The trip back took much longer than I expected. We were up at 5 and on the road by 5:30, and so I expected us to make it back by 10:30. The road was bumpy and our driver had to go pretty slow through most of it, and then once we got to the Chilean/Bolivian border we had to show our passports and pay a surprise fee of 15 bolivianos. While this is only about $2, none of us planned on having to pay it. Luckily I had enough to pay in bolivianos, but the other people I was traveling with had to pay in Chilean pesos (and consequently it cost more).
After waiting at the border for about an hour, we changed to a bus that transported about 20 of us back to San Pedro. It was about an hour ride, and before entering the town we had to go through immigration and then unload all of our bags and go through customs. Finally at 1:00 we were dropped off in downtown San Pedro.
By this point I was starving, and so I went to a restaurant named Inti Sol. I´ve heard it has really good food. Take a look at the sandwich I got:
I don´t know if you can tell from this picture, but it´s about the size of my head. There´s no way you could fit it into your mouth, and so I ate it with a fork and knife.
After that, I made my way back to the hostel and got a long overdue shower and shave. This was my first time getting to do so since Monday, and it really made me realize how much I take hot water for granted.
I spent the rest of the day walking around town and then hanging out with people at the hostel. Being back to Chile was nice, yet at the same time it really got me to thinking about the trip. It´s so easy to take everything that we have for granted since it´s just so normal for us: hot water, electricity, and the abundance of food we can buy at any store in Chile (and in many other parts of the world). At the same time, it´s very easy for me to get caught up in what I don´t have or thinking I don´t have enough rather than being grateful for what I do have and realizing how fortunate I really am. The trip really reminded me to remain humble and recognize the things I have taken for granted.
Today is my last day in San Pedro, and I´ve been taking it pretty easy. I went to Puritama, which is an area that has hot springs in the mountains. It turns out a guy from Quebec City at my hostel was going there too, so we enjoyed chatting during the trip. The water was warm and relaxing, and in all we went in 4 different hot springs.
While we were in one of them, I heard a girl talking to her mom in German. At the same time, I heard a boy talking to his dad in English. I asked the woman where she was from, and it turns out she´s from Berlin. The man is her husband, and he´s Chilean. They got married and have 3 kids and have lived in Germany, the USA, and Santiago. They are all trilingual, speaking English, Spanish, and German. Their kids have all been born in different countries, and next month they´re moving to Australia.It was amazing talking with them. From time to time I´ll hear people tell me they wish that they had traveled and done some of the things that I´ve done, but they feel that they couldn´t because they have kids or are married. It hasn´t seem to phase this family in the least, and they told me that the kids adjust well and learn a lot about the world by traveling and experiencing other cultures.
After changing and walking back up to the parking lot (with amazing views along the way), it was about half an hour back to San Pedro. The rest of the day has consisted of hanging out with people from the hostel, getting another huge sandwich for lunch, and then booking a tour to go skygazing tonight.
It has been a great trip, and I feel reenergized to return to work on Monday. I´m looking forward to getting back to my own bed to sleep and to be back home.