Buses and Bag Snatchers

We had a bit of distance to travel over the next couple of days, traveling from Mendoza to Santiago to Calama to San Pedro de Atacama.
First stop Santiago, and while it didn’t look far on the map we had to cross the Andes which obviously took a bit of time. It was a shame we were traveling through the day as we had the best bus seats so far, almost lie flat. (Sarah managed to get in a few hours sleeping off an “illness” from our last night in Argentina!)
The whole bus, and in fact every bus, was thoroughly searched on the border and in the end we spent two hours standing in line and having dogs sniff everything and watching everything getting X rayed.
We stayed in an apartment for the night in Santiago which was really nice to sit on a sofa and relax for the evening. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore Santiago and just used the place as a stepping stone.  
From what we saw in our taxi and bus rides though it looks like a nice city with plenty of hustle and bustle and loads of markets!!
The next day we continued by bus from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama. For the most part just sitting in our reclining seats reading, listening to music and watching the scenery. It was very pretty driving up the coast and into the desert through some absolutely stunning countryside.
We arrived at Calama where we had to catch another bus and get to another station. Simple enough, and after we had grabbed some lunch we went in to catch the bus. We noticed a lot of signs warning people to watch out for thieves so we were duly cautious.
It only takes one second! We were distracted for literally a second while someone asked us a question, and in the time we had turned to face him his accomplice had taken our day sack with passports, phones iPad etc in it.
I turned back after the distraction and straight away saw it was missing and shouting a few expletives ran off out of the bus station onto the street. I don’t know how but I spotted someone carrying what looked like the strap of my bag and bolted after him. Luckily a worker at the bus station had also seen what was going on and we grabbed him!
I can’t believe how lucky we were that he didn’t get away and literally as I was looking around wondering what to do next a policeman appeared walking down the street. At this stage I was a little worried that he might have some friends about so was more worried about Sarah back at the station with the rest of our stuff. 
But she was fine as another person had told her that we had caught him! So the rest of the time was spent filling out paperwork with the police, who seemed very pleased that we had caught the guy. In fact he filled out all the paperwork, and I trust the villainous scumbag will get treated fairly and squarely in the local jail!! T

   
One of the more picturesque border crossings between Mendoza and Santiago.

   
 
Just still counting our lucky stars

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