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    South by South America Tour – Chile Part 20

    Monday, September 9, 2019
    Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

    The STGO sign at the Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile.
    The STGO sign at the Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile.

    I woke up pretty early (for me) today at 8:00 am so that after breakfast I could go to the money changer to convert some Argentina pesos to Chile ones and pay a visit to Mr. ATM. After checking out of the Hostel Plaza de Armas, I took the subway over to the San Borja bus terminal. I was three hours early, so I murdered some time by organizing the collection of ephemera—brochures, postcards, receipts, ticket stubs, etc.—I had collected during my trip so far. (I use those items as eye candy in my travel scrapbook when I return home.) Then I ate some really cold, bland buffet food (Is there any other kind?) before heading out to the platforms to wait for the Turbus to arrive. As 2:50 pm rolled around, so did the bus.

    Goodbye, Santiago, Chile.
    Goodbye, Santiago, Chile.

    There was a guy sitting in my spot (the top front left aisle seat), so I just sat in an empty one across from him. Even though he was in his 30s or 40s, he was snapping chewing gum like a arrogant young girl, which was pretty annoying after a while. I was surprised only a few people boarded that big ol’ double decker, but then figured correctly that more would get on later. In fact, the bus almost filled up at another terminal in Santiago not far away. Someone else claimed the seat I was in, so I moved over to my actual assigned seat. The Gum Snapping Guy had moved to the window seat to my left. Then a young Asian guy showed up and claimed the seat the Gum Snapping Guy was in, so he had to move back a row.

    The San Borja bus terminal in Santiago, Chile.
    The San Borja bus terminal in Santiago, Chile.

    With everyone settled, we proceeded through Santiago and out into the countryside. Shockingly, no ultra violent action movies played on the screen, as usual, just a weird show with some Chilean guys clowning around. The only thing that was off about the Turbus was the fact that there was no toilet paper. Luckily, I read about that situation beforehand and brought a roll of my own. Oh, and they didn’t serve any drinks or snacks on the bus. At one point, a vendor climbed aboard and sold drinks and snacks out of a cooler.

    A Turbus bound for Calama at the San Borja bus terminal in Santiago, Chile.
    A Turbus bound for Calama at the San Borja bus terminal in Santiago, Chile.

    Part way into the journey, the Asian guy started reading quietly aloud from a Chinese to Spanish translation book, which he proceeded to do for hours on end. The terrain was by now pretty much a desert. Around 7:00 pm, we got to witness a nice sunset over the Pacific Ocean as we cruised by a windmill farm along the coast. At 9:00 pm, the bus stopped at the terminal in La Serena for a 30-minute break so passengers could buy food or use the toilet. (The bus had also stopped at numerous roadside stops and several small town stations.)

    On the road at sunset from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.
    On the road at sunset from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.

    Words and photos ©2019 Arcane Candy.

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