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Published: November 17th 2018
This morning no dramas with the alarms and we were ready at 08:00, but didn't get picked up until 08:30.. This time Alexander was our guide and driver so I got a choice to sit in the passenger seat which I did.
First stop was a random place on the highway with a great view of the Licancabur Volcano which is right the Bolivian- Chile border. Interesting thing is that if you wish to climb it, you have to do it from the Bolivian side because the Chilean side had land mines left from the old border wars. Just after leaving there we had to stop the van as a couple of llamas decided to cross the highway. I asked Alexander if many get hit and he said yes, but the much bigger problem are the wild donkeys who weigh more than twice as much. People have been killed hitting a donkey on the road.
Then after a long drive, at 12.05 we arrived at Salar de Tara. We were told there no toilets on this tour so Alexander would point good spots for au naturel toilets All the men took turns but all the women decided to wait
for a better alternative. We then drove down to spot closer to the lake.We stayed there 35 minutes walking down to the lakeside but also searching for dragon-stones which are pitch black and smooth. Alexander showed us that if you crack them open they are shiny and glittery inside. He gave us all unofficial permission to take one rock home. We then drove down closer to the lakeside before leaving at 13:10. We stopped briefly at another big pile of rocks which Alexander suggested was another good toilet stop.
Our lunch stop at Laguna Negra wasn't far but we didn't get there until 14.20 because the drive was very slow because of the rough terrain. Lunch was about 40 minutes and our last stop was the Monks of Pacana, massive stone columns sitting in the middle of the desert. We looked around this area for about 30 minutes before heading back to town We did stop a couple of times for vicunas, llamas and a potential van problem as we heard a couple of loud pops. Alexander checked the tyres and the bonnet and there was noting obviously wrong so we continued. Most of the tours drop you off
at a central parking lot but Alexander went a step further by driving everyone back to their hotels.
That was a very welcome gesture for me because today I wasn’t feeling the best, a bit of a temperature and lethargic, so I was glad to be home. We went out at 19:30 to have dinner at another restaurant with good reviews and there was queue probably because of the reviews. We asked the waiter via Google translate what was the most popular dish and he said the Indian Plate ,which two people share, so we asked for that, and a Greek salad with a couple of pineapple juices. We got the latter two items promptly and waited and waited until we finally asked about our Indian Plate. The waiter thought we had chosen the Greek salad instead of the Indian Plate. He was very apologetic and said just 10 minutes and it did come out in 10 minutes. For some reason I thought the dish was going to be different Indian curries, but it was just grilled pieces of beef, chicken, frankfurts (which they called sausage meat) and onions on a bed of chips. We hardly touched the franfurts
and chips but were full anyway. We don’t know why it’s their most popular dish because we thought is was pretty ordinary.
So our plans for a really early night didn’t come to fruition because of the long delay at dinner but I got to bed about 10:45 with a 04:30 wake up for the geyser tour tomorrow morning.
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