Oh the irony! Be in the desert, they said, it won’t rain there, they said, it’s the driest place in the world, they said…..they lied! Or maybe it was just poor timing/good luck/an experience we got that not many other people who visit San Pedro de atacama get.
It rained. Every afternoon except for one. And it didn’t just rain, it poured. One afternoon was so bad it hailed. Thunder and lightning all around, causing chaos! People shouting and whooping on the streets, a few dancing in the downpour, and the adobe that most of the buildings are made of, cakes in red dust, got the beating of their life… the dust now turned to a red mud that ran down the sides of the buildings, which now were Looking ugly and defeated.
A short break in the rain meant for a quick retreat to the campsite to see and access the damage. I stayed at Casa Campestre which was a bit on the outskirts near Rio San Pedro. Back at the campground there was chaos! People who had lost likely never camped before with poorly set up tents were flooded and gear was soaked, so most people had given up and retreated to the kitchen which was even more chaos – sand bags and sweeping water out the doors was taking place, meanwhile the rain started to bucket down again. Trenches were dug to assist with drainage, things were laid out drying, the power was out, people were everywhere and in a somewhat panicked state. My new friends Rosie and Patrick, who are travel blog writers and travelling to a whole heap of national parks this year on a world wide adventure (check out their blog http://www.everfurthertravel.com and their instagram ‘Ever Further’ for some cool posts and a whole heap of interesting travels coming up), sat back with me and a bottle of wine (or 2), a pop up camp light, a speaker and some good tunes, watching the world go by as chaos continued into the night around us.
What could have been a bad night turned into a very pleasant, if not slightly tipsy, night. Thank you Wilderness Equipment for my wonderful tent that kept everything dry! Although I was sad in the morning to see the red mud splattered on the sides, but a bit of desert warmth and soon I was able to brush it off like dust.
The following day, even though there was quite a bit of water on the streets, and shops were still sweeping water from their floors, the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun couldn’t have been brighter, we were in for a good day and some classic desert weather.