After 30 hours (give or take an hour) I am now in Chile. This long bus ride was broken up between four different buses and an easy border crossing. Even though it was a long bus ride there are two high points to the rides. First, I did not throw up once on any of the bus rides, nor did I feel sick at all. Obviously, this made the traveling a lot more enjoyable than the ride a few days ago. The other high point is that I am now in the Atacama Desert. This desert is roughly 600 miles long and lies between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It is the driest non-polar desert in the world.
I was very eager to see part of this desert since I had read up on it. I knew I needed to get to a town called San Pedro de Atacama. Luckily, this proved easy to do by taking a bus to the town. Unfortunately, this small town did not live up to the image I had formed in my mind. I was thinking that this town would look like something from a classic Sergio Leone western film, This was far from what this town looks like. It is true that it is sandy and it is in a desert, but that is about all it has in common with the image I had formed. In reality this town resembles a tourist town rather than anything in a western. Most of the town is set up for tourists, meaning bars, restaurants, shops and a few places to stay. Walking down the main road you can easily forget that you are in a desert town because it looks like so many other tourist towns from all around the world.
It is true that this town is far from what I was hoping for, but that is my fault for watching too many classic western films. When it comes down to it, this town is a somewhat interesting place to walk around and has some good sights to see. You just need to walk past all the tourist stuff to get to it. Here are a few photos from the desert.