Crossing into Chilean, desertlands.....

Trip Start Aug 28, 2004
Trip End Aug 2005

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Monday, June 6, 2005

Well folks, yet another South American country for the list!! we waved a sunny "Arequipan" Peru goodbye and took a swift plane journey to the border town of
Then we had the most staright forward border crossing of them all over into Chile!!! well deserved after our last border adventure, methinks.

First impressions of "Chile"? It`s very flat and desertlike indeed. The road from the border to "Arica" (first point to catch a bus southwards). Is as straight as a straight thing, you literally see as far as the road takes you......Just like in the movies. From here we took an ovewrnight bus (yes yet another!) onto "Calamba" and then chnged onto "San Pedro", home to the "Lunar Landscape" environment. Here it is once again a much colder climate and so back on with the woollies!!! After an overnight journey to the border we reached the town of "Calamba", Chile to change buses moving onto "SAn Pedro", where we planned our trip over the "Salt Flats" of "Sala de Uyuni" Bolivia. We went to two different companies offering the same tour, "Colque Tours" and "Cordillera Travellers,both recommended by different people. We chose to take the tour with "Cordillera" as the guy just seeemed to know his stuff and had the right answers!! it seemed rioght to pay the small extra for peace of mind.....

Before we left for "Salar de Uyuni", we went to visit the "Valle de Luna", which is a really "Moonscape" landscape and just quite amazing to see indeed. lotīs of sand and many sculptural formations formed by the wind!! We spent the whole afternoon there, and climbed one of the recommended peaks to catch the amazing sunlight, when the sun sinks behind the peaks. The colours are just not captured by our little "Cybershot" replacement for the stolen 35mm. But the experience was worth it, we just sat upon the rocks watching and waiting........then it was a real ahhhh experience. Well worth doing.

On day number two, we'd booked ourselves onto probably the most expensive tour we have done since being away!!! It was with an agency called "Nomade Expediciones", used to be called something else before, but there was a change of partners etc... We spent one day looking and observing "Rock Art" as they ca}ll their indeginous peoples art work, carved into the mountainside of "Great Canyons" which split the "Atacamba Desert" in two, north of "San Pedro" by 180/90kmīs. It was well worth it, as we had the whole desert to ourselves (with our trusty and very knowledgable guide of course, courtesy of Maurio!!). All in all throughout the 12 hour day we visited four separate sites, and experienced very different forms of art work.....just wonderfully preserved from the elements due to careful thought by the artist themselves in the choice of locations for the carvings/paintings. It was a fabulous day of walking in glorious weather experiencing "Indigenous Indians work" from 2,000 - 4000 years ago. It was just WOW! we also saw one of te first observatories of Southern America, where the "Indians" had faced one of their carved pieces of rock towards the constellations, it included depictions of Llamá's, ducks, non flying birds etc..... it was just a case of little by little discovery, the more you looked the more you see.

For all you rock lovers and painters/sculptors out there this is definately a must see if ever in the Chilean district!!!! Time to go checlk out some "Salt Plains" now......Ciao!!!!
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