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  • Writer's picturePaula Cooper

29 0ctober San Pedro, Chile: Lazy Languorous Leisurely Late Lofty Lucent

Poor Simon! Thinking I was about to die, head pounding, nauseous and feeling dreadful, terrified, melodramatically I woke Simon in the night; moral of the story see the wine bottle before partaking!

The night before we had celebrated the lower altitude with a cocktail for Simon and Chilean Sauvignon Blanc for me with dinner. I had felt decidedly odd later procuring hot water for Simon’s bedtime herbal tea; there was definitely something wrong with the wine!

Restored after enjoying the Andean sunshine, we took our leisure; swam, lazed and I caught up on the blog.

Later mass confusion reigned over the time of our tour to see the Valle de La Luna in Los Flamencos National Reserve (Atacama desert); was it 3pm, 4pm or 4:30pm? Believing the email, of course, I wasn’t ready when the bus arrived at 3:50pm!

A short bus ride later we visited, the large sand dune, the three Mary’s rock formations guarding the park and a lovely secluded spot to hear the salt crack in the cooling late afternoon. The range is older than the nearby Andes, with clay topped strata and salt layers revealed during an ancient earthquake millennia ago. The salt crystals glinting in the sun, the more recently eroded rocks and cliffs really do look like the surface of the moon. Recent surge in tourism has resulted in restricted access to preserve the site. Great views from aloft.

The ancient indigenous Atacameños, or the Licanantay peoples revere the site, shamans still hold rituals to Pat’ta Hoy’r (Mother Earth). Tourism has helped preserve their descendants although sadly their language kunza was lost; more recent border changes and the Spanish cutting tongues to enforce their dominance!

Afterwards, we headed up, with the rest of San Pedro’s tourists, to watch the sunset at the Coyote lofty view point; despite limitations with a timer, far too many lovely snaps again! The opposite volcanos were bathed in sunlight, hence our guide also regaled us with the volcanic folk tale.

Asking to be dropped downtown, third time lucky we dined, whilst serenaded by a local female pipe band.

The love triangle between Licancabur, Lascar and Juriques, volcanoes:

(The two volcanoes we passed yesterday and  with Juriques the mountain in the opposite range.)

Licancabur and Lascar are two young men trying to win the heart of Juriques, a beautiful woman. One day, they decided to fight, throwing rocks at each other. Licancabur won the battle, using a sharp, thin rock to cut off Lascar’s head. Afterwards, Juriques arrived and sat by Licancabur’s side to cry. To this day, you can see that Lascar has a flat top due to the loss of his head, and twice a year the shadows of Licancabur and Juriques touch showing their eternal love!

Leisurely morning at the tiny pool, cool air and water, but hot Andean sunshine

Valley of the moon, Los Flamencos National Reserve, Atacama Desert, San Pedro

(Licanantay peoples' symbol; sign; Licancabur volcano)

Major Duna

(various views from the walk, a bit jumbled sorry wifi upload issues!)

The three Marys and Trex (guarding the park!)

(Thee Mary's; TRex; views)

Mirador del Coyote & sunset

(volcanoes Licancabur and Lascar and other views)

(Setting sun)

Sam Pedro, street Andean girls band

Video to follow if technology back home allows.

We stayed at Casa Atacama San Pedro, Chile

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