s warm.

say good bye to my carmates from the tour, and start the hunt for money. 1atm that wont accept visa, and a handful of money exchange places that are all very picky about the condition of your dollar bill. after realizing that no one is going to except my slighly wrinkled 20s.. I dive into my emergency supply and return with crisp bills to change. 520 chilean pesos to the dollar. and my  little cheat sheet I carry around to  remind me of this crazy conversion.  I find a nice hostal , la ruca (actually the owner found me), walk around town, indulge in a fancy chicken wrap and juice for lunch, find a good book exchange, and return to the hostal...

in the evening, we have a bonfire, which turns into a bbq, and the manger, carlos, originally from santiago, starts a long evening of conversations about political exile (his family´s story), other cultures-countries behaviors and values, etc. he cooks up some meat and potatoes, and offers us wine, all in the name of good chilean hospitaltiy. Í´m convinced, so far. we converse for several hours, him, a guy from italy, another from belgium, and a bunch of germans. the funny thing about being among travellers, is that inevitably it comes up, people´s perceptions and judgments about other travellers, and by extension, other countries. israelies, I´ve noticed have a bad rap for being rude, and cheap.. germans, square and close knit... english, dont bother to learn spanish... and it goes on. surprisingly americans for the most part have a good reputation, w hich I was glad to hear...it´s interesting when these stereotypes and observations reveal themselves...

chile,so far is noticeable more expensive.. which is what I expected, but still shocking, to feel like prices are more comprable to the states than other  south american countries.

before getting on the bus the next morning, I take a short walk outside of town up to a mirador of the green bushy oasis of san pedro dwarfed by grand snowcapped volcanoes and hills in the distance.. the backside is full of deserty  mountains covered in sand and rocks. on the way back into town I poke into a few jewerely shops and see some of the nicest work I have yet , lots of silver, bronze and beautiful stones.. lapiz luzili? being a chilean favorite, and flat silver designs of the mapuche indigenous communities... wow. too bad they aren´t selling for bolivian prices.

2pm Im  on a  nice nice bus to la serena.. 18 hours on the coast.  chilean style.

Tags: On the Road

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