Sunday, January 04, 2004

1st January 2004 (Day 174)

We'd arranged another tour for the first day of 2004. This one is an afternoon thing, so we were able to sleep in. We stumbled out of bed in time for lunch - yummy pizza - and bought our bus tickets from San Pedro back to Calama. The tour left at 4pm. Our guide took us (and 13 other people) on a tour of the Valle de la Luna and the Valle de la Muerte. There were some spectacular views over the former, then a stroll through the latter. Next we visited an old salt mine and the Tres MarĂ­as - natural mineral sculptures -, and then at about 7.30pm headed towards the Great Dune in the Valle de la Luna. We climbed the damn thing - exhausting and (for Katherine at least) scary - and reached the top just in time to watch the sun set over the desert to the west of us. It was amazing watching the shadows lengthen over the sand. Finally everything was grey, save the volcano in the distance, which glowed orange in the setting sun. We arrived back in San Pedro at 9pm, bought a three-litre bottle of Coke and drank it in about sixty seconds (thirsty work those sand dunes).


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