We must hold the record for the longest stay in San Pedro ever, but after watching others come and go finally our time has come! The hole in the tooth is filled with infection busting wading, the gum sprayed with antiseptic stuff, antibiotic course nearly finished and antiseptic lozengers in the pocket. Marie must have the cleanest mouth in South America and saw the most gentle dentist in the world (didn’t even need an anaesthetic to have the hole filled and gum examined and even better he said it was a gift! So no charge!). Dentist said that the infection would have been there probably for years and that anything could have triggered it, including the cold.
On Wednesday – shock horror – it was actually cloudy (a very rare event) for the trip to Calama. At an altitude of 2700m Calama exists because of the nearby Chuquicamata copper mine, which is a huge mine where 630,000 tons of copper a year are extracted to make Chile the largest copper exporter in the world. At night the lights of the mine make it look like a city in its own right.
As its essentially a mining town its not the prettiest or nicest place to visit, but we spent most of the day there instead of doing the 3 hour round trip just to see the dentist, and visited the market and lots of shops and ate some really yucky food in multiple different eateries. Sorry didn’t take any photos, don’t think they see many tourists so didn’t get the camera out.
After getting the nod from the dentist on Weds Marie decided that she deserved a treat and that some shopping was in order on Thursday, one sun hat and a new woolly hat was all it took to make her happy. Oh and she also purchased a scarf that evening but now says that she´s going to save it rather than wreck it while travelling.
We spent our last afternoon in San Pedro exploring the surrounding desert on hired bikes. We had great fun even if it was a bit hard work at times and our shortcut back to town failed miserably and we had to do a lots of backtracking on rough and sandy ground.
So tomorrow we say adios Chile and will be spending 3 days in a 4×4 being bumped to and around the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia before being left at Uyuni. Its high (4000m+), will be hot in the day and -15 at night, we can’t wait!!!
- Dentists in Chile have the same standing as doctors
- We can now understand why people go abroad for cosmetic surgery – better doctors, cheap and genuinely care
- All buses in Chile have a digital information screen for the passengers that tells you the speed and how long the driver has been driving and reports the information back to some central monitoring service. It beeps when they do 101kmh or over (which is really annoying in the night when you’re trying to sleep) and tells you when the driver has exceeded his 5 hours driving time. Funnily enough though they spend quite a bit of time disconnected!
- We keep hearing eighties music everywhere
- You can buy a pet hedgehog from the pet shop in Calama
- Calama map’s make great toilet seat covers when the cafe toilets are REALLY vile
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