Monday, December 24, 2007

Atacama Desert Jeep Trip - Day 2

After pancakes for breakfast, our driver advised us that he needed to drop of his wife and child somewhere. His wife and child? Where did they come from? And where could he possibly be dropping them off? We hadn´t noticed any grocery stores or hairdressers in the desert...

We drove for about half an hour in the usual style: Jaws agape as our driver navigated imaginary roads through the desert sand. We noticed that he would drive straight for a while and then suddenly change direction without any evidence of a landmark or sign to indicate a change was necessary. Suddenly, he stopped the car and the three of them got out. They walked...and walked...and disappeared into thin air.

We sat around the jeep (at least we had the jeep!) confused and bored for a good half an hour. Although, we made good use of our time and updated our diary that would later be stolen from us in Mendoza.

Finally our driver returned and we drove off to see more crazy rock formations. Jez could not resist the opportunity to blend in with nature.

You may recall us having to take a photo of a fake llama in a previous blog lest we did not see any real ones. Well take heart, these babies are real! We got to see literally hundreds of them in an open field in a valley. It was here we would stop and have lunch.

Click below to hear the Bolivian rendition of "Baby got Back"...

Lazing about at the top of a canyon was a pretty good way to gain some perspective.So far, our jeep trip was muy traquilo.

After seeing a million more llamas, we reached our destination. One of the places specifically not recommended by the Lonely Planet: The Salt Hotel. It is one of many illegal establishments located on the salt flats. They are outlawed due to the problem of the waste from the toilets going back into the very salt that is mined and used for human consumption. But we take great pride in defying our guide book as often as possible.

The hotel itself is made completely out of salt. The ground is all salt so we walked around barefoot. Most impressive was that our bed was made from salt and we couldn't help but advertise ourselves on our bedroom may need to take a closer look at the photo.

Later we would discover, hidden in the structure of the hotel, something that would pique the interest of biblical historians: Lot’s wife

That night we had dinner in the salt lounge. As we were ploughing our way through more red wine, there was a knock at the door.

Two kids walked in dressed in traditional weaved ponchos and one of them sported a promising looking panpipe. Our entertainment for the evening had arrived! When they were done we tipped them and hurried off to bed...we had a 5:30AM start the following day and the electricity would go off very shortly leaving us to fumble our way in the dark.

Stay tuned for day 3 where we discover a landscape where sound travels with no barriers, shadows go on forever and a rather unusual island makes an appearance in a most unlikely place.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Re: The voting on when TZ and Jeremy will return.


The U.N. or some other appropriate body should look into this matter immediately.