21 hours on the bus. I decided to take the economy bus...probably not the best decision I´ve made...but then it really wasn´t that bad. What was bad about the bus trip was the fact that I sat right next to the bathroom. A crowded bus, 21 hours, very few rest stops - it was pretty bad back there by the end of the trip...and it wasn´t very fresh when we left.
One highlight was the guy I sat next to - at first I thought it might be a painful time with him as he´d taken my window seat and had his elbow all over the ´neutral armrest´ in the middle when I got there. I had a hard time understanding him at first but he turned out to be pretty cool. He was a miner working 20 days in Calama and then 10 days at home with his family. Tough way to earn a living but gotta do it...his words. He ended up giving me a bunch of the food his wife packed him.
Quite impressive scenery up the Chilean coast on Route 5...like California in more ways than one. Kind of surprised how quickly it turned to desert though. I´m here in the middle of the Atacama desert, which is known as the driest place on earth, and I can believe it...this place makes Tucson look like a rain forest. Haven´t seen anything growing in the countryside in this area. I´m not going to see the more interesting ´salt flat´areas near here...I believe I´ve seen quite enough of those.
I´d planned on seeing the world´s largest copper mine today, but due to my inattention to my tourbook I´ll have to skip...not open on weekends...when I found that out today I was really, really unhappy with myself, but I´m over it now. I´m going to go ahead and bolt out of here tonight on another night bus which will get me to the Peruvian border by morning. From there, I went ahead and picked up a cheap flight for Monday into Lima. Enough with these bus trips.