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Published: January 31st 2009
Well, the last week has been one of the most exciting ever. I'm writing you from Arica, in the far north of Chile, on the border with Peru. (i just realized that this is a little long, oops)
Last Saturday we left early morning to catch a flight to Calama, in the Chilean Altiplano (means high plains). Unfortunately our plane had some technical problems so we had to stop in Antofagasta, and take a bus to Calama - pain in the arse. Luckily it was only a 3 hour trip, thru nothing but desert. Spent the night in the little desert town of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile - very cool little place. We found a room in someones home and paid almost nothing for it. They promised us hot water for the shower in the morning - wishful thinking, but it did have nice mud floors! On Sunday we started our 4 day trip thru the Bolivian Altiplano. Its 5000 m above sea level in parts. There were six of us and our driver in a jeep, this was our transport. The scenery thru Bolivia is amazing, saw tons of llamas, alpacas, flamingos, foxes. It snowed our
first night there, but the rest of the trip was sunny. There are very few paved roads in Bolivia, and we didn't see any of them, so it was a really bumpy adventure. The accommodations were sketchy to say the least. 2 of the nights we had no running water (the other 2 nights only cold water), and power was from a generator, which was only turned on from 630 to 9pm. Good thing I had a sleeping bag or I would have froze to death, at night it would drop to -20 C.
No one got sick from the altitude, but we certainly got a little crazy and slow from it - cocoa leaves helped a lot. On the 3rd day we went to the Salar de Uyuni. Its the largest salt plain in the world. It was amazing. In the middle, all you can see is white sand and blue sky in all directions. I took a ton of photos, some of which I've attached. Oh, I should mention that I had a llama steak and man, did it taste good! After traveling for 3 days, and seeing almost no one but ourselves we arrived in the
Bolivian town of Uyuni. I've never seen such poverty as I did here, but to contrast that, the culture is really cool.
On the 4th day we drove back into Chile in the middle of the night - for night driving you need to travel in convoys, and it was a good thing, since the jeep in front of us got stuck in the mud twice. One time for over 30mins. When we got back into Chile, we toured the town of San Pedro de Atacama while we waited for our 10 hour bus ride to Arica in the north of Chile. Arica, finally a place to shower! We went over the border into Tacna, Peru for the day, its were I had my best ever meal - well it may have seemed to be the best after eating almost nothing thru the Altiplano. Peru is really cool, I'm going to have to come back to South America to see more of it. I've attached the pictures from the Chilean North in the next blog entry.
Yesterday, we did a day trip back into the Altiplano, this time to Parque Nacional Lauca in the Chilean north. Here we
saw a ton of wildlife and a lady on the bus got sick with altitude sickness. (Its not really a good idea to go from sea level to 5000 m above the sea in one quick day.)
Anyhow today we are exploring Arica, and going to hang out on the beach for the afternoon. Tomorrow I fly back to Santiago, and then back to Canada on the 16th.
later kids, and I hope to see you all soon.
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