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Published: November 17th 2018
Today's tour pick-up was 07:00-07:30 but Daisy's clock was on Bolivian time still and my phone had switched off so we didn't get up until 7.10! We frantically got ourselves ready until there was a knock on our door at 07:30. Luckily we were the second last to be picked up. The group was made up South Americans, two Dutch ladies, Mary from Oslo and two other Aussie girls from Brisbane, Charlie and Melanie.
Today we visited the Salar de Atacama. Which contains the world’s largest source of lithium. Our first stop at 8.45 was Laguna Chaxa in Los Flamencos National Reserve. Here we saw 3 different species of flamingos and had breakfast.
We finished there at 10.08 and stopped for 20 minutes at Iglesias Antigua built in 1664 in the small town of Socaire.
At 12:05 stopped for 10 minutes at a viewpoint for Piedras Rojas Lake and 30 minutes later stopped for 20 minutes at Laguna Tuyalto, close to the Argentine border at an altitude over 4000 metres asl.Then headed back the way we came to another closer lookout of Piedras Rojas. We also stopped at laguna Miscanti and laguna Miniques.
By now everyone was
getting hungry and our lunch stop was back in Socaire in a restaurant. So lunch wasn't until 15:40, so very welcome. Veg and beef soup then choice of chicken or steak with rice and salad.
Finished there at 16:20 and headed to our last stop Tocanao which is built next to a desert oasis. We walked beside the oasis as it is divided up to certain local families and then had time to look around the town.
Finally set off for the drive back to San Pedro at 17:36 getting back just past 18:00. We then walked to the Star Tour office to pay as arranged yesterday.
We had time to shower and catch up on things but ran out of time to have a proper dinner so just picked up a packet of chips and had a coffee at a cafe near the meeting place. It was delayed slightly waiting for two people who never turned up.
The tour was great. First the lady who was our guide took us through the night sky using a powerful laser pointer for about 45 minutes. One funny thing was that she
asked what was different about the moon from the northern hemisphere and i correctly answered that the shadowlmshadowlmshadowp o.k.shadow is on the opposite side. She said "yes correct" and I said "and I'm from Australia" and she and everone laughed because everyone else was from the northern hemisphere and they all should have noticed the difference. We then had turns to look through all the different telescopes that were set up pointing to different features of the night sky which was great. After I looked through them all, I set up my tripod to take photos of the night sky and got so involved with that, that I missed the hot chocolate and Q&A session but Daisy said no one asked any questions anyway. The guide did come out a couple of times to help me with my shots. There was no milky way at this time so no spectacular photos unfortunately. So I was happily taking photos until our guide came up and told me that the bus was leaving. Needless to say I was the last one into the bus. I sat to a nice young lady from London who is a lawyer and had a lovely conversation
with her as Daisy had made friends with an Austrian lass and was sitting next to her. Luckily the driver was nice enough to drive everyone to their hotel.
Good news when we checked our email was that after a fairly terse email to Mayuru Tours, they did switch our tours around so that we don't have to leave tomorrow now at 05.30, but at 08:00.
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