Where have the Dinosaurs gone??

Trip Start Jan 19, 2008
Trip End May 01, 2008

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Our roommates alarm went off at 6:10 - yep, we are in a dorm again, where are we? It could be described as "the middle of nowhere", how did we get here? Matt wanted to see some Dinosaurs....

We left Mendoza on an 11 am bus to San Juan where we were to connect with another bus headed for Valle de la Luna (I think translated this equates to Valley of the moon).  Everything went smoothly and we arrived at 6pm into a tiny little village with one tourist attraction - The national Park - Valle de la luna (not too much was written about this in the Lonely Planet, and Matt seemed to think it contained dinosaur fossils, bones, and was probably even hoping for something like Jurassic Park!).  It appeared that there were only a couple of places to stay in the village and one of the hostels had a van and seemed to be picking lots of people up, so we thought we'd go along too.  We ended up in a dorm with another couple who spoke no English (a regular theme in this neck of the woods)  Matt was VERY excited when it turned out that the room only costs 3pounds each - but, you definitely get what you pay for here...

We unpacked a few things and went to the tourist information - Habla Ingles Matt asked the lady, Si, she says and then continues to talk to us in Spanish.  Somehow we get the address of the tour companies and find out how infrequently the buses travel North up the country (ut oh) and off we toddle to chat with the tour companies - Habla Ingles? Matt asks, no is the reply (ut oh) but ok we managed to understand most of it with the help of pictures and writing - not many pictures of dinosaurs I might add...
We left the office and wandered to the bus station to check out the times of the buses heading North - Hmmm, 3:30am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday - that doesn{t sound like much fun and theres nothing to do here for longer than one day... So we decide we would do the tour the following morning 7am start, then get the bus out heading back South for San Juan at 6pm.
We booked the tour and the bus - sorted, just get some dinner and then off to bed.

So back to today, 6:10 am our roommates alarm went off - I thought I liked to be cautious but even we had ours set for 6:30 - so we snoozed for another 20mins - although had I actually looked at the number of insects that I had been sharing my be with I think I would have been up a good few hours earlier - yuk...(some of them were squashed!) glad to be checking out of there today.  Our tour bus arrived - unfortunately our new friend Margeret couldnt make the tour (she was about 70, German and thought a lot of things were "strange"!)

We got to the park where we weregive an english pamphlet explaining a little about the park (make the most of the English) and then we were off in our van with a bunch of other cars to the first of 5 checkpoint - a Guide leads the way and we stop and he then talks in great detail about what we are seeing - in Spanish... looks like it might have been quitte interesting if we could have understood a word of it!  The park was basically like what you would imagine the landscape of the moon to look like - very pretty, but where are the dinosaurs?? Hang on we are being pointed in the direction of what sounds like the English word fr Fossil - Matt is getting excited - yep there it is, a tiny little fern -  ahhhhh, that was our first and last fossil in the park!

The other stops were much the same, great views but we couldnt understand a word.  The final stop was the museum, ah ha - dinosaurs!!  Some fossil finding equipment, a couple of fossils and some replica dinosaurs - oh well, so we did kind of see them in the end!

You may notice from the photos that Matt is wearing his only "going out" shirt - this is because he is in desperate need of doing some washing - he has already taken t-shirts out of the washing bag to re-wear - te hee - not only that, we discovered that he hasn{t had a shower for 3 days - I think hes letting himself go!!!

So in 1 hour our bus leaves for the 4 hour journey to San Juan, where we are hoping that a little miracle happens and there will be a night bus heading north with available seats on it... otherwise we are arriving at 10pm in a new town and will have to find somewhere to spend the night (it will cost more than 3pounds!)

photos will be added soon...

Just want to say Happy Birthday to my nan today - so sorry that I cant call - the phones in this village wont let me call international - will try tomorrow as soon as we get somewhere sensiible - hope you had a great day and love you lots :-)
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