Working in San Pedro de Atacama

May 14, 2008  
Topics: Chile

Once we entered Chile a week ago we drew a sign “ANTARCTIDA”. It will lead us all the way through Chile, and will have it until we finally reach Antarctica.

on the way to Antarctica yes, we go to Antarctica! queen of the street is not it convincing?

Last Sunday, when Chile was celebrating The Mother’s Day, we arrived to San Pedro de Atacama, probably one of the most expensive places of this country. The village basically survives only from tourism, because it is in the middle of Atacama desert, which is the driest place on Earth. Here it rains only once per 100 years.

magic clouds

magic clouds

The climate is terrible here. Difficult to survive without creams. Under direct sun it can get up to 30°C-35°C degrees, while in the shadow it is pretty cold. Once the sun goes down, around 7pm, the freezing hours start. Early morning the temperature drops to minus -3°C-5°C. Basically the working hours are from 9am till 6pm. In other times of the day the cold demotivates to do anything. There are no radiators here, only warm blankets. Worth to mention that in June the temperature at night drops down to minus 10°C. During the day, which is always sunny here, some people wear their flip-flops (like on the beach) and t-shirts, and in the evening only kamikazes can survive without wearing a warm hat. Such extreme of temperatures is difficult to moderate.

We stay in our tent, for free. Our sleeping bags are not very warm, so we have to sleep by wearing several layers of clothes. Since the third night we borrowed a warm blanket, and finally our night dreams are much sweeter.

We came to San Pedro mainly because one of the local agencies, which offers horse riding activities (including an 8 day trail through the desert), which asked us to create for them a webpage. To tell the truth, they were the only people which replied positively to our over 100 job-request emails sent to different hostels and travel agencies in several countries.

Till the end of this week we will be working on the website, and afterwards we are thinking of spending another 2-3 days finding out why this village and its surroundings are so attractive to the travellers.

Talking about jobs, two weeks ago Katja’s article about traveling in Latin America being vegetarian, was bought by “healthy living” magazine “Vita Sana” in Switzerland. Even though Katja’s text will be published only in the September’s issue, the editor has already transferred the payment to her account. This earning will extend our living on the road for another month!

Last weekend two of Augustas articles were published on two different media in Lithuania: newspaper Kauno Diena and portal.

Currently we have no other job options, except continuously writing articles to Lithuanian news portals and newspapers.

By the way, 2 months ago Katja started to make handicrafts with waxed nylon and different colorful balls. In Spanish this activity is called “artesania”. At the moment Katja has already prepared 12 different artesania items. The first knots she learned in Pantoja village (in Peru jungle) last February. Among all other travelers waiting for the next cargo boat, in that village we have also met a Peruvian-French couple, which during the freetime was working on making artesania. They taught Katja the basic knot-techniques. Moreover, another artesania guy whom we got to know in Iquique (Chile) streets last month explained how to nicely wrap stones inside the nylon.

starting a new venture - handicrafts

learning more tricks for doing handicraft

Katja's artesania

There is another fund-raising idea which Katja is slowly developing after she got back in her memories from the gymnastic elements using a long band she did in the childhood. The biggest challenge will be to create a nice dancing program and go with it on the streets. She has already prepared the first 4 m long band. Only the second one and two light-material sticks for fixing bands are missing.

IMG_0717 IMG_0740 IMG_0723

As you see, we are still surviving. Because of current financial situation, our daily budget now is about 10 US dollars. Well, it is actually the budget we have been dreaming since 2 years, but we have never managed to keep going with it.

If you would like to help us to extending our life journey by additional day, we invite you to participate in our offer to send you a postcard from countries we are travelling in. Please, read more information about our postcard offer here.

The stay in San Pedro is more or less planned. The next week we will travel about 400km south, to another village of Atacama Desert, where we will stay with a Chilean student called Cristobal, whos second name is Banavicius. Since it is a pure Lithuanian surname, we will have lots to share about Lithuania and his connection to this country…