susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Friday, May 19, 2006

San Pedro is

a fantastic place! It's an oasis, and was once a staging post for cattle droves. I'm expecting Clint Eastwood to ride into town, chewing on a cigarillo and spitting into the dust. I'm even contemplating buying a poncho - phew, escaped just in time! Mind you, I have seen a cute little knitted hatty with earflaps in colourful stripes and plaited cords to tie fetchingly under the chin when that ole desert wind howls down the Andes, sending up dust devils, and turning everything even more adobe brown.

I love it here - the sun shines every day, and every night the moon and stars are stuck in the midnight sky. Which is another thing - we are of course taking tours and one has to be to the Valle de la Luna. Ray and I book it up, and because we are out of season (thank goodness over and over again - few people around, weather excellent), we share the ancient minibus with just one other person, Chris a Dutchman, who speaks virtually perfect English and is very funny. Our guide is a wrinkly, elderly local Atacameno, Luis, who is very keen to show us views, tell us history and generally takes an interest. (R does a superb job as translator and interpreter, but she's got another think coming if she thinks I'm going to give her a tip!) Actually, after going along the rickety rackety roads, I begin to think the minibus is probably pretty new, just used. First we have a view of the 'dinosaur' rock formations - rows of spiky curved backs, like herds of Loch Ness monsters parading alongside the road, then a view down a hole deep into the hillside, then a view over the plain far below (further than the eye can see, this immense plain), then on to the Valley of Death!! We're all three of us agog!

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