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Friday, June 12, 2009

San Pedro de Atacama

There's probably no other place on earth like San Pedro de Atacama. At times it just feels like we are in another planet. The lunar landscapes at the Valle de la Luna, become even more mysterious and strange, as the sun sets. Valle de la Muerte, is just a beautiful place where I wouldn't like to get lost. Quebrada del Diablo an example of what water can do, having built a beautiful and enormous canyon. The Geysers del Tatio at sun rise look like hell, if it exists.

This is San Pedro de Atacama, a small city, in the Atacama desert, the driest desert in the world, in the northern part of Chile, right next to Bolivia. Everyone that had been there told me I had to go there. And so I did. My first image of the desert was on the bus. It is a long way from Santiago to San Pedro. So long that I decided to break the journey in two and stay at the lost city of Copiapó one night. I regret I did that, but it was probably wise to do it. But Copiapó has just nothing to offer the normal tourist. It's an old miners city, that seems to be waiting something to stop existing. But lets not talk about that... Lets talk about Antofagasta and its beautiful coloured houses standing just in front of the high dry mountains by the pacific ocean. I didn't stop there, my bus just went through it, but I wished I did... I might go back to northern Chile by the end of the month and visit it and do somethings I missed in San Pedro. But the best part of this long trip was the sunset on the road between Antofagasta and San Pedro. All the sky turned orange, it was beautiful and the perfect welcome card to the most peculiar place I've ever been to!

I'm a huge fan of deserts. Don't ask me why... It's just such an empty place that it makes me feel so empty that the brain just starts thinking and racionalizing so fast as if it is trying to compensate for the lack of everything. And so, as I approach San Pedro, the more aware I am of what surrounds me and probably that reflects all the visual images I had during the days I spent here!

I met Guy as we left the bus, when we arrived in San Pedro. Although we went to different hostels, it was very likely that we would meet in the small city center. And so we did. We spent the next 3 days doing things together around the city. We biked to Quebrada del Diablo and the Valle de la Luna (although in this part of the trip we had to push the bike more than biking due to the strong wind that kept blowing sand into us), hiked to Valle de la Muerte and sandboarded the dune, and took the perfect tour to Geisers del Tatio. We also planned the Uyuni Salar tour together. I lost count of the pictures I took in these 3 days. Everywhere I turned a postcard like picture seemed to lay in front of me.

I can't write much more about San Pedro. It was just too beautiful and my vocabulary too limited to describe it. I'll leave you with the pictures as soon as I find a place to upload them! Meanwhile, if you are really curious about it, just google it. San Pedro, the most alien place in the face of earth.