Las Coloradas... Leaving on a night bus....
Trip Start Dec 11, 2004
16Trip End Jan 01, 2005
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We spent yesterday (Saturday 18th) with a private guide, Daniel Russ, in his little 4X4. He took us east, through the Elqui valley and up to the border with Argentina at >4500 metres (>15000feet). The road was paved for the first 100km, but then it started twisting and turning on narrow gravel cuts,up, up, up, up for a couple of hours. The Andes mountains are desert here, but full of colour. Wherever there is the tiniest trickle of water, there are small colourful succulents and cacti, leaving the slopes covered in vivid painted patches. As we reached the summit, there was some snow and small glacier patches, but mostly bare red and black gravel and sand. The sun was blazing, but the wind was icy cold and very powerful
Daniel was such an interesting guy; a Swiss German who was on a Tierra del Fuego to Alaska motorbike trip who got sidetracked by a beautiful Chilean woman, married her last month, and is now here to stay. He is a bit gritty around the edges (and made our hair raise a few times with his 4X4 antics), but very entertaining. After spending the whole day with him, we invited him and his wife, Judith, to dinner. They took us down the coastal road, almost to Coquimbo, to their favourite seafood diner. The food was delicious, but Iīm embarrassed to say, I could barely put a dent in it. The food is very rich, meat and cheese heavy and American serving sized. I had to ask Judith to apologize to the waitress, after she looked at my unfinished crab bisque with the worried look of a grandmother. They have invited us to their family home tonight for pizza before we leave.
We are heading back to Santiago on the night bus, leaving at midnight
We are going to spend the rest of this quiet Sunday drinking beer and sitting under an umbrella on the beach.