Breakfast on the road is very often just a coffee and a sandwich from the petrol station. Today it was an mediocre coffee and a cold sandwich. We were stopped by the police on the highway – but it seemed like they just wanted to have a chat. We explained that we were heading for the ‘Mano del Desierto‘ statue but that we would be driving back up north as well. The police officer laughed and said he would not waste his time to go see that statue… it’s not so impressive according to him. We were curious enough however to go and have a look.
We could see the statue from the highway and we drove along the rocky road to get a close-up. We parked Rodrigo right in front of the statue and some friendly Brazilian bikers took our picture. The hand looks like someone has just been swallowed by quicksand and is disappearing forever.
After the pictures we drove back into Antofagasta to pick up our insurance papers and do some grocery shopping (more empanadas!). We took the highway heading back north, contrary to our intentions to keep calm and drive south.
We drove through the Atacama desert again – with long stretches of nothing at all! Slowly but surely we could see the Andes mountains starting to appear in the distance. Along the road we passed by many mines and trucks hauling machinery in and dirt out. The spare wheels that are brought to the mines are escorted by police because they are so big – a lot bigger than our car.
We reached San Pedro de Atacama around 5:00pm. Although it’s really touristy here, it’s really a small town with only a few streets and only hotels. We found a campground – which looks half waste disposal half horse stable. Surely it will be okay for the night – but we’ll probably keep it to one night! There must be other options in this town!
And I started dancing while I gathered eggs
Townfolk clapped, I was only five
he’ll out dance em’ all
“He’s a born hand-jive!”