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Published: June 25th 2010
Still in Putre the weather has been clear and hot and as of now still no rain, It occurred to me that I have not seen rain for 4 months, that has to be a record for me. As a result the the ground is so dry and dusty and dust storms although small because of the lack of wind can be seen in the distance.
We met a girl called Katie from Montana, on befriending here she inspired me to take another look and the cave painting in the valley a few miles from the hostel, We stuck to the trail over the ridge instead of climbing over it, it took at lot longer but was a lot easier than our first excursion scrambling through cactus.
The following day we borrowed a car from our kind hosts and went back to Parque Lauca, we retraced our steps of a month ago and were once again awed by the sheer scale and beauty of the place. Being the driver this time I was more aware of how bad the road is as it is one of the main routes for trucks from Bolivia to Chile, Some of the potholes
were more like craters. It was midwinter day and the people of the village of Parinacota were preparing for a festival, This is an Amarya region and for them this day is their New Year. An unfortunate pig was the centre piece whom later that night would stave off the hunger of festive partygoers. On the way back from the park we took a dirt road towards the Montana milagro or Red Mountain, to say it was a road is not entirely true, 4wd is needed and perhaps a travel sickness pill. On reaching Red Mountain the sunset views were gorgeous, the colours numerous forever changing with the rapidly setting sun.
Heading back to Putre the car started to splutter and eventually decided to not climb anymore hills about 5kms from the town, this of course is a problem in the mountains, A carload of dutch chaps rescued us and we headed back bringing more diesel back to the ghost of the car in the hope that was the problem, it was, we made the foolish mistake of thinking fuel was cheap here, its not and definitely not when you buy it in a small village of the local
shop after all the owners there have to truck it to Putre, we were lucky we ran out where we did, heading back to the hostel we made a roast dinner and had a couple of glasses of very pleasing local wine.
Relaxing again I re watched Gone with the Wind which reminded me of childhood Christmases and read in a night/morning sitting Gabriel Garcias Marquez's beautiful epic 100 years of solitude, what a stunning book.
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