Immediately upon arriving in Santiago, I booked my passage out again. Second time in a row (Valparaíso was the first) – bad, I know, for a city I haven’t even seen yet, but necessary during peak season! My next destination is San Pedro de Atacama, a 23 hour bus ride away. Unfortunately, all direct buses were booked until Tuesday, and same for buses connecting in Calama. Fortunately, my Amazing Race fandom came in handy, as I knew I could connect in Antofagasta. Unfortunately again, my extremely lacking Spanish made this a very large ordeal to book. Fortunately again, the guy at the bus company was super nice, made sure everything was clear (despite the speedy Chilean Spanish), and even walked me to the other terminal where my bus is to depart. The whole peak season thing factors in again though – I had to settle for a higher class seating than I intended, which means paying a lot more, but hey, for a full day on a bus, it’ll be nice.
I arrived at the hostel Lihuén recommended, and then managed to meet up with Amanda (Sweden), whom I met waaaay back on my very first day in Buenos Aires! Santiago is her home base, so she became my guide for the day.
But first – lunch. Hadn’t eaten anything since the giant dinner in Valpo the night before at 8:30pm, and it was now 2:30pm. Oops. Amanda and I wandered in to Barrio Bellavista and quickly found a restaurant. Upon her suggestion (and the kitchen running out of my first choice), I ended up with pastel de choclo, which is mashed corn, chicken, ground beef, onions, and a couple olives and raisins, all baked in a clay pot. Delicious beyond imagination, but extremely filling – I couldn’t finish more than three quarters! Continue reading