These summer trips are always a bit baffling for my brain. One minute I’m braving blizzards and zero visibility conditions on the mountainous peaks of the Andes, and the next, I can’t lather on the sunscreen fast enough as the desert sun beats down on my untrained, arguably English, skin.
But I’m here, in the Chilean desert of San Pedro de Atacama. I’m reliably informed that there was a tourist boom over the course of the last few years, which, as always, is great for accessibility to typical city needs (there’s a pharmacy…in the desert…) but not so great for authentic, local culture. However, I argue that having your transfer break down not five minutes after leaving the safety of the airport, is as authentic as you might get for South America.
The streets here are dusty (duh), and randomly littered with dog poo as dogs do love a good roam in Chile, and the vibe is distinctly gypsy travelling adventure types. Lots of couples, but also a fair few intrepid girlfriend groups. All seem to speak Spanish, which makes me the odd one out – but it’s part of the adventure, right??