The bus from Bolivia dropped us in San Pedro de Atacama, but we decided to get moving and caught a bus to Calama.
We stepped out of the bus in Calama and stepped into another world. It was a real chock. It was - like home, kind of. And we´ve apparently been away for quite long, cause we were overwhelmed by the cleanliness, that cars stop at red lights and that everything looks so "nice". The standard of living shot through the roof in a few hours and everyone had nice clothes, all the little ladies with big bundles of whatever on their backs disappeared and there were lots of nice cars. We´ve hardly seen any other cars than old trucks and taxis since we left Quito. It is nice, but really weird.
The other thing that is different is how extremely nice people are. Don´t get us wrong, people are lovely in Peru and Bolivia too, it´s just that they really see us as walking dollar signs or ATM´s. They are lovely, but they want to squeeze some money out of every opportunity - which is understandable. However, here we are suddenly people again. People are friendly just for the sake of being friendly, not because they want something. So far every single person we have met have been extremely friendly and really helpful, a lot nicer than people are at home actually. The man who ran the first hostal we were in gave us an English book he had, and didn´t want anything for it, not even the book that we´d finished. Taxi drivers tell us directions without insisting on that they have to drive us there etc. It´s amazing. We have to practice being nice back to people again and not just automatically say no when someone comes up to us. (Hope you understand that we are exaggerating a bit about us being unfriendly and people only wanting money in Bolivia and Peru. However people here are really astonishingly friendly.)
We celebrated being in Chile by going to a restaurant and having a bottle of wine with our meal. We´ve been saving ourselves for the wine in Chile and we weren´t dissapointed. It was GREAT! Really good wine, that maybe became even better because we´ve been longing for red wine for so long. :) We think there is going to be a lot more wine drinking here, we have to take advantage of being in a country that makes some of the best!