Chile (part 1)

Hi folks sorry it’s been a while since my last post but not everywhere is as set up for internet as the U.K. so I’ll try and catch you up a bit.

The difference between Peru and Chile was stark. Upon crossing the boarder it soon became clear that Chile was a much wealthier nation. Instead of beaten up cars and unfinished houses (the Peruvian government tax you more if your house is finished) everyone had a decent car and the houses were neat and tidy. Also Chile was a lot more westernised, in that you suddenly became aware of shopping malls, department stores and fashion.

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Another oddity (which was a little confusing initially) was that Peru is 6hrs behind the UK and Chile only 3hrs. My iphone and computer were most confused in crossing the boarder.

IMG_1036As I moved south through Northern Chile the general rule was ‘mountains on the left, ocean on the right’.

Chile is a land of Volcanoes, earthquakes and Tsunamis and you come across signs that you wouldn’t see in the UK. Basically ‘run for the hills.’

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I had a hop on hop off bus ticket that I had bought in the UK. It worked really well. I would email the company when I wanted to move on to the next town and city and they would send me a confirmation number which I took to the local bus station and swapped it for a ticket. The system worked like a dream. I have to say also the busses were excellent though we always arrived later than our estimated time of arrival.

Along the way the scenery was always stunning, deserts, canyons, rift valleys and the occasional ‘dust devil.’

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After staying in the coastal resorts of Arica and Iquique I headed in land to a small town (village) called San Pedro De Atacama.

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San Pedro is right in the middle of the Atacama Desert (the driest desert in the world). San Pedro had a very chilled atmosphere and provides lots of excursion into the desert to see the sights and scenery.

I got up early (5am) and went on a tour to see some geysers high up in the mountains. (4300 metres) One of the girls on the trip suffered really badly with altitude sickness and every village (no matter how small) had a small white church usually based around a main square.

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I also went on a great excursion to “The Valley of The Moon” the scenery was stunning very reminiscent of Mars, not that I’ve ever been to Mars but the pictures I’ve seen look like this. So maybe NASA just went to Chile?

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Another trip took me to The Atacama Salt Flats and sacred Lagoons high in the mountains. The Salt Flats were bustling with birdlife, Flamingos being the most common. It’s a wonder that anything could live in the extreme heat.

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In an area where water is so scarce as you can imagine the locals considered these lagoons sacred so much so that we weren’t even allowed to touch the water. It was a very windy day and surprisingly cold, we even had a Silver Fox walk out of the desert and decided sit by our bus. Amazing!

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This is truly turning out to be a trip of a lifetime. Thank you Lord!