December 21, 2007

All Shook Up in Chile

Our tour of the Salar de Uyuni ended in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Crossing from Bolivia to Chile was our most serious border crossing yet--our luggage was inspected and our daypacks were opened.

Jared and I had high hopes for San Pedro de Atacama. Our guidebook described it as a "desert oasis", but we described it as expensive and hot as hell. As soon as we arrived, we began plotting our escape. I suppose San Pedro is a nice enough town if you are there to see the salt flats and geysers, but we had just seen those from the Bolivian side at 1/3 the price. Coming from Bolivia, everything was triple the price of what we were used to paying, which put a dent in our $25 a day budget. How much did we not like San Pedro? We didn´t take any photos. (Thanks, MIT Alumni travel program.)

Before sunrise on our last day in San Pedro, we were awakened by an earthquake. At the epicenter, approximately 60 miles away, the earthquake measured 6.7 on the Richter scale. What we felt measured around 5.0 and lasted for 30 seconds. In my sleepy stupor, I thought someone was trying to force open the door to our room. Jared realized what was going on and we ran outside. It was Jared´s first earthquake and my third; hopefully it will be the last one we experience on this trip.

We are in Argentina now, where the prices are reasonable and the steak is plentiful. You´ll hear more soon about our trip to wine country. In the meantime, a very Merry Christmas to everyone, especially my family.

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