In the frosty morning, I packed up the last of my things, left my key in the door of my room, and prepared to leave San Pedro (perhaps forever). I spent a few moments basking in the desert morning light, waiting for my airport van.
Incidentally, the hostel where I was staying was La Rose d’Atacama. Simple, but exceedingly pleasant. If I do ever end up San Pedro-ways again, I would gladly spend more time there.
The van grabbed me shortly thereafter, and I arrived early to the Calama airport (rejoicing again at its speed and smallness). The flight was uneventful; a much less crowded flight than the one I had arrived on, so I got the whole row to myself.
At the Santiago airport, I grabbed my bag, caught a bus to Pajaritos terminal, and almost immediately jumped on a bus to Valparaíso. This whole convoluted process was a thousand times less intimidating since I’d already completed it once before, when I first arrived.
On the bus to Valpo, I finished the novel I’ve been slowly chipping away at for weeks: Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. A fascinating, dark, and engaging book that I would indubitably recommend.
V. had written down the number and location of the microbus that would take me to our door. Once I arrived in Valpo, I located the appropriate corner, and waited for fifteen minutes, gradually starting to worry that I had the wrong location. When one finally did come by, I sighed with relief and flagged it down. The driver duly ignored me, along with several schoolchildren who had also tried to board. Blast. After another fifteen minutes, a second one passed by, which thankfully did stop for us this time. I climbed on and seated myself near the back, all the while performing astounding acrobatics with my large backpack and small suitcase. I leaped off the bus right near my front door.
V. greeted me with a warm hug, and we chatted about my trip. I had an incredible time in the desert (desierto de mi alma), but it’s also very nice to be back at my Chilean home. Here, I have the added luxury of not having to walk outdoors through a chill desert night just to use the restroom!